By Peggy J. Parks
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60 • Margaret T. Donnelly, director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, states that enrollment in treatment has proved to substantially reduce the risk of both fatal and nonfatal heroin overdose. • A 2014 investigation by Associated Press found that admissions to publicly funded programs for heroin treatment in Michigan nearly doubled, from 7,300 in 2000 to 13,600 in 2013. Can People Overcome Heroin Addiction? The Treatment Gap Although treatment can help people recover from heroin addiction and go on to live healthy, drug-free lives, most of those who need to be treated never are.
This is what causes the notorious euphoric rush, and also what keeps addicts returning to the drug again and again. That high is seductive—and to a hard-core heroin addict, impossible to resist. “Regular heroin use changes the functioning of the brain,” says the NIDA. “One result is tolerance, in which more of the drug is needed to achieve the same intensity of effect. ”45 Despite all that is known about heroin addiction, many questions remain unanswered. For example, what are the long-term effects on brain function of repeated heroin use?
A recovering heroin addict, Mnookin is now associate director of the science writing program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “ Terrific advances in treatment have been achieved, but this progress must race ahead of the wave of opiate addiction that is crossing the country. ” —Timothy P. Condon, “Hoffman’s Death Illustrates Heroin’s Ability to Hijack the Brain,” Huffington Post, April 15, 2014. com. Condon is chief science adviser to the Center for Health and Justice. 58 Facts and Illustrations Can People Overcome Heroin Addiction?