Understanding Heroin Treatment Options

Understanding Heroin Treatment Options In the majority of countries around the world, heroin has, in historical terms, accounted for major abuse with drugs. Heroin addiction treatment is, therefore, integrated in the drug action plans and strategies of most countries.

Treatments for Heroin Addiction

In accordance with the individual specifics of the heroin addict, treatment is usually supported by adequate rehabilitation and psycho-social care. The general idea is to focus on a wide variety of treatment options.

 Provision of Maintenance Treatment

One of them, more broadly implemented throughout the world, is the provision of maintenance treatment. Preferably, it is part of a community-based health service. It involves the use of replacements such as methadone or substitution drugs. The aim that is pursued is to stabilize the health conditions of the addict. Moving smoothly to reduce heroin addiction and gain social re-integration is a second target. The substitution is provided under special supervision and control procedures. Low doses launch the treatment process. The heroin user is assessed several times per year by experienced experts. Urine testing may indicate the effectiveness of the treatment. Mental health status may be checked via screening, among other procedures. It is a daily observed therapy (DOT). Monitoring of the treatment effects is of paramount importance.

 Detoxification Treatment

Detoxification treatment is another option of heroin addiction treatment. It is medically assisted. It involves the termination of the heroin use safely and in an effective manner until abstinence starts to prevail. The medical care is based on a similar to the heroin substance by cutting the quantity to zero in a gradual way. The objective is to reach a life standard free of heroin. This is also one of the preferred heroin addiction treatments inside prisons. Art therapy or individual coaching may contribute to the treatment effects, too. The socio-psychological support is also a vital ingredient of the approach.

Both treatments are effective in reducing heroin use when specifically, the risk behavior related to it. In this vein, daily life situations are stabilized, treatment is adjusted individually, and psycho-social interventions play a vital role in the programs.

Psychosocial Care

The treatment-related psychosocial care and counseling may be mandatory or delivered upon the client’s request. This approach may depend on the institution that prescribes the treatment or on the general practitioner. Shelters based on a day-or-night principle, or drop-in centers are crucial services in this respect. Education, information, and/or counseling are an integral part of the introduction of these services. The assumption is that the treatment faces the dual challenge of heroin abuse and psychiatric concerns. The different types of distress need to be addressed by this diversity of treatment options.

 Medical Heroin Prescription

Medical heroin prescription for heroin addiction treatment also falls within the range of possible solutions. It proves to have little adverse impact. The approach is effective predominantly when the heroin users do not respond fully and positively to the maintenance treatment or other regular therapies. In these cases, the treatment retention may be higher in comparison with the aforementioned methods. The prescription is controlled via pharmaceutical heroin. In most countries, where a comprehensive system of heroin addiction treatment is established, heroin prescription may be a valuable option. It comes next after other treatments. Several countries – in the EU, for ex. – are experimenting this method when heroin dependents are of a difficult-to-treat chronic type.

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Outpatient heroin addiction treatments are also possible. In a nutshell, they do not include overnight stays in hospital departments or other places of a specialized treatment or advice and the stigmatization of heroin users remains pronounced in the society in general. To enjoy sufficient success rates, the heroin addiction treatment deserves to be part of any public health national policy and health care system. Outreach work via peers, volunteers and family members, too, may further contribute to the success of the policy line. A prevention or post-treatment/aftercare counseling may be embraced by outreach groups. Cooperation or networking with other stakeholders spreads as an innovative method. It aims at reducing risks and boost the daily life of used-to-be heroin addicts.


New approaches to heroin addiction treatment emerge as the patterns of heroin use change. Yet, their effectiveness needs to be proven for a critical mass of users. Successful approaches and services, as outlined above, enjoy a provision on a continuous basis. Scientific research, evidence and professional ethics support the endeavor.

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