Term Paper: Heroin Drug Addiction

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[. . .] The drug naltrexone was promoted since 1997 as a tool to help rapid detoxicification in people withdrawing from heroin. However, a study, published in this week's (MJA) confirms the findings of overseas studies that the treatment may not be as effective as it has been made out to be. (NSW-Health, 1999)

There does not seem to be dissipation in heroin use in Australia. This is shown by surveys conducted by the NDS Household Survey over most of the 1990s. (Swift, Williams, Neill, & Grenyer, 1990) Polydrug dependence and psychiatric problems went hand in hand with heroin users. Overall, the more psychologically distressed subjects were, the more different types of drugs they were dependent upon. In a comparative study of prison and community patients, the rates were 44% for community MM patients, and 65% among prison patients (Darke et al. 1998a).

In summarizing the patterns of heroin use in Australia, approximately 2% of the population have tried heroin. A number of data sources indicate that the use of heroin appears to be increasing in Australia. The "typical" heroin user is an unemployed male in their twenties or thirties, who injects heroin and uses a variety of drugs in addition to heroin. The age of onset of heroin use is falling, with initiation among younger cohorts occurring in the mid-teens. The smoking o f heroin is increasing in popularity, which can be expected to result in an increase in the number of heroin injectors. The rate of heroin-related deaths continues to rise steeply, and is strongly associated with polydrug use.

Heroin addiction is a serious problem but, with the love and support of their families and their own willingness to change, many users can overcome the habit. People needing help for heroin addiction should ensure any clinic or health professional they choose is experienced in drug and alcohol treatment.


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Distributed by World Scientific Pub.

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