Heroin Maintenance - Research - North American Opioid Medication Initiative
18. What was NAOMI?
"NAOMI was North America’s first-ever clinical trial of prescribed heroin that took place from 2005 to 2008.
"It was led by researchers from PHC and UBC, and tested whether medically prescribed heroin (diacetylmorphine) was more effective than methadone therapy for individuals with chronic heroin addiction who were not benefiting from other conventional treatments.
"19. Who participated in the NAOMI study?
"NAOMI enrolled 251 chronic, heroin dependent participants (192 in Vancouver and 59 in Montreal)."
"24. What did NAOMI find?
"The NAOMI Trial results, published in the prestigious medical publication the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that participants treated with diacetylmorphine reported improved physical and mental health, were 62 per cent more likely to remain in addiction treatment and 40 per cent less likely to take illegal drugs and commit crimes to support their habit than were those treated with methadone.
"After a year, 88 per cent of those treated with diacetylmorphine remained in treatment, compared with 54 per cent in the methadone group.
"Data from NAOMI and other long-term studies with medically prescribed heroin show that many of the patients of these studies also transition from injection to oral treatments, detox programs and abstinence."
"25. What happened to the NAOMI participants after they completed the study?
"Doctors were unable to secure approval from the federal government to give patients diacetylmorphine.
"All participants who received injection medication were encouraged to switch to methadone.
"Providence agreed to provide interim funding for the continued operations of a methadone program at the clinic site. SALOME was designed to continue the work of NAOMI."
"SALOME Clinical Trial Questions and Answers," Providence Healthcare, Vancouver, British Columbia, last accessed August 31, 2021.