Briefing Paper- Heroin Assisted Treatment: The State of Play

14 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2011

See all articles by Christopher Hallam

Christopher Hallam

International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)

Date Written: July 2010


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that there are presently between 15.5 and 21.1 million opiate users in the world, the majority of whom are heroin users.1 There has been a growing awareness of the importance of treatment for this population in recent decades, with Opiate Substitution Therapy (OST) prominent amongst the range of treatment modalities. While methadone remains the most widely used substitute, clinicians and researchers recognize that there is a significant number of users for whom methadone has proved ineffective. This recognition has driven an expansion in the range of substitution modalities, and, in some parts of the world, clinicians have employed heroin (or, more precisely, diacetylmorphine or diamorphine, its licit, unadulterated pharmaceutical form) in the treatment of opiate addiction.

This briefing paper explores the question of Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT), examines the growing body of evidence emerging from its clinical use in addiction therapies, and makes recommendations for policy makers.

Keywords: harm reduction, heroin, human rights

Suggested Citation

Hallam, Christopher, Briefing Paper- Heroin Assisted Treatment: The State of Play (July 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Christopher Hallam (Contact Author)

International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) ( email )

5th Floor
124-128 City Road
London, EC1V 2NJ
United Kingdom

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics