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Summary

Abstinent opiate abusers who have just completed a 30-day treatment program in a Therapeutic Community setting experience intense drug craving and may even experience subjective withdrawal signs/symptoms when exposed to drug-related stimuli. The described extinction procedures were effective in virtually eliminating conditioned craving and conditioned withdrawal signs/symptoms to drug-related stimuli within 20 hour-long treatment sessions (a 3-week inpatient stay). These findings are discussed in terms of the need to address conditioned opiate-related responses in the treatment of abstinent opiate abusers, as these responses may make the patient more vulnerable to relapse.