Pain medication can be used to treat severe heroin addicts: study

By The Canadian Press
April 6, 2016 - 2:08pm

VANCOUVER — A Vancouver study suggests severely addicted heroin users could be treated with an injectable pain medication.

The Study to Assess Longed-Term Opioid Medication Effectiveness, or SALOME, found hydromorphone is as effective as a pharmaceutical-grade heroine for people who do not respond to methadone or suboxone.

Researchers from Providence Health Care, St. Paul’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia say the results underscore the urgent need for more treatment options for chronic addicts.

Health Minister Terry Lake says the findings shine a new light on how people with heroin addictions can be supported and could help those who have not responded to treatment.

The four-year trial began in 2011 with 202 participants and the latest results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry.

The study follows an earlier trial that took place in Vancouver and Montreal between 2005 and 2008.

The North American Opiate Mediation Initiative, or NAOMI, suggested supervised prescribed heroin is an effective treatment for severely addicted heroin users who had not benefited from conventional drugs such as methadone.

The Canadian Press

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