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May 1974

Short-Term Effects of Heroin in ManIs EEG Related to Behavior?

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Psychiatry, New York Medical College. Dr. Feldstein is now at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Dr. Fink is at the Health Sciences Center, State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(5):677-681. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760110091011

Nineteen detoxified male heroin postaddicts received 25 mg of heroin intravenously, on two occasions, and a placebo intravenously on two other occasions. Two tasks were administered: an auditory detection task to measure performance, and a mood monitoring task to measure the subjective reports of "high." Each task was administered once after heroin and once after the placebo. Electroencephalogram, breathing rate, heart rate, and pupil size were measured before and after each injection. Heroin injections resulted in an increase in reaction time and of omission errors, in a slowing of the EEG, decrease of the breathing rate and pupillary diameter, and increase of heart rate. The time course of these changes and of the heroin "high" was defined.

While an increase in number of omission errors was associated with a decrease in EEG frequency, the rate of increase was differentially affected by heroin and placebo. Administration of heroin was followed by a prolongation of reaction time. Intensity of the subjective "high" was negatively related to the EEG frequency, breathing rate, and pupil size. This test battery is useful for measurement of effects of opiates and their antagonists.