The Effects of Law Enforcement Activity on a Population of Opiate Abusers

This study examined the effect of police action against heroin pushers on clients of methadone programs in metropolitan Denver. On November 10, 1979, twenty suspected drug dealers and buyers were arrested and another twenty were under investigation in a vice squad operation in metropolitan Denver. The operation involved an undercover agent who mingled with addicts and bought opiates over an extended period from dealers, who were later arrested within a 48-hour period. Newspaper reports indicated that most of those arrested had been selling heroin in the vicinity of the outpatient clinic operated by Addiction Research and Treatment Services (ARTS) of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Although linked to the clinic by the press, only two of those arrested were known to clinic personnel. In this study we examined the patterns of opiate use of the clients enrolled in that clinic as reflected by the presence of opiate metabolites in their urine samples collected before and after the drug bust. The clinical course of a sample of clients who abused opiates before, but not after the bust was examined. In addition, urine data from the other two methadone programs in the city were examined. Metropolitan Denver Read more […]

Psychosocial and Biomedical Aspects of Deaths Associated with Heroin and Other Narcotics

Reliable and relevant data are scarce concerning the etiology of deaths due to psycho-active drugs. As a result, nationwide efforts to combat an apparently growing use and abuse of dangerous drugs have been seriously hampered. To begin to obtain the kind of information needed to appreciate some epidemiological aspects of drug-associated deaths, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in collaboration with the Special Action Office of Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP), contracted with a research team from the University of California at Irvine. The goals of the resulting project were, broadly, threefold: (a) to develop and test a comprehensive form for recording information on psychoactive drug-associated deaths (); (b) to use this form to collect data on 2,000 cases from the medical examiners or coroners in nine major urban cities (); and (c) to get an estimate of the quality of toxicological investigations carried out in the laboratories of these nine urban reporting centers, with the long-term goal of exploring means of improving the uniformity and accuracy of such analytical determinations so that nationwide surveys in this area might rest on a more valid and consistent foundation (). The resulting UCI Reporting Read more […]

Update on Naltrexone Treatment

Our group in Philadelphia has used naltrexone in the treatment of 201 narcotic addicts in 258 separate treatment episodes as of 1 July 1977. The antagonist treatment program is an important part of our overall multimodality program which includes methadone or propoxyphene maintenance treatment, inpatient detoxification, long-term therapeutic community, family, group, and individual therapies, and a variety of behavioral treatments. Narcotic antagonist treatment, of course, appeals only to those patients who are genuinely interested in becoming drug free. It is not nearly as popular as methadone treatment, but it occupies an important niche — amounting to 5-10 percent of our total patient population at some time in their treatment careers. Our narcotic antagonist patients are demographically similar to our other patients: mean age 27, 60 percent black, more than 95 percent male, and more than 95 percent veterans of military service. Our methods for detoxification from narcotics and institution of antagonist therapy have been reported elsewhere (2, 4); they are similar to those described by others. We use intravenous naloxone prior to the first naltrexone dose to detect residual physical dependence and thus reduce Read more […]

Addicts and Drugs

This paper, a retrospective study in the anthropological oral-history tradition, presents an overview of drug addiction in Baltimore City from 1950 through 1977. Interviews were conducted with male addicts and ex-addicts who served as research informants to describe the conditions prevailing on the narcotic drug scene in Baltimore during that period. Each addict was considered as a participant observer, and the interview focused on his observations of the conditions that prevailed in Baltimore during his periods of addiction and not upon his own activities or habits. In addition to the interviews, data were drawn from available police statistics and from the Maryland State Drug Abuse Administration. Methodology The formal design of the sample of addict informants called for the selection of persons who could report on two or more of the arbitrarily defined time periods during which their own addiction was of substantial duration. To be eligible for interview, each addict must have had at least two periods of addiction in Baltimore, separated by a period of time when he was not addicted. In order to keep the interviews at manageable length, each addict was asked about two of the time periods during which he was Read more […]