What are NAOMI and SALOME?

Drug Policy Question of the Week – 1-10-11

As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 1-10-11. http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3220

Question of the Week: What are NAOMI and SALOME?

NAOMI stands for the “North American Opiate Medication Initiative.” It is a,

“two-centre, parallel, open-label randomized controlled trial aimed at testing whether heroin assisted treatment offers benefits over and above optimized methadone therapy in the treatment of individuals with chronic addiction who continue to use heroin despite having tried conventional treatments in the past.”

The NAOMI trials took place in Vancouver and Montreal, Canada.

SALOME stands for the “Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness,” and is defined as a,

“clinical trial that will test whether diacetylmorphine, the active ingredient of heroin, is as good as hydromorphone (also known as Dilaudid), a licensed medication, in benefiting people suffering from chronic opioid addiction who are not benefiting sufficiently from other treatments.” The SALOME trial is taking place in Vancouver.

NAOMI and SALOME are among a number of heroin maintenance clinical trials that have also occurred in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain. According to a 2006 article in the Harm Reduction Journal, the outcomes of these trials were “unequivocally positive.” The article concluded that “prescribing heroin produces substantial declines both in illicit drug use and in criminal activity” and that it was “feasible to conduct a program that made heroin medically available.”

Like its European counterparts, the NAOMI trial found that, “Heroin-assisted therapy proved to be a safe and highly effective treatment for people with chronic, treatment-refractory heroin addiction. Marked improvements were observed including decreased use of illicit “street” heroin, decreased criminal activity, decreased money spent on drugs, and improved physical and psychological health.”

The SALOME trial was scheduled to begin in January 2010. Results would likely be available later this year.

These facts and others like them can be found in the Heroin Maintenance chapter of Drug War Facts at http://www.drugwarfacts.org.

Questions concerning these or other facts concerning drug policy can be e-mailed to mjborden@drugwarfacts.org