The official journal of
EUROPAD - European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association
WFTOD - World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence
Editor: Icro Maremmani, MD - Pisa, Italy, EU
Associate Editors:
Thomas Clausen, MD - Oslo, Norway
Pier Paolo Pani, MD - Cagliari, Italy, EU
Marta Torrens, MD - Barcelona, Spain, EU
Statistical Editor:
Mario Miccoli, PhD - Pisa, Italy, EU

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Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems: 2001, 03, 2 (pages: 33 - 38)

Intensive sport and risk of heroin addiction

Deglon J. J.

Summary: Results from Loewenstein's study on heroin addicts in his methadone programme have led us to verify a correlation between intensive sports and addiction. In our four methadone programmes based on a medical-psychosocial treatment model, 378 patients answered a 200-item questionnaire distributed last year. 25% said they had played a sport on an intensive basis, several hours a day for several months. 32% said they had practised a highly competitive sport. It therefore seems that most of our patients have been intensive sports-players ā€” certainly more so than the majority of the population in a similar age range. Significant statistical correlations to be noted among the athletic group are: higher frequency of parents with psychological problems, higher methadone dosage, a greater use of cigarettes before beginning methadone, a higher score on the Beck Depressive Scale, a lower score on a quality of life test and a need for more psychotropic drug prescriptions. These results allow us to formulate the hypothesis that intensive sports for certain young people can be a means to escape from an underlying depression. The stimulation of endorphins and the ensuing activation of dopamine tracts incite temporary psychological improvement. It would thus appear that the association of narcotics, especially heroin, which gives a pleasure that is incomparably stronger than that obtained through intensive sports, with neurobiological/psychological fragility, can lead to a high risk of addiction in this population.


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