Heroin remains one of the most-abused substances in the United States, with many governors declaring a state of emergency within their borders in an effort to get more public funding to combat the assault on human lives.

How Did Widespread Heroin Use Happen?

Shifts in heroin use are now widespread across multiple demographics, as more people have fallen victim to opioid addiction. Recent tightening of federal laws served as a watchdog on the medical community, putting a spotlight on their responsibility in the alarming rate of opioid use.

In response, physicians had to reduce or stop writing refills for medications. Many of their patients who were taking opioid pills or tablets for pain were suddenly cut off.

Due to the nature of these drugs and the high associated rate of addiction, many suffered through the withdrawal process unaware of the severity of their addiction. To seek relief from the physical and psychological effects of unsupervised detox as well as the rising cost of prescription drugs, many turned to heroin use – with grave consequences.

Why Heroin Is More Dangerous Now than Before

Heroin use is different than alcohol or marijuana intake. Its effects on the body and brain can quickly create dependency, leading to addiction. But what’s even more dangerous is the recent introduction of synthetic additives to heroin, which can cause overdose and death from a single use.

Synthetic heroin can include:

  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl
  • Tramadol
  • Pethidine

Because it’s known as a street drug, finding “clean” heroin can be challenging, near impossible and usually not even considered. Users in a desperate state, looking for their next fix, will go to great lengths to fulfill their need. With the onslaught of synthetic forms of heroin, mortality rates are up.

In some parts of the country, the opioid epidemic has led to so many cases of heroin abuse that health agencies and emergency services have been armed with more life-saving training and tools to meet the demand. First responders carry ample amounts of the drug naloxone, which can reverse an overdose. Unfortunately, heroin use continues to rise, and users are at risk of overdosing multiple times.

What Are the Signs and Effects of Heroin Abuse?

Know the Signs of Heroin Abuse

As the body and brain become more dependent on heroin, the user needs more and more of the drug to maintain that same level of euphoria. But with each use, the dose or the drug potency must be increased, leading to more risks.

In order to avoid the cravings and painful withdrawal symptoms of heroin abuse, users will base all their decision-making on how, when and where they can get and use more heroin.

The Number of Drug Poisoning Deaths Involving Heroin Statistic Infographic

Risky behaviors include:

  • Using dirty IV needles
  • Sharing IV needles
  • Trespassing
  • Stealing
  • Violence against others

The potential health effects of long-term heroin use include:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Arthritis
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart lining infections
  • Heart valve infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Collapsed veins
  • Abscesses
  • Sexual dysfunction

Never Detox from Heroin Alone

The strength of heroin alters body chemistry to an unhealthy imbalance. During detoxification, the body goes into shock as it consistently attempts to realign itself. Through the process, painful withdrawal symptoms occur, further comprising the safety and well-being of the user.

Without proper medical supervision and care, there is a high probability for relapsing into heroin use again – in fact, a 90 percent rate of relapse within the first week of detox. If you’re serious about heroin addiction treatment and recovery, Addiction Treatment Services has answers.

Getting Help with Finding Heroin Addiction Treatment

During the initial phase of heroin addiction treatment, the body begins to release toxins that have built up over time with each use. Although painful physical and emotional symptoms can be felt for days or weeks, this is how the body heals. We then recommend inpatient residential treatment to overcome heroin addiction and rebuild one’s life.

There are medications available to help reduce the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, and these are usually other types of opioids, meant for short-term use only. However, we recommend avoiding these maintenance drugs, if possible.

Addiction Treatment Services can help put you in touch with accredited treatment professionals and facilities that are successful in helping people quit heroin use to enjoy living healthier and happier than ever before.

To better understand the heroin detox, treatment and recovery options available to you – and how your insurance might cover the treatment – look no further than Addiction Treatment Services.  We’re here to inform. We’re here to help.

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