Heroin on prescription for Canadian addicts

Heroin addicts in Canada will be given the drug on prescription, following a reversal of the current policy by the Liberal Government.

The Canadian Department of Health has authorised the distribution of pharmaceutical-grade heroin, known as diacetylmorphine, to addicts whose treatment has not been successful.

Ministers claim that the move will help addicts to better control their lives and prevent overdoses.


The previous Conservative administration banned the practice in 2013 and still remain opposed.

A spokesman for the Conservative Party in Canada said: “Our policy is to take heroin out of the hands of addicts and not put it in their arms”.

Similar proposals were passed by the British Medical Association in June this year with doctors claiming that overdoses, crime and HIV transmission would be reduced.

Total failure

Earlier this month, it emerged that one man in Scotland had been parked on methadone for 21 years.

In Scotland, as in many other countries, heroin addicts are prescribed the drug methadone as a substitute for heroin.

The system has been strongly criticised by addicts and dubbed a “total failure” by one drug misuse expert.


George Allan was first given methadone to treat his diazepam habit aged 22.

Speaking 21 years later, he said: “I’d love to get off it but I don’t know if it will ever happen. There is never much conversation with doctors about actually getting drug-free.

“People are more interested in keeping you turning up every day to get your [prescription].”


Professor Neil McKeganey, of the Glasgow-based Centre for Substance Use Research, described the approach as “a disaster.”

“What we have in Scotland is an addiction industry that is very well funded, with masses of public money, where organisations have more of an interest in continuing that funding than in showing success in tackling the problem and getting people off drugs.

“There are a few relatively small organisations who handle a lot of money that have nothing but failure to report back with.”

The Scottish Government’s anti-drug strategy has cost taxpayers £630 million but the latest figures show drug-related deaths reached a record high in Scotland last year.