Heroin Addiction: Pathways to Treatment Essay

Although no single treatment is appropriate for everyone, I am an avid supporter of abstinence with psychosocial support as the most valuable and effective treatment for the disease of heroin addiction. This model promotes real change in the life of the addicted. Change that may start with the physical aspect, detoxification, ridding the body of the offensive chemical, and abstinence, continuing to not pick up that drug again, no matter what.

The concentration of this treatment is then focused on the mind and spirit of the person who is addicted. By helping the addict to identify and correct faulty beliefs and behaviors, and motivating them to address underlying issues that contributed to their life style, clinicians are empowering the patient/client to make positive choices for themselves. According to Jerome Platt , effective treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences.

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Addiction treatment must help the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society. Because addiction is typically a chronic disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured (Platt 211-257). Larry Kroll and Manuel Silverman report, a variety of scientifically based approaches to drug addiction treatment exist. Drug addiction treatment can include behavioral therapy such as counseling, cognitive therapy, or psychotherapy.

Behavioral therapies offer people strategies for coping with their drug cravings, teach them ways to avoid drugs and prevent relapse, and help them deal with relapse if it occurs. Because drug abuse and addiction have so many dimensions and disrupt so many aspects of an individual’s life, treatment is not simple. Most patients require long-term or repeated episodes of care to achieve the ultimate goal of sustained abstinence and recovery of their lives (Kroll and Silverman 121-129).

I would like to explore the statistics on the use of heroin in the United States. Who uses heroin? What are the average ages of those who try this drug and continue to use until addicted. On average how long do people use before they seek help or get caught up with the law. What is an addicts odds of finding treatment before jails, institutions or death?

Works Cited

Kroll, Larry J. , and Manuel S. Silverman. Opiate Addiction: Theory and Process. Landham, MD: U P of America, 1980. Print. Platt, Jerome J. Heroin Addiction. Philadelphia: Krieger. 1986. Print.