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Treating Heroin Addiction with Heroin Seems Viable
Injections of the active ingredient of heroin work far better than oral methadone for keeping addicts in treatment, away from illegal drugs and out of trouble, Canadian researchers reported on Wednesday. But the researchers cautioned that the treatment carries a risk of overdose and seizures, so the injections should only be done in a medical setting. "Methadone, provided according to best-practice guidelines, should remain the treatment of choice for the majority of patients," Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes of the University of British Columbia and colleagues wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. But when that does not work, they said, giving heroin's active ingredient, diacetylmorphine, appears to be an effective alternative. Methadone treatment fails in 15 to 25 percent who seek care.