"Despite the availability of a wide range of treatment programs, including methadone substitution, not all drug addicts with serious health and social problems could be motivated to enter treatment. A core group remained, which was characterized by numerous social and physical deficiencies. In an attempt to reach this group, Heroin on prescription was launched in 1994 as part of a nationally-based research project. Admission criteria were a minimum age of 20 years, at least a two-year duration of daily intravenous heroin consumption, a negative outcome of at least two previous treatments, and documented social and health deficits as a consequence of their heroin dependence. The treatment consisted of between one to three injections of heroin a day, and medical, psychiatric, and social monitoring.
"After three years, the results showed, amongst numerous other findings, that:
" The program is able, to a greater extent than other treatments, to reach its designated target group.
" The improvements in physical health proved to be stable over the whole period.
" Illicit heroin and cocaine use regressed rapidly and markedly, whereas benzodiazepine use decreased only slowly and alcohol and cannabis consumption hardly declined at all.
" The participants' housing situation and fitness for work improved considerably.
" The income from illegal and semi-illegal activities decreased dramatically (10% as opposed to 69% originally).
" Both the number of offenders and the number of criminal offenses decreased by about 60% during the first six months of treatment."