Colombia’s Health Ministry is preparing a pilot project to distribute free syringes and methadone to heroin addicts, newspaper El Tiempo reported Tuesday.
Additionally, the government wants to distribute free syringes among the heroin addicts in these cities in an effort to minimize the chance of users spreading HIV through the sharing of needles. “It’s a damage control project,” Health official Aldemar Parra told the newspaper.
The distribution of the syringes will be carried out by local organizations that will also try to maintain contact with the drug addicts, the newspaper reported.
According to El Tiempo, the government has begun distributing methadone, a maintenance anti-addictive for heroin users, to some 750 drug addicts in the country’s largest cities.
“To wean the heroin user is very difficult,” said Parra. “When [the addict] reports himself to seek help, his health is very deteriorated and abstinence is almost impossible.”
According to official figures, Colombia has some 2,500 heroin addicts.