At Crosstown Clinic, doctors are turning addiction treatment on its head: they’re prescribing heroin-users the very drug they’re addicted to. This is the story of one clinic’s quest to remove the harms of addiction, without removing the addiction itself.

The Heroin Clinic was honoured with a 2017 Jack Webster Foundation award for excellence in feature reporting in radio. The Jack Webster Awards are BC’s most prestigious journalism awards.

Dr. Scott MacDonald says giving users free heroin can be “treatment”– the best treatment available. Photo Credit: Travis Lupick

Kevin Thompson, a patient at Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver, is one of only 91 drug users in North America who get prescription heroin. Photo Credit: Travis Lupick

Dianne Tobin is a former Crosstown Clinic patient. She says the clinic helped her get completely heroin free. Photo Credit: Travis Lupick


This radio documentary was written, edited and produced by Gordon Katic, Sam Fenn, Alex Kim, and Travis Lupick. Travis Lupick is a reporter and editor with the Vancouver newspaper The Georgia Straight. If you like reading (as well as listening) check out the article we produced with him here, as well as another article hereAnother version was also produced in partnership with The Life of the Law. Subscribe to them on iTunes to hear a follow up conversation about this piece on March 21st.

We’d like to thank Life of the Law for their editorial support, Dan Reist for academic mentorship, Josh GD for editorial input, as well as Lauryn Rohde and Jenn Luu for research and marketing help.

Cited is a podcast and radio show funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and produced out of the world class Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. If you like the show, please subscribe, rate and review the show on iTunes; follow us on Twitter; like us on Facebook; and send us an email to let us know what you think at

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