A highly addictive opiate and a schedule II substance, heroin is one of the most dangerous illicit substances on the black market of drug abuse; it is also acquired by extremely precarious means, and its contents are often unpredictable, including other drugs of lesser value and lethal nature to peddle to the buyer. The possession and use of heroin are illegal in all 50 states. Although many will never escape the grips of heroin, it is possible to recover and there is hope. The best chance of recovery is through a professional medical detox and heroin treatment program.
Heroin addiction is extremely dangerous due to its highly addictive nature as well as the fact that it carries a high risk of overdosing or contracting a communicable disease.
How is Heroin Used?
In multiple manners: this includes inhalation, insufflation, and injection. As addiction to heroin progresses, an individual tends to prefer IV use, which has its myriad risks unto itself. This method is preferred because injections provide direct entry to the bloodstream and near-immediate effects are felt. In order to inject heroin, the substance is melted and injected intravenously using a syringe.
What came first, heroin or prescription opioids?
People who are prescribed opioid pain medication and develop a dependence may turn to heroin as a cheaper and possibly stronger option. In fact, nearly 80 percent of heroin users have partaken in prior abuse of prescription opioids.
Heroin use and prescription opioid abuse are often intertwined as these drugs all have a similar effect on the brain and body. If someone uses one form of opioid, there is a great risk they will end up using another, stronger opioid.
Individuals who use heroin and were not previously prescribed pain pills may consume prescription opioids at some point, however, they are likely to have received them via illegal means. When it comes to commonplace drug abuse, data does suggest that heroin is the first opioid many people use. One report documented that about a 3rd of users turned to heroin first.
Effects of Heroin Use
Immediate effects of heroin use are that of an extreme and euphoric high. Side effects include dry mouth, flushed skin, increased body temperature, and the individual’s arms and legs will often feel heavy. In addition, there is also an accompaniment of nausea, vomiting, and itching. Short term effects that often present in the hours following use include drowsiness, compromised judgment and mental capacity, slowed heart rate, and labored breathing.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
There are treatments abound for heroin addiction. Medications such as vivitrol, methadone, Subutex, and Suboxone allow an individual to be weaned off of heroin without the full withdrawal effects or can serve as a deterrent from relapse. Medication-assisted treatment is controversial as these medications are often addictive in themselves, yet not lethal and they are predictable in their effects, unlike heroin. Obviously, the ideal treatment option is complete abstinence using a program of recovery. This is a difficult route, as heroin detox can be very uncomfortable and triggers severe cravings. However, getting clean is the ultimate goal and this is the preferred route for many.
At Level Up Treatment West Palm Beach, we specialize in creating an ideal environment and we strive diligently to provide effective therapy to help heroin addicts through their recovery. Our aim is to develop a personalized treatment plan and lead you to long-term sobriety, to live a happy, peaceful life.