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Heroin

A dangerous drug that won’t disappear

Heroin Addiction

Relatively cheap to produce and deadly in both pure and impure forms, heroin was developed as a replacement for morphine addiction in the late 1800s. Within 40 years of being touted at a cure-all, heroin was banned, along with cocaine, in the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act. Today it is not only illegal but has no legitimate medical use.

What Is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin’s appeal is the surge of euphoria someone feels as it binds to opioid receptors in the brain. It relieves pain and causes sleepiness as breathing is depressed and the heart rate is slowed. In the case of an overdose, respiration and heart rate slow to dangerous levels and can lead to a coma or even permanent brain damage.

There’s no way around it: Heroin, derived from a natural opiate, is highly addictive. It’s so incredibly potent and has such severe side effects that withdrawal is extremely painful. And that’s why, despite someone’s best intentions, it’s not a habit that’s easy to kick without intervention.

Negative Effects of Heroin

Heroin affects normal bodily functions in substantial ways. Not only does it alter how breathing and heart rate are controlled and weaken heart valves, but it can reinforce the need for the drug by altering activity in the body’s limbic system. It also can block pain messages transmitted through the spinal cord from the body, and short-term reactions often include dry mouth, a heavy feeling in the extremities, nausea, vomiting, and severe itching. The amount of heroin used, not to mention how quickly it activates opioid receptors, plays a significant role in how the body responds.

When heroin is injected, often the quickest method to feeling its effects, there’s an increased risk of infection and disease due to sharing needles. Not surprisingly, HIV and Hepatitis A, B, and C have been spread through dirty needles.

Heroin by the Numbers

  • In 2018 alone, 128 people died in the United States every day from an opioid overdose, which included heroin. The overdoses didn’t distinguish between rich and poor, young and old, red states or blue states, suburban dwellers or residents of a small town.
  • Only a year before, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that nearly half a million people in the United States are current heroin users. A fraction of that group were adolescents — with the majority of users, approximately 390,000, 26 years or older.
  • According to studies from the Centers for Disease Control, people who start using opiates in pill form are 40 times more likely to struggle with heroin addiction later on.
  • According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), heroin withdrawal symptoms are severe, with the worst happening between 48-72 hours after the last use.
  • In 2018’s Monitoring the Future Survey, it was shown that teens perceive heroin as high-risk and gravitate toward prescription opioids. However, misuse of prescription opioids can be a gateway to heroin use.

There’s no way around it: Heroin, derived from a natural opiate, is highly addictive. It’s so incredibly potent and has such severe side effects that withdrawal is extremely painful. And that’s why, despite someone’s best intentions, it’s not a habit that’s easy to kick without intervention.

Signs of Heroin Abuse

• Flushed skin
• Frequent sedation and/or drowsiness
• Financial troubles (inability to pay rent, mounting debt, regularly borrowing money from family or friends) that centers around obtaining heroin
• Mood swings
• Frequent respiration infections
• Itching and/or picking of the skin
• Slowed heart rate after the initial rush
• Weight loss
• Garbled or incoherent speech
• Track marks on the arm(s)

Help for Heroin Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin addiction, we’re here for you. Instead of a quick fix, our compassionate team of experts at The Meadows is waiting to help you begin your journey toward long-term recovery that focuses on the whole person by addressing any underlying mental health conditions that may be perpetuating the abuse of heroin.

Schedule a Call

Admissions

Our Admissions team is here to help 24 hours a day and is experienced in assisting others with compassion, dignity, and respect — hallmark values of The Meadows for more than 40 years. The Meadows’ Admissions Specialists are here to help you on your way to a healthier and more productive lifestyle. When you call, they will lead you through a series of questions to determine if The Meadows is a good fit, and how soon your treatment can begin. If you are interested in The Meadows for yourself or a loved one, call or fill out an admissions form today!

If you are interested in The Meadows for yourself or a loved one call or fill out an admissions form today!

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