Self-detoxification by opiate addicts: A preliminary investigation

Michael Gossop, Malcolm Battersby, John Strang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


A study of 50 opiate addicts attending a London service for treatment of drug dependence found that 47 subjects had previously made at least one attempt at self-detoxification. These subjects reported 212 previous attempts. Although 30 subjects reported having managed to complete at least one attempt, the success rate per episode was low (24%). One of the most commonly reported methods, used by 28 subjects, involved an abrupt cessation of opiates ('cold turkey'). Of the drugs used in their attempts at self-detoxification, benzodiazepines were reported by 24 subjects and opiates by 20. Practical strategies such as distraction and avoidance were also used. Self-help detoxification materials for opiate addicts might be useful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-212
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes


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