Methadone Maintenance Treatment of Heroin Addiction in Sweden

  • E. Änggård
  • M.-I. Nilsson
  • L. Grönbladh
  • L.-M. Gunne

Abstract

The present wave of heroin abuse in Sweden has its roots in the 1960s. In the wake of the epidemic of central stimulant abuse raw opium was introduced in 1969, soon followed by ‘morphine base’, a cinnamon like powder, which had to be dissolved in citric or ascorbic acid before injection. After a brief period with morphine tablets, heroin was introduced into the drug market in 1974. This escalation from less to more concentrated and potent compounds has several negative consequences. Firstly, heroin is about three times more potent than morphine. By virtue of its higher lipid solubility it penetrates more rapidly into the brain. Currently at least 60 young Swedes die every year in drug accidents. Secondly, heroin passes mucous membranes more easily than morphine and can thus be ‘snorted’ into the nasal cavities and absorbed by this route. This use pattern has been reported in south Sweden and in Stockholm and facilitates the progression into intravenous compulsive abuse.

Keywords

Depression Morphine Hydrochloride Stein Deuterium 

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Copyright information

© The contributors 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Änggård
    • 1
    • 2
  • M.-I. Nilsson
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. Grönbladh
    • 1
    • 2
  • L.-M. Gunne
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Experimental Alcohol and Drug Addiction ResearchKarolinska InstituteStockholmSweden
  2. 2.The Psychiatric Research CentreUlleråker HospitalUppsalaSweden

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