Newly Created Virtual 'Heroin Cave' To Help Heroin Dependents Set Free From Addiction

By Maureen Bongat, Parent Herald March 01, 05:30 am
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US teen drug overdose deaths have increased by 19% after years of decline

Using heroin offers a high risk for health and addiction. In fact, an estimate of about 23 percent of those who use the drug become dependent on it. Considered as epidemic, experts are creating a way to minimize the problem especially that it can cause some serious health conditions, spontaneous abortion, infectious diseases and fatal overdose especially to those who gets addicted to it.

Given that reason, a new study was conducted at the University of Houston which can alter the needs of those who are already at the verge of getting addicted and those who are dependent on the drug. As reported by Reuters, the aim of the study is to know how the newly created virtual reality headsets can help curb the addiction of these people.

"In traditional therapy we role-play with the patient but the context is all wrong," said Patrick Bordnick, an associate dean of research and one of the study leaders. "We need to put patients in realistic virtual reality environments and make them feel they are there with the drug, and the temptation, to get a clearer picture and improve interventions."

In the study, addicts were required to put on these headsets as they enter a virtual world called the heroin cave. With the heroin environment, these people are free to do whatever they want to do. They don't have to feel limited or worried that other people might be watching them. The virtual world also caters a house party where the drug is snorted and injected freely, as posted in the NBC News.

With the help of an eight-camera infrared system, the virtual world was created with life-size 3D avatars and environment which users can interact. The creators said the project took them nearly about a year to complete.

"We want to know if decreasing craving in a lab modifies heroin use in the real world," Bordnick said.

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