When other approaches fail, the most effective way to fight a heroin addiction can be heroin itself.

13 Dec 2018

As overdose deaths have broken records year after year in the U.S., a group of researchers has looked around the world for new treatment options to try and has landed on a counterintuitive method. A new comprehensive reportconcludes that it’s time for Americans to earnestly pilot and study “heroin-assisted treatment,” a controversial approach that involves patients who are severely addicted to the drug injecting medical-grade heroin in a supervised setting.

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 A man injects heroin at a supervised-consumption site in Vancouver.DARRYL DYCK / AP

Motivated by the urgency of the country’s overdose crisis, which killed more than 70,000 people in 2017 and which is driven mainly by potent fentanyl analogues, researchers at the Rand Corporation, a California-based think tank, spent a year studying the medical literature and interviewing stakeholders in six other countries, along with American communities plagued by overdoses. The report also outlines the evidence for supervised-consumption sites, another harm-reduction intervention popular across Canada and Europe.

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