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Celebrity Heroin Addicts Opt for Ultimate Quick Fix

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As if life weren’t enough of a coast for celebrities, along comes a quickie rehab method that allows addicts to sleep through withdrawal – and drink booze once it’s over.
Rapid detox, the trendiest health fad in Hollywood, sidesteps the traditional 12 steps in favor of what sounds like a medical miracle: weaning those hooked on heroin and other opiates while they snooze.
Doctors at the Waismann Institute in Beverly Hills anesthetize patients, many of the film and music celebrities, and drain their stomachs and bowels, which helps flush out the drugs.
Patients are then given shots of an opiate-blocking medication that smoothes recovery and prevents them from getting high in the future.
Say goodbye to the image of a junkie curled up and writhing in pain while trying to beat his habit.
“Sixty percent of rehab patients will walk out early because they can’t go through the suffering of withdrawal. By the time our patients wake up, they’re very tired, but the detox is over,” said facility director Clare Waismann
After opioid detox, patients can return to their normal lives, Waismann said. Some remain hospitalized for up to three days.
Waismann said admissions in the first two months of this year have doubled, to 70, over the same period last year.
So far, only fallen 1970s teen idol Leif Garrett has admitted checking into the institute, in 1999, for heroin addiction.
“That was the end of feeling like I needed the drugs,” said Garrett, who came in only weeks after the airing of a VH1 “Behind the Music” episode that proclaimed him clean and sober.
Garrett, who performs with his band F8 at the B.B. King’s Blues Club Tuesday night, says he’s been off hard drugs for 26 months.
“But I still drink occasionally,” he said. “I like to have a couple of drinks before I go on stage.”
The Waismann Method is hardly universally accepted, however.
In fact, seven patients at the U.S. Detox Intensive Treatment Unit in New Jersey have died in the last five years while undergoing rapid detox, according to the state medical board.
Board officials sued in 2000 to yank the license of Dr. Lance L. Gooberman, who performed the procedures.
Gooberman, of Merchantville, N.J., claimed the patients died because they had undetected heart problems or took cocaine. He’s still practicing.
Waismann said those patients might have survived had the procedures been performed in a hospital.
“This procedure has to be done by anesthesiologists in a hospital, where if needed, additional medical resources are available,” she said.
Copyright 2002 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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