European programs offer medical-grade heroin for users to inject under strict supervision, and it's helping – so why won't it happen in the U.S.?

31 Aug 2017

The opioid epidemic has gripped the United States, worsening day by day. Overdose deaths caused by opioids nearly tripled in a 15-year period. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids, including heroin, accounted for about 63 percent of fatal overdoses in 2015.

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In a recent article for the Baker Institute blog on the Houston Chronicle's website, drug policy expert Katharine Neill Harris argues for bringing heroin-assisted treatment to the United States. Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have all launched heroin-assisted treatment programs, commonly referred to as HAT, that have shown to have a significant impact on reducing opioid use and overdoses, as well as related diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.

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