New Heroin Use Study Indicates More Treatment is Better

heroinThe families, friends and medical professionals that work with addicts know how hard it can be to live or work with someone that is on drugs. Addicts will lie, cheat and steal in order to get more of the substance they crave. They will act in ways that you could never imagine or predict just to get one more hit. You may think that they know they need to get help, but you’d be surprised at how hard it can be to get them to agree.

When someone has a drug overdose or other injury related to drug use, hospital staff will often begin some form of basic drug treatment right away. This could be as simple as applying naloxone, a drug that can counteract the effects of a opioid drug overdose, or it could be as complicated as holding the addict and beginning to give him involuntary treatment for a life-threatening condition.

When looking at what these addicts need in order to get clean again, some hospital staff haven’t known what the right course to take is. Should they simply suggest what the addict should do after leaving the hospital, or should they take a more involved role? Some researchers are beginning to answer this question by studying the effects of different decisions made by medical personnel when a drug user is leaving treatment.

Study Shows What it Takes to Start Drug Rehab Treatment

According to a study by Dr. Jane Liebschutz of Boston Medical Center, addicts that were directly referred to a treatment center after their stay in a hospital were much more likely to stay clean than those that were only given an info packet about further treatment options. The two groups were given the same treatment while in the hospital, but one group was given much more direction in actually starting in post-hospital treatment for their heroin addiction.

The difference was large, too. Approximately four out of ten addicts referred to a program were able to stay clean, but only one out of ten stayed clean when given an info packet. The lesson here was clear. We can’t simply tell addicts what they should probably do and send them on their way. Instead, we need to help direct them into the treatment programs where they will actually get the rehabilitation that they need.

Getting Addicts Help

Addiction is a complex mental and biological process, and it exerts an incredible amount of control over a person’s decision making process. Addicts will make very poor decisions even with full knowledge of the probable outcome of their actions. When a junkie is feeling the incredible pain of heroin withdrawal, he might share a needle with someone he knows has Hepatitis C, just because he can’t wait ten minutes to buy another needle. He knows that the decision may cost him his life, but the drugs are simply too powerful and too in control.

In the same way, addicts usually know that they need help to get over their drug problems, but they often won’t actually start a program unless you guide them directly to it. There are far too many ways to excuse their own behavior or to be in denial about it being time to get treatment. Any hospital staff or family members that know a person has a drug problem need to take charge. They need to take that person by the hand and literally walk them to the center where help can be had. Any less is really rolling the dice on whether or not drug rehab treatment will actually begin.


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