Heroin and Opiate Addiction
Here at Recovery Ways, we are experienced in providing heroin addiction treatment to patients of all ages and backgrounds. Our staff is comprised of Masters level clinicians who are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality care and treatment. Unlike many other facilities, we are licensed to administer individualized Suboxone treatment plans that will aid with the heroin addiction treatment process.
Heroin is a potent illicit opiate drug with one of the most infamous reputations. Opiates come from opium which is derived from the poppy plant. All opiates are highly addictive painkillers. Heroin is usually made by synthesizing morphine, codeine or other natural opiates. According to the National Center for Health, 4 out of 5 new heroin users started out misusing prescription pain relievers. The rate of heroin overdose showed an average increase of 37% per year from 2010 – 2013.
It is a well-known fact that the earlier in life someone begins to abuse a substance, the more likely it is that the substance abuse will progress to a critical stage. A 2010 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse revealed that the average age of first-time heroin users is around 21 years old. This study also revealed that 140,000 of the people participating in the survey used heroin for their first time within one year prior to the study. These astonishing results show that many Americans are suffering from heroin addiction and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) considers this an unprecedented opioid epidemic. The Center for Disease Control stated there were 10, 574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014.
Dangers of Heroin Addiction
Heroin is one of the most dangerous and most addictive drugs available. It activates the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, dopamine, and endorphins. These chemicals are naturally released but when heroin enters the system, the brain learns to associate the drug with these chemicals making the user rely on Heroin to experience the “feel-good” chemicals or even “normal.” The intense high or “rush” that the user feels/seeks lasts only a few minutes. With continued use the user needs increasing amounts of the drug to feel “normal”, and can cause a slue of other debilitating heroin addiction symptoms. The chemical link along with the difficult and extremely painful withdrawal symptoms of heroin makes it one of the hardest drugs for a user to quit on their own. Withdrawal from heroin is so painful and difficult people have been rushed to emergency room for severe pain life-threatening symptoms. These symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, chills, involuntary movements, insomnia, depression, and muscle and bone aches. Heroin detox & withdrawal can be fatal to an unborn baby, and pregnant women who want to get sober are maintained on a dose of methadone to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
While it may be an inexpensive drug, addicts can spend hundreds of dollars a day on the habit. Heroin can be smoked, sniffed, or injected (which increases the risk for HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C, and other infections).
Common names for Heroin
In its purest form, it is presented as a fine, white, powder. However, it is more often found to be a rose gray, brown, or black color due to the additives used to dilute it. It can be diluted with sugar, caffeine, powdered milk, starch, or even “cut” with other poisons. Some additives do not fully dissolve when they are injected into the body and can clog blood vessels that lead to the lungs, kidneys, brain, or other vital organs. Because of the additives, users buying heroin on the streets can never be sure of the strength of the drug, which constantly puts them at a risk of an overdose. If a person overdoses on Heroin, their breathing and heart rate will slow, their lips and fingertips will turn blue, their skin will be cold and clammy, and they may suffer convulsions or go into a coma. Street names can reflect the color, texture, and other factors about the heroin.