"The aim is to improve their state of health, help them avoid committing crimes and stabilise their lives," explains Dr Anne Mette Doms at the Danish Board of Health, which supervises the project. "Quitting altogether is not a realistic option for most of these patients. For them, this will be a chronic treatment, as if you were treating a chronic disease."
Addicts will need to attend one of five specialist drug clinics across the country, where they will inject diamorphine – pharmaceutical-grade heroin – under doctors' supervision. The drug will not be available on prescription so as to avoid resale on the street.
Danish authorities are in the process of setting up the clinics, registering the doctors who will work there, and finding out which drug companies they will source the heroin from. The £7.2m project is expected to be up and running by March.
The initiative was adopted by overwhelming consensus in February 2008, after all but one of the parties represented at the Danish parliament voted in favour of the policy – the only one against it was a tiny far-left party that did not oppose the project per se, but the way it was funded.
More: The Guardian
On the same subject: Danish Heroin Maintenance Program to Commence Next Month