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Opiates are very effective for pain relief and otherwise relatively harmless. Doctors should be able to do their job without having to worry about whether a patient may ultimately become 'addicted'. In fact, from what I've seen at NA meetings, most addicts were on a mission to 'score' a prescription from the start, and continued to do so even before a dependency could possibly have been created. (The phenomenon of 'insta-diction' has been repeatedly debunked.)
Withdrawal from opiates/heroin is universally reported as 'comfortable' if done under medical supervision. And unlike other drugs, not at all dangerous (Hollywood movies notwithstanding).
The lessons we should be giving people about these drugs is:
Withdrawal is easy so don't panic if you get addicted!
Withdrawal is easy so don't panic if you get addicted again!
Don't mix alcohol and drugs!
The biggest danger of opiates is when someone hits a rough spot in their life and takes an overdose in a moment of weakness. This problem is worse for people who have previously admitted 'powerlessness' to cravings to drugs or alcohol in a 12 Step 'therapy' environment.
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