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Self-detoxification by Opiate Addicts

A Preliminary Investigation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Michael Gossop*
Affiliation:
Drug Dependence Clinical Research and Treatment Unit, The Maudsley Hospital and The Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX
Malcolm Battersby
Affiliation:
Drug Dependence Clinical Research and Treatment Unit, The Maudsley Hospital and The Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX
John Strang
Affiliation:
Drug Dependence Clinical Research and Treatment Unit, The Maudsley Hospital and The Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX
*
Correspondence

Abstract

A study of 50 opiate addicts attending a London service for treatment of drug dependence found that 47 subjects had previously made at least one attempt at self-detoxification. These subjects reported 212 previous attempts. Although 30 subjects reported having managed to complete at least one attempt, the success rate per episode was low (24%). One of the most commonly reported methods, used by 28 subjects, involved an abrupt cessation of opiates (‘cold turkey’). Of the drugs used in their attempts at self-detoxification, benzodiazepines were reported by 24 subjects and opiates by 20. Practical strategies such as distraction and avoidance were also used. Self-help detoxification materials for opiate addicts might be useful.

Type
Papers
Copyright
Copyright © 1991 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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