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January 29, 1973

A Heroin Maintenance Program in the United States?

Author Affiliations

From the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, US Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1973;223(5):539-546. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220050039009

In recent months, considerable enthusiasm has been expressed by a number of political and law-enforcement figures in the United States over the possible benefits of heroin maintenance in the treatment of the addict population and the potential benefits in reduction of crime and ultimate rehabilitation.

Reference is frequently made to the so-called British system in which heroin is legitimately administered to addicts under legally controlled circumstances in the United Kingdom (unpublished data).1-4

In March 1972, I was sent to London by the Director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, John E. Ingersoll, to examine the British experience with heroin maintenance. This was an attempt to assist us in assuming a realistic posture regarding the applicability of the British technique in the United States. After a week in the United Kingdom and a number of meetings with knowledgeable officials, I returned with some definite impressions and made some