New heroin-assisted treatment

The prescription of substitution drugs, together with appropriate psychosocial support, is an integral part of today’s mainstream approach to treating heroin dependence. This has come about because over the last two decades, an increasing body of high-quality research has demonstrated the efficacy of using drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine to help stabilise and improve the health status of those dependent on illicit ‘street’ heroin. The weight of evidence has been sufficient to counterbalance legitimate concerns about the value of replacing one opioid drug with another. Most importantly, the development of good clinical practice and safeguards has ensured that any possible unintended negative consequences have been largely avoided