The Deadliest and Most Immediate Addiction Threat in America
Heroin use has been an unfortunate reality in the United States for a very long time. Although many regard the 1970s as the drug’s most dominant period, the past decade has seen an explosion in use, and it just keeps getting worse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Prevention (CDC) report that heroin-related overdoses have quadrupled since 2002, with over 8,200 deaths in 2013 alone. The Gardens at Lake Worth, a Florida Drug Rehab Center, is here to help!
While many think of heroin as a drug that’s only abused in urban areas, it has managed to make its way into every area of the country, from farms to cities to suburbs. Last year, the US Attorney General officially declared heroin to be a public health crisis.
Not looking for information on Heroin Addiction? See our “Addiction” page for more.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is a powerful and addictive opiate which is extracted from the seeds of the opium poppy plant. There are several types of heroin, including pure white, brown and black tar. The types of heroin differ based on the refining process, with white usually being the purest product. It is ordinarily mixed or “cut” with another substance, such as sugar or starch Heroin can either be smoked, snorted or injected. Heroin addicts typically start out by snorting the drug and move on to injecting or “shooting” the drug once their problem gets more severe.
One of the more dangerous things about heroin is the fact that its contents vary greatly from batch to batch. While all heroin can be deadly, the amount of the drug actually included in any bag makes it difficult for users to control how much they are getting, and easy to overdose as a result.
Heroin is known by a variety of street names, including:
- Mexican Brown
Understanding Heroin Addiction
During the past twenty-five years, the country has experienced an explosion in prescription painkiller addiction. More and more Americans are becoming addicted to powerful opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. In the past five years, the government has started cracking down on these pills and physicians that dispense them. Opioid painkillers and heroin produce almost identical effects. When pills became harder to come by because of the crack-down, many of those hooked on them move onto heroin.
Heroin addiction is considered to be one of the most serious chemical dependency problems because of the strength and speed with which addiction takes hold. Prolonged and untreated heroin abuse can lead to many long-term health problems, including:
- Pulmonary illness (pneumonia, tuberculosis, etc.)
- Heart disease and cardiac arrest
- Severe intestinal distress
- Collapsed veins from injections
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- HIV/AIDs or Hepatitis (from contaminated needles)
- Bacterial infections
- Liver and kidney disease
- Infectious diseases
Without proper treatment for heroin addiction, it may very well kill you.
Managing Heroin Withdrawal
Heroin users tend to experience withdrawal symptoms very quickly after they start using, sometimes after just a few times. Withdrawal from heroin physically difficulty and usually requires medical supervision. Symptoms often include:
- Head and body aches
- Extreme changes in body temperature
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Shaking and convulsions
- Impaired breathing
The level and duration of heroin withdrawal depends on how much, how long and how often the person has been using.
Recognizing the Signs of Heroin Abuse
When a person has been abusing heroin long enough, the problem becomes more obvious. For most users, the drug takes over to the point that they don’t even care about hiding the symptoms. Some of the classic signs of heroin abuse include:
- Severe weight loss
- Track marks on the skin (near the injection sites)
- Dilated pupils
- Flushed skin
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Neglecting appearance and hygiene
It’s also common for heroin users to start spending their time with people that use heroin as well, and lose interest in all other areas of their lives.
The Clock Is Ticking
If you or someone you care about is using heroin (or cocaine), contact The Gardens at Lake Worth today at 844-357-3422. Our admissions coordinators are standing by to answer any of your questions and get you into heroin treatment.