Report: Vancouver offers heroin prescriptions for 1st time outside of clinical trial

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Vancouver health clinics are offering prescriptions of heroin to a few severely addicted individuals around the city, becoming the first city in North America to do so, CBC reports.

According to CBC, doctors at Providence Health Care won a B.C. Supreme Court injunction, allowing them to receive prescription heroin through Health Canada.

The drug was originally just supplied to 120 severely addicted previously a part of a trial. But recently, other health clinics got permission to dispense the drug, being the first in North America to prescribe the opiate outside of a clinical trial.

Only a few patients -- most who have previously been involved in trials -- will receive prescriptions, CBC reports. Those given prescriptions have a lengthy history of drug use, some using for as many as 30 years on the streets.

The intention of prescribing heroin is to help hard-to-reach users who have shown little success with other treatment options, Dr. Scott MacDonald of the Crosstown Clinic told CBC.

"It is very dangerous and life destroying that they have to ingest in an alley to use illicit heroin three, four times a day,"MacDonald said.  "That destroys lives. This is an alternative."

All those prescribed the drug will need to use under the care of a doctor at the clinic, and will not be allowed to take the heroin someplace else.

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