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November 1985

Untreated Opiate AddictsHow Do They Differ From Those Seeking Treatment?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985;42(11):1072-1077. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790340050008

• Treatment-seeking opiate addicts were compared with an untreated, community sample identified through the chain-referral technique. Community and treatment-seeking addicts were found to be comparable in duration and severity of opiate use and in current engagement in risky, illegal activities connected with procurement of drugs. However, community addicts reported more adequate social functioning, fewer drug-related legal problems, and lower rates of depressive disorders. Despite the comparatively less severe problems in current functioning, community addicts were found to be a substantially impaired group whose failure to seek help appeared more related to misunderstanding of the severity of their drug use and of treatment opportunities than to the lack of need for help.