Heroin is one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs on the planet, and it also is at the center of the rising drug epidemic that has gripped the country. Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that heroin use in the United States has increased 63 percent between 2002 and 2013, and heroin-related overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled over that same time period. In 2013, an estimated 517,000 people had reported heroin use in the last year and more than 8,200 people died of a heroin-related overdose in the same year.
Once a drug that was associated with urban areas, heroin has spread to all parts of society and the current face of heroin addiction is young and white. No matter what the socioeconomic background, family background, age, race, or culture, heroin addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer of lives. For those who find themselves struggling with heroin addiction, finding a quality Florida heroin addiction treatment center is an immediate priority.
As one of the premier drug rehab facilities in Florida, Ocean Breeze Recovery Center provides the treatment programming and a continuum of care that addresses heroin addiction in the mind, body and the spirit. Contact us toll-free at 1-855-960-5341 to learn more.
Heroin is a versatile drug and can be administered in a number of ways. Users most often inject heroin intravenously and the effects of the drug are almost immediate. Those who use heroin can also snort or smoke it in a pipe or through the use of foil. There are also additional methods that can be utilized to administer the drug.
For instance, users may engage in a process called speedballing in which both cocaine and heroin are injected into the bloodstream. Speedballing is a particularly dangerous form of polydrug use that often results in overdose deaths. In some cases, speedballing incorporates benzodiazepines, a central nervous system depressant that is incredibly dangerous when mixed with opioids like heroin.
No matter the method of administration, the initial effects of heroin include a surge of sensation which is often described as a rush and may be accompanied by a warm feeling of euphoria. Sometimes, the initial reaction after the administration of heroin can include severe itching. After these initial effects fade, the user becomes drowsy for several hours. The basic body functions such as breathing and heartbeat slow down. Other effects can include hypothermia, clouded mental functioning and, if the user overdoses, coma, or death.
One of the most common causes of medical emergencies and death during opioid overdose is respiratory depression. This is a medical term that refers to the slowing down or stopping of your lungs and breathing during and opioid overdose. However, the cause and mechanisms of opioid-induced respiratory depression is poorly understood. While there are a number of theories, there is no conclusive evidence to prove any one cause.
One thing that seems evident; however, is the fact that opioid-induced respiratory depression has less to do with the lungs and more to do with the brain. Your brain controls the rhythm of your breathing and even your feeling that you need to breathe. These automatic functions are controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which may be affected by opioids. A prevailing theory is that opioids interrupt the brain’s normal ability to detect the buildup of carbon dioxide in your body and trigger a breath.
If you experience this symptom during an overdose, you will feel like your urge to breathe is lowered. Breaths may come as deep inhales followed heavy sighs and long periods in between. Respiratory depression is actually a fairly common side effect of opioid use and can occur with even smaller doses. However, most people wouldn’t notice mild effects. A moderate dose may produce noticeable effects that aren’t yet uncomfortable. With a heavy dose, dangerous levels of respiratory depression can begin that lead to confusion, hypoxia, seizures, headaches, and death.
Regarding longer-term effects of heroin use, frequent injections of the drug can cause the veins to collapse and from that collapse, infections of the blood vessels and heart valves can occur. Diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis C, and AIDS are seen in greater frequency with people with heroin addiction. It is estimated that 35,000 new cases of hepatitis C2 infections are reported in the United States each year. Hepatitis C2 is responsible for the formation and progression of liver disease. Other long-term effects can include the following:
Heroin was once used for medicinal purposes but it has since been replaced by more effective opioids. Heroin is an incredibly addictive drug that is currently the backbone of the opioid epidemic. Many opioid addictions start by people taking and abusing commonly prescribed opioids. In the majority of cases, people who abuse opioids start by getting them illegally from friends and family and then on the street. When pills become too expensive to maintain, people may switch to heroin. But, the growth of people beginning with heroin and skipping pain pills altogether is concerning.
Heroin, like other opioids, causes an overwhelming euphoric effect along with other pain relieving and relaxation symptoms. It can cause chemical dependence after some regular use, as your brain begins to adjust to the increased activity of opioid receptors. Agonized (activated) opioid receptors are responsible for the pain relief, relaxation, and euphoria you feel. The brain eventually builds a tolerance to heroin and attempts to balance brain chemistry. If you suddenly stop using heroin, your brain chemistry will become radically unbalanced and go into withdrawal.
The euphoric effects also reinforce your reward center to crave opioids, leading to psychological addiction as well. This can last for a long time, even after you’ve detoxed from the drug.
Within hours after the drug effects have decreased, the addicted person’s body begins to crave more. If the user does not get another fix, they will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms can include restlessness, aches and pains in the bones, diarrhea, vomiting, and severe discomfort. The intense high a user seeks lasts only a few minutes. With continued and chronic use, the heroin user needs increasing amounts of heroin just to feel normal.
For those people who wish to quit heroin, they may think they can quit on their own through the use of homemade detox remedies or feel that can quit the drug “cold turkey”. These methods of self-detoxification are highly risky and can be extremely dangerous. The withdrawal symptoms experienced with heroin are extremely powerful, and the severity of these symptoms often drive people back to active use. Among the withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin include the following:
Because of the nature of heroin withdrawals, finding professional help from a Florida heroin addiction treatment center such as Ocean Breeze Recovery Center is vital. When you or a loved one choose Ocean Breeze to address your heroin addiction, you will follow an intense and structured treatment program that is made up of the following essential steps:
In order to minimize the potential danger of the withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin, you must first undergo medical detoxification. During the detox process, staff will administer medications such as Suboxone and utilize other interventions in a safe and highly supervised environment. Additionally, experienced treatment staff will also conduct a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose any co-occurring mental or physical illness that may impede the recovery process. If the event that a co-occurring disorder is discovered, treatment staff can create an initial treatment plan that will address those specific issues.
Once you are stable and substance-free, you are able to start our residential-based inpatient drug rehab program. Highly structured and intense in nature, our Florida heroin addiction treatment program can be individually tailored from a wide variety of treatment services such as individual and group therapy, life and coping skills training, and other essential treatment services. During this phase, you will gain the tools, encouragement, and support you need to overcome addiction to heroin.
To give you the added support and encouragement you need as you leave formal drug treatment, aftercare programs such as outpatient drug rehab and sober living are highly recommended. These treatment options will help you understand the triggers and other factors that can lead to relapse, and you can continue to master the life and coping skills that are needed to deal with cravings and urges to use in a constructive manner without reverting back to drug use.
Don’t wait another day to address your heroin addiction. Call Ocean Breeze Recovery Center toll-free today at 1-855-960-5341 and make the commitment to your health and happiness.
Time. (2015, July 7) Heroin Use in U.S. Reaches Epidemic Levels. Sifferlin, A. Retrieved from https://time.com/3946904/heroin-epidemic/
NIDA. (2018, June 8). Heroin. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin
World Health Organization. (2018 August) Management of substance abuse. Information sheet on opioid overdose. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/substance_abuse/information-sheet/en/
Hippokratia. (2009, October-December) Hepatitis C and liver transplantation Tsoulfas,G.; Goulis,I.;Giakoustidis, D.;Akriviadis, E.; Agorastou, P.; G Imvrios, G.; Papanikolaou, V. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776333/
Addictive Behavior. (2017, November 7) Increased use of heroin as an initiating opioid of abuse. Cicero TJ, Ellis MS, Kasper ZA. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28582659/