Heroin use and addiction are on the rise in the United States. It’s partly due to an inadvertent consequence of certain new governmental policies designed to combat the opioid crisis. Most states have passed laws that are intended to even more tightly restrict the prescribing and supply of prescription opioid drugs. When people are trapped in the pit of opioid drug addiction, they will do almost anything to get their drug of choice. This includes substituting heroin for their usual prescription drug if it’s no
longer available to them. Many current heroin users are also former prescription opioid users. Black market heroin is plentiful, strong, cheap and easily available just about anywhere.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
● Needle marks located near a vein
● Withdrawal symptoms when the drug isn't available
● Loss of a job
● Loss of interest in family, hobbies and friends
● Lack of basic grooming
● Wearing long sleeves and pants in hot weather
● Always being broke
● Things of value are disappearing
● Pinpoint pupils
Heroin causes constipation in almost everyone who uses it. That’s because the drug acts on special opioid receptor sites in the intestines. Some people also experience nausea, vomiting, sweating and itching, but these tend to disappear with continued drug use. Heroin, like all opioids, can kill by depressing the brain’s breathing center. This effect can be reversed by rescue antidote drugs like naloxone, also known as Narcan. If administered in time, Narcan saves lives.
Dangers of Injecting Heroin
Injection of heroin is very dangerous for other reasons, too. Because it’s not sterile, it contains bacteria. Bacteria injected into a vein can cause endocarditis, a life-threatening infection of the heart valves. The bacteria can result in septicemia, an infection of the bloodstream. If left untreated, this condition is often fatal.
Much of the nation’s heroin supply is contaminated with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid at least 30 times stronger than heroin. Dealers add fentanyl to augment both effect and profit. Many heroin users have died because they didn’t realize that what they thought was their usual dose actually contained a fatal amount of fentanyl. There is no way to tell just by looking if this drug is there or not. Depending upon the user’s tolerance level, as little as two to three milligrams can kill. This is about the same as a
few grains of salt or sugar.
Clinical Treatment of Heroin Addiction
Modern detox methods will greatly help to relieve the anxiety, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, diarrhea, sweating, hot and cold flashes, depression, joint, muscle and bone pain and restless leg syndrome associated with heroin withdrawal.
Detox medications include:
● Muscle relaxants
● Beta blockers like clonidine
Depending on your needs, these medications can be used to bring you through the withdrawal process with a minimum of discomfort. Doses are then gradually reduced as you begin your counseling and drug addiction treatment.
After going through the clinical detox of heroin addiction and being cleared by a physician, help is available. We would like to help you with your addiction recovery. Our center offers programs that give you the tools you will need to maintain your sobriety and avoid relapse in the long term so you can be “Recovered for Life” — the goal of all of our programs at Any Length Retreat and our Sober Living homes.
Why Heroin Addiction Is Difficult to Overcome On Your Own
Heroin is an opiate that is produced from the opium poppy, a flower which is found in various parts of the world and is also one of the most addicting drugs that exists. With nearly 16,000 overdose-related deaths in 2017 with this number steadily climbing, it’s apparent that heroin is also a very deadly one.
Many addicts have at one point been presented with the thought of, “I could try this once and not get addicted.” soon to be followed with their first experience with heroin and no turning back. The reason for this is due to the flood of dopamine that occurs in the brain when using heroin; a rush that many might say is the most blissful and euphoric feeling that you could possibly experience. After associating this feeling with repeated use, not only does a severe habit form, but the brain also begins to respond differently. It begins to greatly exhaust itself and dampen the response from the dopamine you feel from heroin; causing users to repeatedly return back to the drug which means that more heroin is required in order to feel anything similar to the first high that was felt. To extend on this, because of the constant surges of dopamine being released into the brain it makes it near impossible to feel any sort of pleasure that you might have been used to. Heroin addicts have a hard time feeling any sort of satisfaction from even the things that they might have once felt satisfaction from.
Those who use heroin for extended amounts of time find that it becomes harder and harder to disassociate themselves from the drug while coming to a point that their life strictly revolves around chasing their next high — having a negative impact on other aspects of life such as relationships, employment, and recreational activities. A number of addicts would describe heroin addiction as something that is bittersweet to them: even under the influence and having that sense of tranquility from heroin, it’s still a major realization that life has become unmanageable. The constant feeling of helplessness from heroin addiction is emotionally draining and exhausting. When pairing this feeling with withdrawal symptoms from heroin use, it can certainly feel like the world is ending and there’s no hope.
Withdrawals from sustained use are another reason as to why a heroin addict chooses to return back to the drug endlessly as the extreme feeling of discomfort and being “dope sick” is something that is difficult to withstand for any period of time. Some of the many symptoms include vomiting, cold sweats, restlessness, nausea, depression, muscle spasms, agitation and pain throughout the body. For a true heroin addict, it’s recommended that this person seeks help through a treatment center to be provided with a solution to come clean and return back to a life that they desire to live. It’s important to understand and know that it is possible to recover from heroin addiction — that there is hope.