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Heroin addiction: the clinic system, John Marks and a timeless classic

Toby Seddon (University College London, London, UK)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 11 December 2020

Issue publication date: 11 December 2020




This extended review of Stimson and Oppenheimer’s classic book Heroin Addiction aims to highlight its contribution to the literature and consider its contemporary relevance for research, policy and practice.


The review examines the core themes of the longitudinal study that the book presents by bringing it in to dialogue with a recent “living history” project on John Marks’ radical heroin prescribing in the 1980s and 1990s.


The three core themes explored are treatment as containment; the balance between therapy and social control; and the benefits of heroin versus methadone.


The book is a “timeless classic” that still resonates with contemporary concerns and has much to tell us about heroin addiction and its treatment.



Thanks to John Marks, Russell New combe and Gerry Stimson for reading and commenting on a draft of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.


Seddon, T. (2020), "Heroin addiction: the clinic system, John Marks and a timeless classic", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 307-311.



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