Requiem for a Drug Policy: Norway to Take on Narcotics With…Free Heroin

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Norway has one of the highest overdose mortality rates in Europe, with 81 deaths per million reportedly registered in the country in 2015.

The Norwegian government has announced plans to provide the most serious drug addicts with free heroin in a bid to improve their health and living conditions, as well as reduce high fatal overdose rates, according to the AFP news agency.

"We hope that this will provide a solution that will give … a better quality of life to some addicts who are today out of our reach and whom current [drug-assisted rehabilitation] programs do not help enough," Norwegian Health Minister Bent Hoie pointed out.

READ MORE: Life Saver: New Vaccine Could Solve Heroin Addiction, Prevent Fatal Overdoses

The experimental project involving prescribing addicts free heroin is due to be launched by the Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs in 2020 at the earliest.

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With up to 400 addicts expected to take part, it remains unclear how the patients will be selected and how much of the drug will be prescribed.

Many remain at odds over medical heroin therapy, which has already been adopted or tested in Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Supporters has repeatedly pointed to alleged improvements in the quality of life of addicts and dwindling overdose mortality rates, which they have claimed helps contain crime.

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