P1: GAR/GAQ P2: GAR
Psychiatric Quarterly [psaq] PH015-294630 April 28, 2001 14:47 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 2, 2001
CLONIDINE ABUSE AMONG
Sylvia J. Dennison, M.D.
Objective: To determine if clonidine abuse among non-pregnant opiate depen-
dent individuals is common and the reason for such use. Method: Self report
of personal use or knowledge of others’ use of this drug. Results: Fourteen of
ﬁfteen treatment seeking individuals with opiate dependence knew of clonidine
abuse. Ten had used it personally to decrease the amount of heroin necessary
to achieve a desired effect and to prolong the length of the opiate’s action.
Conclusion: clonidine abuse among opiate addicts may be more common than
previous studies have suggested. Opiate addicts should be screened for abuse
of this substance, especially in view of its widespread use for the purpose of
opiate withdrawal. Further, such patients should be warned of potential health
hazards attendant upon clonidine use and abrupt cessation.
KEY WORDS: clonidine; opiate dependence; substance abuse; opiate withdrawal.
Clonidine is a centrally acting alpha agonist approved for the treat-
ment of hypertension but used in other medical conditions as well. As
Sylvia J. Dennison, M.D., is with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois
Chicago, School of Medicine.
Address correspondence to Sylvia J. Dennison, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, Uni-
versity of Illinois Chicago, School of Medicine, NPI 521; M/C 913, 912 South Wood St.,
Chicago, IL 60612.
2001 Human Sciences Press, Inc.