Early Termination Of Opioid Dependence

Continued daily use with loss of control depends partly on the availability of the drug and other environmental conditions. American soldiers serving in VIETNAM during the Vietnam War were exposed to an environment in which heroin was easily available and heroin use was common. An interview survey of a sample of returning veterans revealed that 35 percent had tried heroin while in Vietnam and 19 percent (about half of those who tried it) considered themselves addicted to it. During a three-year period after return to the United States, however, only 12 percent of those addicted in Vietnam became readdicted in the United States. These represented about 2 percent of the entire sample interviewed (Robins et al., 1980). Other studies of early termination of opioid dependence in the United States have identified various life events as probable causative factors in the termination. Among these are change of residence, marriage, a drug-related arrest, and death of a friend from overdose. Many persons who terminate their opioid dependence do so without treatment.

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