UK researchers working at clinics in south London, Brighton and Darlington are calling for injectable heroin therapy for chronic addicts.
In a new study, the researchers found that 127 addicts were able to reduce their dependence on "street" heroin following injectable medical-grade heroin therapy after six months.
"This is a treatment for a severe group of heroin addicts that ordinary treatments have failed with and the question we're answering is 'are these patients untreatable?'," said lead researcher Professor John Strang, from the National Addiction Centre at King's College London.
He added that supervised heroin programme would help addicts re-assess their life and re-connect with their families. Prof Strang also said that such heroin therapy would be cheaper for the government than imprisoning addicts. A Department of Health spokesman said the government would consider the findings of the study.
The study details appear in the Lancet.