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August 23, 1965

A Medical Treatment for Diacetylmorphine (Heroin) Addiction: A Clinical Trial With Methadone Hydrochloride

Author Affiliations

From the Rockefeller Institute, and Manhattan General Division of Beth Israel Hospital, New York.

JAMA. 1965;193(8):646-650. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090080008002

A group of 22 patients, previously addicted to diacetylmorphine (heroin), have been stabilized with oral methadone hydrochloride. This medication appears to have two useful effects: (1) relief of narcotic hunger, and (2) induction of sufficient tolerance to block the euphoric effect of an average illegal dose of diacetylmorphine. With this medication, and a comprehensive program of rehabilitation, patients have shown marked improvement; they have returned to school, obtained jobs, and have become reconciled with their families. Medical and psychometric tests have disclosed no signs of toxicity, apart from constipation. This treatment requires careful medical supervision and many social services. In our opinion, both the medication and the supporting program are essential.

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