Medically Prescribed Heroin More Cost-Effective Than Methadone for Treating Heroin Addiction: Study

Treating long-term heroin users with medically prescribed heroin is more cost-effective than methadone, a new study suggests.

Heroin users who were treated with medically prescribed heroin, or diacetylmorphine, stayed in treatment longer and spent less time in relapse, compared with those who received methadone. Both results are linked with reduced criminal activity, according to CBS News. The researchers also found those receiving diacetylmorphine were more likely to live longer than heroin users receiving methadone maintenance therapy.

Each patient in methadone therapy costs society $1.14 million, compared with $1.09 million for a patient treated with diacetylmorphine, the researchers estimated. They took into consideration treatment costs, expenditures for drug therapies, and criminal justice system costs.

“The question I get most about heroin-assisted therapy is whether we can afford the increased direct costs of the treatment,” co-author Dr. Martin Schechter of the University of British Columbia said in a news release. “What this study shows is that the more appropriate question is whether we can afford not to.”

The results appear in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

23 Responses

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    James D Newman

    October 16, 2017 at 4:31 PM

    I say if they want to give Prescription Heroin to Heroin Addicts then go ahead. It will have a Drastic and Immediate effect on Crime. Heroin Addicts for the Most part reject Methadone as a Substitute for Heroin. You see, I’ve been an Addict myself for some 20 Years and im 55 years old. I was on Methadone for 2 years without an issue. I ended up coming off the Methadone due to my getting incarcerated for 6 months. I came off of 140mgs of Methadone per day to 0mg. per day. It took about 5 days for the Withdrawl to set in. I was in full withdrawl for about 2 Months. I don’t wish that on anyone. I feel as though a lot of Heroin users don’t like or Reject MMT for the simple fact that there is absolutely no High or Euphoria from the Methadone after you have become stable on your dose. You basically go there in the morning, get dosed, and you feel the same way after taking the Dose than you did before you took it. Many times and Many patients will sell their Take Homes for heroin or other Opiates. The bottom line is, it’s the High they are after and NOT the fact that they are Stable. That’s the fact of the matter. I am on board 100% with using Prescription Grade Heroin for Addiction Treatment, its a Win Win situation.

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    SWIM knows the hard way

    January 6, 2017 at 12:09 AM

    The whole concept of maintenance, replacements like methadone and suboxone, or any other method of trading one for another is flat out wrong. Look at ciggerettes. How many hundreds of products like the patches and gums etc just don’t work. Sure SOME people find success with them to quit, but some people find the same success by only making waffles every time they get a craving. 7 billion people means 7 billion different ways. But none of them IMHO should include the evil evil drug subuxone. Methadone SOUNDS nice
    In theory, but just go to blue light dot com or other forums with reputable consistent knowledgeable users, METHADONE has 10x worse withdrawals than even the strongest of heroins and Oxys. Suboxone is pushed in the media and to doctors by the same companies that make the drugs that usually start the person down the road of addiction. It’s hailed in the press. It’s sold by doctors. This is not an opinion. This is fact. And something they don’t tell the user, many doctors and especially the drug companies use subs as LONG TERM replacement. Years at least. The best mental and physical way as of now is a monitored quick detox with the hospice idea in mind in making them as comfy as possible during 7 days. Then the real treatment begins on the mind and spirit. Staying on a subuxone or methadone is like saying I’d gladly pay for a hamburger tomorrow
    For a hamburger today.

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    Lisa Zenner

    September 30, 2016 at 8:56 PM

    I do not believe anyone has the right to demand that all opiate addicts be removed from maintenance therapy until they themselves have endured 2 or 3 months straight withdrawals from methadone or Suboxone. This request reflects pure ignorance of the realities of opiate addiction. Any maintenance therapy that allows the addict to become a functioning parent, worker, contributing citizen is successful no matter what maintenance drug is used. Maintenance therapy stabilizes and decriminalizes lives, period. Keep your self righteous ignorant judgements to yourself.

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    January 31, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    Hi, I just found this page and I was reading everything. I just wanted to say….I am a methadone user for 12 years now. I have been able to keep a job for the last 10 years. Never held a job before. I have stopped boosting(stealing). I don not do that anymore. I don’t stick needles in my body anymore. I don’t wake up dope sick then have to steal all day for your habit. 13 bags a day. It’s a horrible nightmare!! I ended up in jail and I had to detox straight cause in Broward county, fl they DO NOT HELP!!! I swore I would never ever do that shit again. It lasted a few years & then started again with pills. Telling myself I could do this a couple times I will be okay. BULLSHIT!!!!, it keep going I found myself boosting again. I knew this is not what I wanted. So I got on the methadone clinic. Which, it has helped me a lot. I do have my counseling there also. But, I would never wish my worst enemy on this. Yes, it has helped. But, how do I get off this now? I was on 65 mgs. I’ve dropped to 40mgs. It’s the same thing as the drugs it’s just legal. They do only want your money 15$ a day. No credit! And theres ALOT of us. This place Im on, should’ve just of told us from the first day you need to get on this then get right off cause if not you will be on it the rest of your life. I’ve heard of people getting off. They say they are ok for the first 2-3 days been then after that forget it. I’m told it’s worse than HERION with withdrawl. So, I say it’s NOT a GOOD IDEA to give Herion to a herion addict. Is it going to last all day and carry you over a day like methadone? Now, I’ve seen stuff on TV where they have legal shooting galleries. Just blows my mind. The bottom line is…….I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

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