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Heavy Heroin Use
Q - Do you
have any data on use of quantities around an eighth
ounce of heroin a day for someone 'chasing'?
A - Typically,
injectors will use between 1/4g and 1g per day, and
'chasers' between 0.5g and 3g per day. An eighth (3.5g)
is entirely possible, but would be at the top end of
whether an amount of heroin is for personal use or supply,
the court will take into consideration the financial
means of a defendant, and the presence or otherwise
of paraphernalia (scales, packaging materials, cash
etc). Defendants have been convicted of possession with
intent for around a gram, and acquitted for over 2 ounces.
our surveys are of little assistance, as we do not recruit
enough heroin addicts (typically around 0.5%) to draw
any meaningful conclusions, and those who do have a
problem with heroin often fail to complete (or comprehend)
the relevant questions. The vast majority of people
who had used heroin do so experimentally or on an occasional
basis. However, there were few in the 'regular' categories
who did not use daily. There seems to be a level of
use which does not cause addiction, e.g. monthly or
less often, but once people start using weekly or more
often the risk of sliding into dependency increases
levels of methadone prescription, up to 60mg per day
(occasionally 100mg), usually fail to eliminate use
of street heroin, probably because the maximum is too
low. Users are most likely to resort to street heroin
in the hours before their daily dose is due to be taken,
but even so, the level of use can be dramatically reduced.
On the other hand, if too much is prescribed, there
is a risk of diversion and use by individuals not tolerant
to opiates, often with fatal consequences.