In a major medical decision, Health Canada is going ahead to change regulations on prescription heroin, allowing doctors to prescribe them to some opiate addicts. These prescriptions would be for addicts who don’t respond to common treatments such as methadone.
The change reverses a 2013 ruling by the Harper government, which denied requests by a group of British Columbia doctors who wanted to prescribe the drug to a small group of patients.
Interested parties now have 30 days to comment on the proposal.
If the regulation is approved, heroin would be covered under what the department calls SAP, or the ‘special access program’.
“The SAP considers requests for emergency access to drugs for patients with serious or life-threatening conditions when conventional treatments have failed, are unsuitable, or are unavailable,” the department said in a news release.
“Each request made under the SAP is thoroughly reviewed by clinical experts at Health Canada before being granted.”
Health Canada is following the steps Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland has already taken in prescribing heroin to a very small percentage of special patients.
The department stressed they would still keep controls on heroin tight.