A new research study from Canada finds that medically prescribed heroin is more cost-effective than methadone for treating long-term street heroin users. The study attributed most of the economic benefits to the fact that recipients of the heroin stayed in treatment longer and spent less time in relapse than those addicts receiving methadone. Both results are associated with reduced criminal activity and lower health care costs.
The study’s findings were based on the North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI), a trial of medically prescribed heroin in Vancouver, British Columbia from 2005 to 2008, as well as administrative drug data from British Columbia. NAOMI was North America’s first-ever clinical trial of prescribed heroin.