It's so crazy it might just work! Actually, it does work. A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that pharmaceutical diacetylmorphine (heroin) works better than methadone at weaning addicts from the drug.
Drug addictions, especially opiate addictions, are a complicated problem. It can take long stays in treatment for an addict to stop using a drug like heroin and successfully treat the disorders accompanying it. The study, performed in Vancouver and Montreal, included 251 addicts over the age of 25 who had been using heroin for at least five years. All participants had tried using methadone at least once before. The results were impressive:
In the study, the rates of illegal drug use and other illegal activity fell by 67% in the heroin group and 48% in the methadone group. Of the heroin-treated group, 88% stayed in treatment compared with 54% of the other group.
The new findings are in line with those from similar recent studies conducted in Germany, Switzerland and other European countries. But they are unlikely to have any immediate impact on treatment in the U.S. since heroin is an illegal drug with no federally approved medical uses.
Yup, that's U.S. drug policy for you - politics over science.