Prescription Heroin and Heroin Maintenance

Basic Data

"Heroin prescription is a form of medical care that involves strictly regulated and controlled prescription of heroin. Offered on its own or as a complement to treatment programs, it is often targeted for use by people for whom opioid substitution treatment and other programs have not succeeded."
"Findings show such programs are feasible and are associated with a number of positive outcomes,12 including:
"Health benefits:
• helping people to stop or reduce their illegal drug use;13
• avoiding illness and death as a result of overdose by ensuring access to a drug of known quality and strength;14
• retention in medical care;15
• facilitating a gradual change from heroin to opioid substitution therapy;16
• reducing the risk of HIV and hepatitis resulting from unsafe injection practices;17 and
• promoting general health and well-being.18
"Social benefits:
• reducing crime related to the acquisition of drugs;19
• reducing the number or visibility of drug markets and public drug use;
• lowering costs associated with health care, social welfare, criminal justice and prisons;20 and
• promoting social integration, including with respect to employment, accommodation and family life.21"


Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, "Legislating on Health and Human Rights: Model Law on Drug Use and HIV/AIDS Module 8: Heroin prescription programs," (Toronto, Ontario: 2006), pp. 7-8.