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Heroin maintenance programs – a discussion here in the U.S.?

A rather surprising article in the Connecticut Post today: Regulating heroin trade suggested. What’s surprising is that a media source in the U.S. actually has the guts to discuss the subject. (I wonder if Cliff Thornton’s run in that state has opened some discussion topics?)
The article is a well-written piece about former drug warrior, now attorney, Sylvester Salcedo’s proposal to have Bridgeport administer heroin to addicts. Go and read it — it’s an article that I think will connect with people who would normally block out such arguments.
At the close of the story, a local resident asks why the paper is taking pictures of Salcedo, and they explain his proposal to her…

“Now let me get this straight: What you are telling me is that they’d give out heroin at the community center and make sure people took their fix there, nothing left over?” she asks.
Salcedo nods and waits for her reaction. McBride, who appears to be at least a half-foot taller than Salcedo, stares him down for a moment, trying to figure out whether he is serious.
“You know, this idea of yours is kind of out there,” McBride says, her face breaking into a smile that reveals a few missing teeth. “But, hey, like sometimes you got to think outside of the box.”

Related: Via Blog ReLoad — In the five years since Sydney Australia’s heroin safe injection site opened (a different kind of program from the one discussed above), heroin deaths in the state have dropped dramatically.
Update: This might be an appropriate time to note the basic differences between safe injection sites and heroin maintenance programs.
Safe injection sites — like the program in Sydney (and also in Vancouver in North America) — are harm reduction programs. Essentially heroin users are provided a safe, monitored, and controlled environment to inject heroin that they have purchased elsewhere. This dramatically reduces blood born diseases, overdoses, etc. Think greatly enhanced needle exchange programs.
Heroin maintenance programs — like the one started in Switzerland in 1994 — have one major difference. While they also provide a safe, monitored, and controlled environment, they actually dispense the heroin to those already addicted to it. The big advantage is that it drives the drug dealer out of the heroin addiction business (why get someone addicted to your product if they’ll then be able to get their fix for free at the community center?)

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1 comment to Heroin maintenance programs – a discussion here in the U.S.?

  • Mystique

    I am a 60 yr old transgendered xheroin addict currently on methadone maintenance since 1970 on and off mostly on. The methadone is not holding me any more and I have been taking pills to get straight and also to get high because after awhile the methadone does not fill the gap any more. I would like to see the heoin option become a option in the United States. Why because every option should be used to help people get out of the streets and prison.I think it should mostly be used for older addicts who have been on methadone for prolonged periods of time and the methadone does not help any more. I really need a heroin program for my self and other people like me.
    please get back to me with the latest expeamental Heroin maintenance sites if any. I am willing to become part of this worthy endevor.
    Thank You Mysti