Heroin has quickly become one of the most abused substances in America. The demographics of heroin addiction has changed from older, minority males in urban areas to now encompass men and women, young and old, rich and poor, regardless of location or racial make-up.
The explosion of heroin addiction in our country is largely attributed to the previous leap in prescription painkiller addiction and abuse. The natural progression of an opiate addiction, through tolerance and economics, is to find something cheaper, stronger and easier to obtain. Heroin fits this description.
The skyrocketing heroin addiction statistics has also led to a tragic number of deaths caused by overdose. From neighborhood teenagers to beloved celebrities, heroin abuse and addiction has claimed far too many lives.
The reaction to the heroin problem in America has grabbed the attention of media outlets, community organizations and lawmakers alike. Recent efforts to reduce the impact of the problem include implementing Good Samaritan Laws, providing first responders with naloxone to reverse an overdose and providing more funding for addiction treatment programs.
Heroin users quickly become dependent and then addicted to the drug. Inpatient treatment is recommended for heroin addicts, which starts with a medically-supervised detoxification then can last potentially several weeks or months.
Users initially use heroin to get a euphoric feeling, also called a “high.” Heroin can be smoked, snorted or injected directly into a vein. As the body becomes dependent on having the drug, a heroin user needs more and more of the drug, and can’t stop taking the drug without having serious and extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. A heroin addict’s life is focused completely around obtaining and using the drug.
Heroin addicts don’t know exactly how much of the drug they are getting when they obtain it on the street, so overdoses are possible, and death from heroin overdose is common.
Long-term effects of heroin include abscesses from using dirty needles, highly increased risk of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C, and infections of the heart lining and valves. Many long-term heroin addicts have severe health problems.
Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Medical management of symptoms after the drug is no longer available is the first important step in a heroin addiction rehab program. This drying out period helps manage the painful physical and emotional symptoms as well as prepares a recovering addict for the hard work in the rest of their rehab program. There are short-term medications that can be used to help reduce the severity of the withdrawal symptoms.
Unlike many programs, we recommend trying to steer clear of maintenance drugs as part of the rehabilitation process, if possible. We can help put you in touch with treatment professionals and facilities that are successful in helping people quit using heroin without having to take replacement drugs like methadone or Suboxone for extended periods of time.
Addiction Treatment Services is here to help you find the best treatment and rehab options for your heroin addiction. Call us, we’re here to help.