People who use heroin commonly spend time in prison. Contact with treatment services after release from prison is important for reducing the risk that released heroin users will return to regular drug use.
Heroin use and associated harms can be reduced through effective treatment. Past research has shown that treatment for heroin dependence can be relatively cost-effective, but not whether heroin treatment overall is a good investment.
Heroin dependence is remarkably persistent, and in many cases it is a lifelong condition with a high mortality rate. Yet, the natural history of heroin dependence has rarely been studied.
In this review, the self-medication hypothesis is examined in relation to the development and chronicity of heroin dependence.