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References on Heroin, Morphine, and the Opiates
Frequently Asked Questions about Heroin, Morphine, and the Opiates

Rapid Detox as a treatment for heroin addiction

Rapid detox is a method of trying to stop heroin addiction by getting the patient past the withdrawal symptoms in one day.

The basic procedure is that the patient is tied down in a bed, hooked to a respirator and other medical monitoring equipment, and they are given sedatives to make them sleep and anesthetics to kill pain. Then the attending doctors administer drugs that bring on the withdrawal symptoms while the patient is asleep. The theory is that the patient will wake up free of withdrawal symptoms and thus free of the physical craving for heroin. The process takes about 24 hours.

After the treatment, the patient receives drugs that block the effects of opiates so, even if they happen to relapse and take some, they will not get the euphoric effects.

Like most other modes of treatment some patients swear that it was what worked for them.

What's the downside?

People have died doing it. Rapid withdrawal from heroin is a stressful experience for the mind and body, even if someone is asleep while it happens and not consciously aware. In addition, general anesthesia -- especially for 24 hours at a stretch -- is hazardous. Among medical specialties, anesthesiologists pay some of the highest rates for medical malpractice insurance just because of the comparatively high rate of bad results.



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