OTTAWA — The feds snapped shut a medical legal loophole Thursday that let doctors to prescribe illicit drugs to addicts.
The immediate changes scrap illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy from being prescribed under Health Canada's Special Access Program (SAP), which is designed to give patients with rare or terminal illnesses access to drugs and treatments not usually available in this country.
In September, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said she was shocked to learn bureaucrats had signed off on prescription requests from doctors to give heroin to their addict patients.
Ambrose said giving drugs to users as treatment went against the government's anti-drug policy and "violated the spirit and intent" of the SAP.
"Our policy is to take heroin out of the hands of addicts, not to put it into their arms," she said at the time.
In July 2011, a clinical trial called SALOME got the green-light to begin research into whether prescribing pharmaceutical-grade heroin to addicts can be an alternative treatment for chronic drug users.