Addiction - Electric therapy trial for heroin

Discussion in 'Heroin' started by klaatu, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. klaatu

    klaatu Gold Member

    Reputation Points:
    Feb 26, 2006
    from U.K.
    BBC News

    Friday, 16 June 2006

    A drug addict who was on heroin for five years has claimed he has been cured by a revolutionary treatment.

    Barry Philips, 24, from Kilmarnock, said Neuro-Electric Therapy, which sends electric pulses through the brain, had made him drug-free.

    He said the treatment enabled him to come off heroin in only five days.

    The Scottish Executive is now backing further research into the effectiveness of the treatment for a much wider sample of addicts.

    During Neuro-Electric Therapy (NET), self-adhesive electrodes are applied behind the ear.

    A pocket-sized stimulator is used continuously for six to 10 days and pulses an electric current through the brain to help stabilise its natural balance.

    NET is said to reduce cravings of drug users within one or two weeks.

    Mr Philips said he had tried four times without success to come off heroin, using both methadone and cold turkey.

    He said his withdrawal symptoms lasted for a much shorter period when he used NET and he had remained clean since the treatment in February.

    "It was a lot faster than any other 'rattle' I've ever done," he said.

    "Within four days I was sleeping - a full night's sleep, which was really surprising.

    "Within five days I was really starting to get better and on the sixth day I never even needed the box - that was when I was feeling totally fine again.

    "I've not even thought about drugs - not just heroin, anything at all."

    Leading independent drugs expert Professor Neil McKeganey said NET was worth a proper study.

    He said: "One of the reasons it's terribly difficult for addicts to get off these drugs is the cravings are very strong.

    "One of the benefits of NET, at least as it has been claimed, is that it allows addicts to cope with those feelings of cravings."

    Wider sample

    However, Prof McKeganey warned that it was not a long-term cure and addicts needed continuous support to ensure they remained clean.

    He also said fundamental questions needed to be asked before making NET more widely available.

    Drug charity The Third Step carried out the trial with Mr Philips.

    The executive is giving it support and advice to set up a clinical research project in an effort to see if the treatment is valid for a much wider sample of addicts.

    Mr Philips said he was positive about his own future.

    "I just hope it continues to be like this, back to feeling amazing again, waking up with a smile on my face," he said.

    Mr Philips will describe his experiences at a major conference on NET at St Bryce Kirk, Kirkcaldy, on Friday.

    Other speakers will include Prof McKeganey and George Patterson, the widower of the surgeon whose work in the 1970s helped develop NET.