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The treatment of heroin addiction is ambivalent because a socio-culture problem is transformed into a medical problem. Medical intervention is part of achieving social normalization. Discus methods of treatment of drug addiction within medical establishm Essay Example

Discuss methods of treatment of drug addiction within medical establishments and problems faces


Modern society is increasingly suffering from rampant cases of drug abuse leading to destruction of families, communities, and individuals (Schafer Pg 1). Statistical data from US indicate that about 1 million heroin addicts are present in the US while 2.4 million are crack and cocaine users(Schafer Pg 1). Drug abuse is proving to be a costly affair with New Zeeland reporting that social costs of alcohol and drug abuse is totaling to $ 2.4 billion annually. Drug misuse is related to many causes, which may be biological, psychological, cultural, and environmental. Most research has proven that drugs and substance abuse is more related to psychological relationship and distress, behavior patterns, and imbalance in the family organization. Part of the influence is from friends and families. Amsterdam is a hub for heroin activities. Health researchers indicate that there are estimated 1000 heroin prostitutes within the city(Henk ten Have Pg 173).

Situations and Implications

Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs, which leads to high addiction. It is estimated that within three days after consuming the drug one is likely to suffer high case of addiction. 97% of people who use heroin become addicted within day 1 and day 3 of use with strong physical and psychological addiction (Neda Pg 59). Like many other drugs, the drug has various physical, psychological, and social side effects. Use of heroin increases chances of developing genetic diseases. Use of heroin has been on the rise especially in Western Europe in Amsterdam. The city has over 10,000 addicts who utilize over 100 million pounds annually to purchase heroin. 53 people died due to heroin overdose in the year 1983(Henk ten Have Pg 173). Fighting drug abuse is a worldwide challenge due to sophisticated drug cartels that are proving a headache to many governments in the world. The result is increase in heroin use in the black market. In India problems of drug, addiction is increasing daily. 40% of India’s population is below 18 years and this is posing a great danger for that country in terms of drug abuse cases (R. C Jiloha Pg 167). Treatment of heroin can be both through pharmacology and psychological under rehabilitation.

Treatment Methods

Treatment of heroin can be both through pharmacology and psychological under rehabilitation. Opiates agonist is the main agent used in detoxification of heroin use. Use of opium is on the rise worldwide. However, after a patient died while undergoing rapid opiate detoxification treatment in London after suffering a bomb injury for 8 months, doctors are calling for review of treating heroin patients in a more careful way(Mayor Pg 1365). This is according to Susa Mayor a news presenter in 1997. The technique of treatment involves providing the patient with general anesthetics for around 6-8 hours while at the same time administering opiate antagonist naltrexone. This process according to doctor’s clear heroin and other parts of opiates in the body within 48 hours of administration. It is so fast and highly recommended. The advantage of this therapy is that the withdrawal symptoms occur during the time the patient is still under anesthesia hence reducing pain and other side effects. The difference in operations and management programs hampers the ability to analyze the merits of pharmacological treatment to heroin patients. For example, when Gowing and colleagues conducted a chohrane review about 218 international detoxification studies, they came up with varied results depending on the antagonist used to treat heroin cases(United Nation International Drug Control Program Vienna Pg 3). In-patients showed 75% completion while out patients showed 35% completion with use methadone. When α 2-adrenergic agonist was used, there was 72% completion for in-patients and 53% completion for out patients. Many studies indicate that methadone is the main agent for detoxification of heroin. It decreases the rate at which addicts use illicit(Pierluigiz Pg 3) drugs and their criminal behavior. In addition to this, it also improves rehabilitation of intravenous opiate-addicted patients and lowers their prevalence to HIV infections.NedaVidjak conducted an experiment with the aim of distinguishing the best method of therapy that is suitable for heroin addicts(Neda Pg 60). In the experiment, three treatment modalities were used. Methadone therapy, hospital therapy without methadone, and therapeutic community were the modalities. The result indicated that after methadone therapy, a single patient managed to abstain from heroin for more than 2 years out of 33 patients who were under experiment. The amount used per person during the experiment was $ 3,628. In the hospital treatment group, the cost for treatment was $ 2,850 per patient. 30 patients were under study. The study concluded that none of the patient survived and all of them continued to use heroin after the therapy. 30 patients were selected for study under treatment in therapeutic communities. Each patient used an average of $ 10,000 during the research process. At the end of the session, 21 participants continued to use heroin(Neda Pg 61). 9 males managed to abstain from heroin for two years but 5 of them continued to use soft drugs and alcohol. The report indicates that use of therapeutic is the most effective way of treating heroin patients(Neda Pg 62). However, it is so costly.

Physiological treatment method is a possible way of treating patients with heroin addiction. This is because it motivates the patients to change their behavior. It is a social way of intervention. Intervention is a desired attempt by a group of people mostly family and friends trying to compel a friend to seek professional help with addiction or a traumatic event or other related serious problems (Charles Pg 78). Intervention can also refer to the use of a similar technique during therapy sessions. Interventions may be direct or indirect. Direct intervention involves meeting the affected people directly and trying to compel or influence them to seek professional help while indirect interventions involve use of other people such as friends and family to help the affected people. However, direct intervention does not include the family. Interventions originated in 1960 with Dr. Vernon Johnson (Johnson Pg 15).Elements of invitational approach can be observed mostly through family and friends. Planning for intervention requires consultation amongst the family members and the therapists and does not include the affected party. Although intervention is perceived as the best prescription to alcoholism and heroin addiction, a lot of controversy surrounds the therapy. A recent survey conducted showed that most of the patients and clients that underwent Johnson’s intervention showed effects of worse relapse than those that sought alternative measures. In some cases, intervention will require the use of force and many therapists argue that this is illegal and it deprives the clients and patients of their legal rights. Under some circumstance, intervention may lead to separation from family members when a patient is referred to psychiatric facilities for better treatment. The addiction of heroin use is associated with different social and cultural problems as well as health issues. In addition, the treatments procedures and methods also have various effects on the addicts. The use of heroin has been found to have an effect on the children born to mothers who have an addiction. According to mothers who abuse heroin and other substances such as methadone expose themselves to obstetrical complications such as premature births, ammonites, and chorioamnionitis. Chorioamnionitis is associated with poor mental development in the kids who are born to mothers with a heroin addiction. Additionally, the risk of pulmonary hemorrhage and hyperthermia is higher in children born to mothers with an addiction


Use of cocaine and other drugs is a major problem in the society. Use of psychological treatment through counseling as a form of intervention is the simplest and the cheapest means of treating patients suffering from heroin addiction. The inability of the governments to control drugs cartel is proving to be a headache in preventing young people from accessing this drug.The drug has 97% addiction rate in less than a week. Proper education and counseling is necessary for the young generation if heroin use is to be minimized.

Works Cited

Charles, Grant. «Interventions in adolescent sexual offenders.» Adolescent Sexual offenders (2005): 78-82.

Henk ten Have, and Paul Sporken. «Heroin addiction, ethics and philosoophy of medicine.» Journal of medical ethics (1985): 11, 173-177.

Holden, G A. «Deinstitutionalizing Status Offenders.» Juvenile Progress (1995): 2-10.

Johnson, Vernon. «Intervention Models.» Intervention Models (2008): 15-16.

Mayor, Susan. «Specialists Criticize Treatmet for Heroin Addiction.» British Medical Journal (1997): Volume 134 1365.

McCord, J. «Interventions from birth through Adolescents.» Behaviour (2006): 162-195.

Neda, Vidjak. «Treating Heroin Addiction. Comparison of Methadone Therapy, Hospital Therapy without Methadone, and Therapeutic Comminty.» Croatian Medicl Journal(2003): 44 (1) 59-64.

Pierluigiz, Vigezzi et al,. «Multimodal drug addiction treatmet: A field comparison of methadone and buprenorphine among heroi and cocaine dependent patients.» Journal of Substace Abuse Treatmnet (2006): 31 3-7.

R. C Jiloha. «Social and Cultural Aspects of Drug Abuse in Adolescents.» Delhi Psychatry Journal (2009): Vol 12 no 2 167-175.

Schafer, Gabriele. «Family funcioning in families with alcohol and other drug addiction.» Social policy journal of New Zeeland (2011): Issue 31 pg 1.

Shcoenward, Burns and. «Effective treatment for mental disorders among children.» Journal of Youth and Child studies (2002): 238-314.

United Nation International Drug Control Program Vienna. «Contemporary drug abuse treatment: A review of eveidence base.» United Nation International Drug Control Program Vienn (2002): 3.