After some recent and unpleasant dealings with addicts, Im not sure what to think, beyond God save me from more.
There is, I suspect, a phenomenon that has been labeled an "addictive personality"; that is, an individual subject to temptation toward activities that are temporarily satisfying, distracting, and eventually overwhelming. This might be gambling as well as opiates. It might be spending. It might even be sex.
No one that I know, and I have known dozens of heroin addicts - no one who really wanted to kick it failed to do so. Many fell back for the same reasons that they fell in the first place. Heroin withdrawal is, I would agree, exaggerated. Pulmonary edema isn't.
There are, incidentally, two drug classes withdrawal from which can cause death. Heroin isn't one of them. Alcohol and barbiturates are. I stopped counseling for unrelated reasons before the methamphetamine phenomenon came along and so cannot speak with any experience in that regard, but I did deal with two PCP users, and the damage done to them by that drug was no illusion - they were no longer quite human. Frightening stuff.
No other comment beside that - this is a matter I'm going to have to give some thought to. I won't say Dalrymple is right...yet...but I've seldom known him to be wrong.