Heroin (Diacetylmorphine) is a morphine alkaloid contained in opium. It is twice as strong as morphine, and is a highly addictive substance. It is highly addictive and can cause a number of health problems. Overdoses can cause permanent damage to the body and in some cases, death.
If you or a loved one are currently addicted to this drug, please contact Drug Rehab Columbia at (803) 234-4123 to learn about your treatment options or for information on where you can find a treatment center.
Heroin use has been increasing throughout the United States, especially within the last decade. One reason for the increase in the popularity of this drug is mentioned in a report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). The report indicated that "heroin has now replaced prescription opiates which are becoming increasingly difficult to come by."
Other reasons that explain the popularity of this drug are noted as it being easy to get, and that it is cheap. Heroin has become a known "party drug," and is readily available on campuses nationwide, as well as easily found on the street. Opiate drug use has also increased due to the fact that current versions have a higher level of purity which allows users to get the same results from smoking and snorting as they would by injecting.
Tolerance to this drug develops quickly, and in order for users to experience the same euphoric rush and sense of well-being, use increases. Heroin reverts to morphine once it goes to the brain. It then binds to opioid receptor molecules and blocks the perception of pain, increasing the effects in the reward center in the brain. Opiate cravings are very intense. It has also been said that cravings will continue for years after use has ended.
This drug is normally sold in powder form. Pure heroin is cut with other substances such as powdered milk, sugar, starch, and deadly substances such quinine and even the poison strychnine. This drug is most often cut with other drugs such as fentanyl. These potentially lethal drugs in combination with heroin are responsible for overdose and rising deaths all across the country.
Heroin has most commonly been used by injection. The injection method creates the most intense effect. However, due to the newer samples that are more pure it is becoming easier to also snort, smoke, be taken orally, and used in the form of a suppository.
Opiate abuse damages many organs and systems throughout the body. Some effects will subside after withdrawal and detoxification, but others may be permanent. Diseases such as liver disease and kidney disease are seen in addition to other effects. Memory loss is common. Infections and abscesses, diseased gums, a weakened immune system, and respiratory illness plague addicts.
Addiction is treated by a wide range of therapies such as behavioral therapy, pharmacological treatment, psychological counseling, group sessions, individual counseling, family counseling and more. Treatment for heroin addiction is available on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Addiction to opiates may actually be best treated by a mixture of inpatient, residential, and outpatient methods.
The withdrawal and detoxification process can potentially be life-threatening and may be better achieved as an inpatient client. A residential drug rehab program that allows the patient to live in a supervised living situation with other recovering addicts may be the next step considered, followed by a medically supervised outpatient program. The duration of recovery is a long-term process.
Medications that aid in the treatment include: