Public Believes Heroin Addicts Shouldn’t Use Methadone, Survey Finds

By Brent McCluskey 03/11/15

Most American adults believe heroin addicts should stay away from methadone and quit cold turkey instead.

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A recent survey found that most American adults believe heroin addicts should steer clear of methadone and instead quit cold turkey.

Conducted by YouGov/ Huffington Post, the survey polled 1,000 adults about what they felt was the best way for heroin addicts to quit their habit. Of those surveyed, only 19% thought methadone was a viable solution. In contrast, 50% felt heroin addicts should attend Narcotics Anonymous and be completely drug free.

This year’s findings show a drastically different public opinion on heroin addiction compared to last year’s Pew Research Center national survey, which showed 67% of Americans were in support of increased government-provided treatment for those addicted to illegal drugs. While it’s difficult to accurately compare the differing polls, one common theme was that the majority of Americans feel drug abuse is a crisis, or at the least a serious problem.

But is quitting cold turkey really the best bet for heroin addicts looking to come clean? According to Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, not exactly.

Volkow says the most effective method for heroin addicts to successfully kick the habit is to combine medication with behavioral therapy. Drugs like methadone, buprenorphine, or suboxone help reduce cravings, while therapy can help teach healthy behaviors.

Even still, the YouGov/Huffington Post survey revealed that 40% of Americans believe synthetic drugs do more harm than good for recovering addicts. Nearly 36% were unsure of the benefit of using synthetic drugs and 24% felt they help.

Of the 1,000 polled, nearly half said they would feel “somewhat” or “very” uncomfortable if they lived near a methadone clinic, but 64% admitted they had did not know someone who has been addicted to heroin.

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.