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HHS: Pica eating disorder hospitalizations on the rise in the U.S.

September 20, 2019

In the first stage, half of the 322 participants will receive injectable prescribed heroin, and the other half will receive injectable hydromorphone. Stage I will involve six-months of treatment. All volunteers retained in injection treatment at the end of Stage I will be eligible to enter Stage II.

In Stage II, half of the participants will then continue injection treatment exactly as in Stage I on a blinded basis while the other half will switch to the oral equivalent of the same medication (prescribed heroin or hydromorphone). Stage II will also involve six-months of treatment.

Throughout the treatment period, social workers will be assigned to both groups to assist them with reaching other addiction services and community resources such as counseling, housing and job training services.

Some 60,000 to 90,000 persons are affected by opioid addiction in Canada. This study will enroll the most chronically drug-dependent members of Vancouver's population -- those who are not benefiting from other treatments, such as methadone therapy and abstinence-based programs, and continue injecting street heroin.

"SALOME addresses critical social and ethical concerns dealing with addiction. Opioid-dependent people are in need of treatment options to avoid marginalization from the health care system and this study aims to answer questions that could lead to improvements in the health of persons with chronic addictions and identify new ways of reintegrating this population into society," says Dr. Perry Kendall, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer. "If the SALOME study shows that hydromorphone can go head-to-head with heroin as an alternative therapy for people who have failed optimally provided methadone, then I think this should be part of the treatment continuum that's available through licensed physicians."

Source: University of British Columbia