Can Prescription Heroin Save Lives?

Canada is prescribing heroin to certain addicts in an effort to save lives. The Doctors weigh in on this unconventional new program.

At the Crosstown clinic in Vancouver, doctors are now allowed to prescribe heroin to a small number of patients with opioid dependence who are not responding to other treatment options. Health Canada is hoping to cut back on the many life-threatening health risks associated with heroin use like overdosing, various blood-borne viral infections and Endocarditis (an inflammation of the heart valve.)

Watch: Side Effects of Heroin Addiction

Proponents of the program note that prescription heroin leads to a decrease in criminal activity and health care costs for those involved. The same studies also found that users in the prescription program stayed in treatment long, spent less time in relapse, compared to addicts in a methadone therapy program. There are currently just 52 patients in this program.

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says, “Despite the chaos I have seen in the ER from heroin addiction, I don’t think I ever realized how truly addictive this substance is until being on this show. It’s clear that some people… no matter how hard you try, it feels impossible for them [to give up the drug.]”

Watch: The Rehab Process for Heroin Addiction

Find out why addiction specialist Ken Seeley, from the A&E show “Intervention,” is against Canada’s new program in the video above.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please call the National Helpline, which free and confidential, at 1-800-662-HELP.