Heroin addiction

Why don’t hospitals cure heroin addiction by putting the patient under for 4 or 5 days, breaking the addiction?

They can’t cure it.

They could manage it with a variant of the method you describe, if there was a social norm and acceptance of treating addicts rather than incarcerating them.

Blame Republicans for labeling addicts as aliens.

Why not by stopping the physical addiction?

Impossible to do for now.

There’s no research dollars going into educating people into being aware of their biological responses being of lesser importance than their social responsibilities.

Blame Republicans for that too.

You don’t even need to put them under. Four or five days without heroin will be enough to end withdrawals for most addicts. Just put them anywhere that they can’t score for 5 days like jail or a rowboat in the middle of the Atlantic. But they aren’t cured, just off heroin for the moment. They still have their addictive mindset.

Of course, putting them under significantly decreases the symptoms of withdrawal.

Except in most circumstances the physical symptoms are only unpleasant, not life threatening. The presence of an altered mental state or hallucinations indicates some other underlying cause of the addiction.

Alas, my poor memory cannot call up the search terms, but there is a treatment center that has done this - and I have it in my brain that it is in Seattle (but my brain can no longer be trusted). If I can think what to search for, I’ll try to provide some links.

Because it’s not a cure. All you’re doing is getting the drug out of their system, you’re not fixing what leads them to take drugs in the first place.

Narconon is the only way that works. Nothing else even comes close.

I’m rather new here, but been reading the dope for a handful of years. Not proud, but I am a former heroin addict (I don’t like the the word “recovering” - the idea that you are always recovering and never recovered doesn’t sit right with me). It seems to me that most any rational being would disagree with that. (anyway…)

So anyway, I’ve seen people say this when they feel they have unique situation and others may have questions. Is “ask for former heroin addict” a viable topic for discussion (moved to whichever forum is appropriate, of course)? Or too much of a downer. I’d respond to the previous posts but its quite late here and I’m just browsing a bit waiting to fall asleep. I suppose I’ll check back tomorrow and see if I get answers of “sure!” or “F off junkie scum.” :wink:

It *is *done sometimes, mostly at for-profit “rehab centers,” and not so often at hospitals.

“Putting someone under” carries risks. The biggest being that they won’t come out of it at all, or with full brain function intact. Next is the risk of aspiration, meaning they inadvertently choke on their own secretions. There’s risk of infection, as someone who is unconscious can’t cough effectively to clear their own airway, and are susceptible to pneumonia. If you’ve got an underweight or overweight drug addict (not uncommon), even a few days unconscious is enough to give them a pressure ulcer (bed sore), cause wasting of muscle tissue and weakness and diminished range of motion which may persist after the coma is discontinued. Blood clots can develop in the legs, which may release and go to the lungs, and that’s deadly, or may go to the blood supply of the brain, causing a stroke. The drugs used (barbiturates) to place and keep a person “under” affect the movement of your intestines, which are already quite messed up enough when you’re a heroin addict, increasing the risks of bowel obstruction or paralytic ileus (not good.)

In other words, it’s not something you want to do to a person unless you *really *have to. In some cases, like if there’s significant swelling of the brain, the benefit to induced coma outweighs the risk - but what’s the benefit here? Detoxing is not fun, but detoxing from heroin doesn’t kill you (detoxing from alcohol may), and plenty of addicts do it just fine. The problem is, no matter the method of detox, it doesn’t solve the problem of addiction. There’s little evidence that a person who detoxes in an induced coma stays off her drug of choice any longer than someone who detoxes naturally. The mental illness, behavioral patterns or social pressure to use drugs is still there when the person leaves the hospital or rehab center, and most return to their drug using ways. Therefore, there’s no benefit to outweigh the risks.

Personally, absent strong evidence that a medically induced coma greatly reduces the incidence of relapse, I’d advise against it. I suspect that the reason for-profit rehab centers do this so much more often than hospitals is because it can be sold to addicts and their families as the “easy way” to get clean, downplaying the risks involved. It might be the “easier” way to detox, but there’s nothing easy about *staying *off addictive drugs, and this won’t help with that.

imo, we can never have too many “ask the …” threads

I originally stopped by to say what it turns out Whynot already said most eloquently.

I’d just like to add that the more comfortable one makes opiate detox, the less negative reinforcement the user has to avoid opiates the next time.

Not that negative reinforcement via uncomfortable detox is a sure-fire cure, but it adds another entry to the ever-growing list of reasons to not use drugs again.

At least it did for me, and a lot of other folks like me.

(I do not advocate extreme suffering via opiate withdrawal; that can exacerbate mental illness and raise the risk of suicide, even if the physical symptoms are not life-threating. I often prescribe clonidine to reduce moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms, and in certain cases use buprenorphine to get a person off opiates.)

In one of my posts I had originally said that while the physical symptoms are only unpleasant, not life threatening. I had added that it was often a bracing experience for the former addict to suffer while getting off the shit, but deleted that bit of the post.

Wish I had stuck to my guns now. Because that is my experience - pain free withdrawal equals back on the juice again, real soon.

Heh. My first WD was managed with methadone, my second with clonidine. My third (and last one, now over 20 years ago) was all cold turkey. Very educational, and memorable.

Heh. Yeah…I had something about that in, but then it got so weighed down in defensive disclaimers about, “not that we’re trying to *punish *people, or cause them pain, or…wait a minute, where are you going? I’m here to heeeeeeeelp!” that it just seemed wiser to delete that part least it lead to trainwrecky goodness.

But you’re right, of course.

Go for it! please do!

Are you a Scientologist?

Political jabs are not allowed in GQ. Don’t do this again.