Conventional wisdom among clinicians and researchers in the field of drug abuse and addiction is that heroin addicts seldom, if ever, overcome addiction without treatment. Occasionally researchers have speculated that there may be something akin to spontaneous remission among addicts, but until recently it was thought that the numbers and percentages of such recoveries were very small (5-15%) and insignificant. New evidence suggests that the rate of natural recovery may be much higher than expected. Furthermore, new studies suggest that addicts who do not go to treatment recover at approximately the same rates as those who do go to treatment.
Dan Waldorf & Patrick Biernacki
Natural Recovery from Heroin Addiction: A Review of the Incidence Literature (1980)