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By Peggy J. Parks

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Some rehabs—and some insurance companies—­ perpetuate the myth that people who make it through detox are fully treated and are ready to rebuild their lives. ” —David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, p. 144. Sheff is a journalist and author whose son, Nic, has battled addiction to numerous drugs, including heroin and crystal meth. “ Medications are available to treat heroin addiction while reducing drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, improving the odds of achieving abstinence.

51 Rinker recovered from the overdose, but he is fully aware that he came perilously close to dying. Infinite Dangers Using SAMHSA’s estimates, nearly five hundred thousand people in the United States are addicted to heroin, with countless others using the drug on occasion—and every one of those users is risking health problems and perhaps death. From intramuscular abscesses to chronic liver disease, and from changes in brain function to the possibility of overdose, the list of ways heroin users can harm themselves is virtually endless.

Even though Hoffman had talked freely about his 49 Heroin Addiction difficult battle with heroin addiction, he had stopped using drugs while in his twenties and remained clean and sober for twenty-three years. Addiction experts emphasize, however, that relapse is always a danger for an addict no matter how long he or she has been sober—even if decades have passed. “We treat addiction like you can make it go away with a 28day stint in rehab and that’s the end of it, but that’s not how it works,” says psychiatrist Joseph A.

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