Heroin on prescription: patient stories

The hard science behind heroin-assisted treatment says: it’s save, effective and saves money. If this was a treatment for cancer or diabetes, we would give it to all for free. It would be the first line treatments for everyone. The medical insurance companies would reimburse it. But what are the patients’ stories behind this mountain of evidence? What do they think of heroin on prescription?


Story from:

Andrew Duffy: Clinic prescribes medical-grade heroin to chronic addicts. Published in Ottawa Citizen on: June 22, 2016

Story from:

Ellis, Erin: Injecting common painkiller an alternative to heroin, study finds. Published in Vancouver Sun on: April 7, 2016



“Dave Murray is a plaintiff in a legal challenge that seeks to legitimize prescription heroin. In a signed affidavit, he explains the sort of addict for which heroin maintenance could be deemed an appropriate treatment. “I have been injecting heroin and other opioids for approximately 42 years,” it reads. “I estimate that I have attempted methadone maintenance treatment (“MMT”) for my addiction at least 10 times over my life. Each of those times MMT has been ineffective for me and I returned to injecting illicit street heroin.”
“Dianne Tobin, a long-time opioids addict, suggested heroin maintenance can be especially beneficial for female addicts. “The women aren’t working the streets anymore,” she said. “I bet you 90 per cent of the women who came into the program were working (as prostitutes) or were dealing … They were mistreated and beaten up and all that by their pimps or whoever. And now they are working in the community instead.”

“Kevin McGarragan recounted how he lost his arm. He was the passenger in a car being driven to a drug buy when the driver fell asleep. “Car accident in 1993,” he said, looking at where his arm used to be. “Heroin was behind it.”
McGarragan said today, he recalls those stories as if they were from another life.”
Story from
Travis Lupick: Heroin prescriptions help addicts rebuild their lives. Published in the Star, Feb. 17, 2016


“If you met Lisa James, chances are you’d never guess she injects herself with heroin twice a day. “I did my shot an hour ago,” James says. “Do I look high? I am just normal.”
“Nobody knows I am an addict,” James says. “I share with some people and they are always shocked. ‘You’re an addict? Really? A heroin addict?’ They would just never know. And that’s a nice feeling.”
“My relationship with my daughter is better than it’s ever been,” “We appreciate the little things together,” “We all need our moms,” she says. “I am able to be her mom.”

Story from: 
Nick Purdon, Leonardo Palleja: Free heroin enables addicts to ‘have a meaningful life again,’ co-ordinator says. Published in CBC News on Sep 28, 2016