News Headlines Article

Is America Ready For Prescription Heroin?
National Public Radio

The U.S. drug crisis does not appear to be letting up. The nation experienced a shattering 47,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017.

Driving the surge are potent, cheap synthetics like fentanyl that have spread into the illicit drug supply. In response, communities have been trying a range of interventions, from increasing the availability of the antidote naloxone to upping treatment resources.

But an analysis released Thursday by the Rand Corporation, a policy think thank, concludes it’s time to pilot an approach from outside the U.S.: offering pharmaceutical-grade heroin — yes, heroin — as a form of treatment for longtime heroin users who haven’t had success with other treatments. It’s already happening in several European countries and Canada. But prescribing heroin would challenge culture, laws and practice in the U.S.