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Kicking the habit
Globe and Mail Update
Saturday, August 11, 2001

  • With regular heroin use, a tolerance will develop, leading the abuser to use more of the drug to achieve the same effect. As higher doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop.
  • Withdrawal may occur even a few hours after the last dose of heroin. It produces a drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, kicking movements and other symptoms.
  • Major withdrawal symptoms peak within two-to-three days after the last dose, and subside after a week.
  • Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who aren't in good health is occasionally fatal, although heroin withdrawal is considered much less dangerous than alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal.
  • Opiate drug addictions are diseases of the brain and medical disorders that can be treated effectively when treatments of methadone are integrated with support services, a panel of experts at the National Institutes of Health concluded in 1998.
  • Methadone blocks the effects of heroin for about 24 hours. LAAM, also a synthetic opiate medication for treating heroin addiction can block the effects of heroin for up to 72 hours.
source: U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse

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