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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Free Heroin For Canadians
    #3772239 - 02/12/05 11:34 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Free Heroin For Canadians
Feb. 12, 2005
thestar.com

Vancouver addicts will be getting government-approved fixes in a controversial research project as well as helping addicts, advocates say it should reduce drug-related crime

VANCOUVER-Phil Denbak will not yet allow himself to dream of a day when he has broken the grip of heroin, his almost constant companion for more than 25 years.

But he is upbeat about the latest move intended to try to improve the lives of hardcore addicts like him on Vancouver's downtown eastside: free heroin injections. Denbak, 49, is hoping to participate in North America's first prescription heroin trial, which begins here next month before expanding to Toronto and Montreal this spring.

The idea behind the study, which got final approval from Health Canada this week, is to find out if providing addicts with their average three daily fixes will improve their quality of life by eliminating the need to pay for drugs through theft, prostitution or other crimes.

If so, proponents say, then life will be better across the broader community as well with safer and cleaner streets and fewer tax dollars spent on hospitals, policing and the courts.

Similar studies in Europe found addicts' lives improved and crime rates fell. Some users found jobs, many shot less heroin and others got into treatment or quit the drug outright.

Denbak finds it hard to fathom getting clean, though he's tried numerous times. Still, the former house painter, who spends most of his time panhandling, collecting bottles and doing what he can to raise the $50 a day he needs to feed his habit, thinks this could help.

"I'm not going to stop using," Denbak says matter-of-factly, his hollowed cheeks, haggard look and glassy eyes stark testimony of his addiction. "But if I don't have to spend all day getting money for my fix, then I might be able to be more constructive.

"This is part of the solution, not part of the problem."

The North American Opiate Medication Initiative, or NAOMI, is an $8.1 million project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, a federal agency. It will have 470 addicts at three sites; half of them will get pharmaceutical-grade heroin made in Europe, the others methadone, a drug taken orally to ease cravings and withdrawal.

Those taking heroin will get injections under medical supervision at special clinics. They will get it for 12 months, then transfer over a three-month period into methadone-maintenance or other treatment programs. With recruitment and transition, the study will last up to two years.

"Right now, these people are injecting contaminated heroin using dirty needles in unsanitary conditions and living a life where they have to commit crime and prostitution to pay for their next fix," says Dr. Martin Schechter of the University of British Columbia, the project's lead researcher. "We're seeing if we can break that cycle."

Schechter stresses researchers will recruit for the study only "the most severe cases of heroin addiction for whom there are no other treatment options." Participants must be 25 or older, have been addicted to the drug for at least five years, including the past 12 months, and have unsuccessfully tried a methadone program at least twice before.

While Schechter admits the hard-core addicts who will qualify for the study may represent less than one-quarter of the estimated 5,000 injection drug users on Vancouver's downtown eastside, they account for a disproportionate amount of crime and other problems associated with heroin addiction.

"This is an acknowledgment that some people are going to continue using drugs whether we like it or not," he says. "The question is, do we treat them as criminals or as people suffering from a medical condition and try to work on getting them better."

The NAOMI project is the latest attempt at liberalizing drug policies in the area, regarded as Canada's poorest neighbourhood. It's also the location of North America's first supervised safe-injection site, which opened in 2003, where addicts inject their own drugs under the watchful eye of medical staff who monitor for overdoses.

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"The nice thing about being a heroin addict is that you either have no problems or one big one." - Richard Schuldenfrei


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InvisibleRavus
Not an EggshellWalker
 User Gallery

Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 7,991
Loc: Cave of the Patriarchs
Re: Free Heroin For Canadians [Re: veggie]
    #3773622 - 02/13/05 11:11 AM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Canada  :thumbup:

They're becoming more and more reasonable everyday it seems.


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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InvisibleTODAY
Battletoad
Male

Registered: 09/25/03
Posts: 10,218
Loc: Metropolis City, USA
Re: Free Heroin For Canadians [Re: Ravus]
    #3775136 - 02/13/05 07:22 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

how's the housing prices over there?


--------------------

ca'rouse (k-rouz)
intr.v.
To engage in boisterous, drunken merrymaking.


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OfflineMitchnast
Trial by Madness
Male User Gallery Arcade Champion: Mahjong

Registered: 10/28/99
Posts: 8,572
Loc: Okanagan Flag
Last seen: 18 days, 19 hours
Re: Free Heroin For Canadians [Re: TODAY]
    #3775370 - 02/13/05 08:16 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

TODAY said:
how's the housing prices over there?




in vancouver specifically? I don't think that's much of a concern for the cities addict population.

a society where youre totally invisable until you have something worth taking.

if your considering moving to vancouver for free heroin. then housing costs are the least of your issues, and BTW, van has the highest rates in the country for housng.

seriously, you would pretty much have to deal to keep a roof over your head. and if you havent got support, someone is gonna take you down or own your ass in a few weeks.


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OfflineLocus
Male

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 6,096
Loc: ny/europe/other
Last seen: 19 days, 18 hours
Re: Free Heroin For Canadians [Re: veggie]
    #3777241 - 02/14/05 04:32 AM (12 years, 5 months ago)

all the time it seems im finding more and more reasons to be pissed at the u.s. .. especially concerning the fucking drug war! fuck...


--------------------

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. ~ Albert Einstein
"Fear is the great barrier to human growth." ~ Dr. Robert Monroe



~~~*Dosis sola facit venenum*~~~

*Check my profile to listen to my music* :smile:


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InvisibleTODAY
Battletoad
Male

Registered: 09/25/03
Posts: 10,218
Loc: Metropolis City, USA
Re: Free Heroin For Canadians [Re: Mitchnast]
    #3781269 - 02/15/05 12:28 AM (12 years, 5 months ago)

no, i don't want heroin. i just want to move to canada.


--------------------

ca'rouse (k-rouz)
intr.v.
To engage in boisterous, drunken merrymaking.


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OfflineMitchnast
Trial by Madness
Male User Gallery Arcade Champion: Mahjong

Registered: 10/28/99
Posts: 8,572
Loc: Okanagan Flag
Last seen: 18 days, 19 hours
Re: Free Heroin For Canadians [Re: TODAY]
    #3781755 - 02/15/05 02:37 AM (12 years, 5 months ago)

welcome aboardy then


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Re: Free Heroin For Canadians [Re: veggie]
    #3919394 - 03/15/05 03:38 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Heroin By Prescription
VANCOUVER, March 14, 2005
cbsnews.com

Heroin paid for by Canadian taxpayers was given to junkies Monday and promptly injected.

The three Vancouver users have become the first in North America to be given free prescription heroin, as part of a controversial experiment.

The North American Opiate Medication Initiative, known as NAOMI, will eventually recruit 157 people for the two-year study.

"Today, the treatment stage of the NAOMI study begins," said spokesman Jim Boothroyd. "The clinical trial is fully up and running."

Participants will be split into two groups — one receiving heroin, the other methadone — to find out if heroin is better for addicts who have failed at methadone or abstinence.

The heroin users will attend NAOMI's heavily secured clinic in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside slum three times a day, seven days a week. They are given their fix and shoot it themselves in an on-site safe-injection room under nurse supervision.

"The site has the security requirements of Fort Knox," said Boothroyd. "There's very little heroin on the site, and the site is extremely secure."

Methadone users will come twice a day to drink their heroin substitute.

The participants get free drugs and medical care, but will only make $150 over the trial by filling out a half-dozen questionnaires.

The synthetic heroin is made in Europe, and is stored in a secret location.

More than 4,000 drug addicts live near the clinic in Vancouver's impoverished Downtown Eastside, an area known for its street drug deals.

The 157 people selected to take part must have been addicted for at least five years.

Those in the project will go to the clinic three times a day. Nurses will supervise the injections. Seventy people will receive methadone; the rest will get heroin and methadone.

NAOMI's clinical head, Dr. David Marsh, said participants will get a measured dose of heroin that will be reduced if they top up with street drugs.

"This will be the first time in Canadian history that physicians are prescribing heroin for the treatment of heroin dependence," he said.

Kim Kerr, executive director of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, said it's time to stop complaining about addiction and start treating it.

"People who are addicted to heroin should be treated like anyone with a medical condition," he said.


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