According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were 213,000 heroin users aged 12 or older in the United States in the month prior to the survey. Heroin is a highly addictive depressant that many use in attempt to take away physical and/or mental pain, others purely enjoy the effects. It is said to be one of the hardest drugs to quit once addicted, as well as one of the most destructive drugs effecting the users way of life and health. Today there are more heroin users that snort the drug in its pure form, they do this as a way to avoid the infectious diseases associated with injecting the drug. Although as their addiction progresses they often find themselves injecting the drug for fast acting effects.
Heroin is an opiod drug synthesized from morphine, a derivative of the opium poppy. It is a depressant that affects the brain’s pleasure systems and interferes with the brain’s ability to perceive pain. Heroin can be injected into the vain or muscle, smoked or snorted. The way it enters into the body determines the intensity of the effects as well as the time experienced. Heroin is used as a recreational drug for the intense euphoria and transcendent relaxation it induces. A tolerance to the drug develops rather quickly, requiring larger doses to reach the desired effects. Regular use of Heroin often results in a physical dependence, the user is addicted, craving the drug 24-7. When stopping use of the drug the addict will experience withdrawal symptoms that can be so unbearable that they will do anything for their next high.
- Intravenous use of heroin puts the user at risk of contracting blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis, abscesses, as well as bacterial or fungal endocarditis and possibly venous sclerosis.
- Contaminants added to “cut” or diluted heroin puts the user at risk of poisoning.
- The depression of the central nervous system cause delayed and clouded mental function, slowed and slurred speech, constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired night vision, vomiting, constipation.
- Decreased kidney function
- Overdose, which is often fatal
Withdrawal symptoms may begin within 6 to 24 hours of discontinuation of heroin, depending on the amount last used and the degree of tolerance. These withdrawal symptoms often deter the addict from quitting heroin “cold turkey” requiring the assistance of a treatment facility to be successful.
- Feeling of heaviness
- Camping pains in the limbs
- Excessive yawning, sneezing or tears
- Cold Sweats and chills
- Muscle and bone aches
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps
Heroin Addiction Treatment
Heroin is one of the hardest drugs to quit “cold turkey”, the majority of the time the addict requires the assistance of an Heroin Addiction Treatment Program. The first step in recovery is to admit there is a problem and seek help. When contacting an Heroin Addiction Treatment facility you will go through an assessment process to determine the right treatment program for your addiction. The withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings are so severe with heroin that a non-addictive medication such as Methadone will be used to help ease the discomfort, this medication can be used long term depending on the severity of the addiction. Going through the detoxification process you will be carefully monitored by Doctors and staff to insure your safety. Therapy will help you get to the cause of your addiction as well as help you relearn how to live a sober lifestyle. The staff working with you will be empathetic towards your situation, they understand the way you feel and what you have been through with this life altering addiction. With there help you can regain control of your life, mend relationships and get things back in order so you can live a more fulfilling life free of heroin.