By Anthony Martinelli

Canada has become one of the first countries to ever allow heroin for medical use, under a new rule put into effect this month.

The new rule by Health Canada’s Special Access Programme lets physicians prescribe medical grade heroin (diacetylmorphine), for the use in cases of severe addiction to opioids.

In order for a physician to access medical heroin for their patient, the patient’s condition must be serious and life-threatening, and it must be shown that conventional treatment methods have failed to bring adequate relief.

This particular approach of allowing for the medical use of heroin has already been in practice for years in Vancouver’s Crosstown clinic, where roughly 50 addicts have received up to three prescribed injections each day as part of a program designed to make heroin consumption safer, to help addicts recover.

According to a 2012 study released by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, treating addicts with medical grade heroin is more effective than methadone; addicts lived longer, were more likely to stay in treatment and recover from their addiction, and the cost of treatment per patient was considerably less.

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