Psychopathology, craving, and mood during heroin acquisition: An experimental study

Steven M. Mirin, Roger E. Meyer, H. Brian Mcnamee, Mark Mcdougle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Six detoxified addict volunteers were allowed to self-administer intravenous heroin on an essentially self-determined schedule. Two periods of heroin acquisition were compared: an unmodified cycle in which patients could become intoxicated and a later cycle in which the effects of heroin were blocked with a narcotic antagonist. In the unblocked condition, patients initially experienced an increase in positive mood, but with chronic administration there was a significant rise in psychopathology and the development of a generalized dysphoric state. Similar changes did not occur when the same patients took heroin while blocked with a narcotic antagonist. Drug craving rose dramatically when "unblocked" heroin was available, but gradually fell during methadone detoxification. Following treatment with a narcotic antagonist, the presence of heroin failed to elicit any sustained rise in craving and drug taking was dramatically reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-544
Number of pages20
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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