Heroin (diacetylmorphine) is a morphine alkaloid contained in opium. It has twice the strength of Morphine. Due to its powerful effects, heroin addiction is on the rise. It is a potent substance and is classified as a schedule I controlled substance. Due to its abuse and recreational use, heroin addiction is a major problem affecting users today.
If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction there are treatment options available at Chandler Drug Treatment Centers. Call (602) 358-2954 today for more information.
The two biggest reasons for the popularity and the increase in heroin addiction are that it is easy to get, and that it is a cheap high. Recently, it has become a known “party drug.” It is readily available on campuses nationwide and is easily found on the street. Its popularity has also increased because the 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.
Heroin reverts to morphine once it goes to the brain. It then binds to opioid receptor molecules, blocks the perception of pain, and increases the effect of the reward center in the brain. There is a euphoric rush associated with use. It is very addictive and tolerance to the drug develops quickly, so in order for users to experience the same “rush” and sense of well-being, their use increases. Cravings for the substance are very intense. It has also been said that cravings will continue for years after use has been suspended.
Normally it is sold as a white or brownish powder, and is bitter tasting. Pure heroin is cut with other substances such as powdered milk, sugar, starch, and deadly substances such as quinine and even the poison strychnine. It is also routinely cut with other drugs.
It is 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, taken orally, and used in the form of a suppository.
In addition to the euphoric surge, users experience a warm flushing, dry mouth, and the sensation of their limbs being very heavy. The drug strongly impacts the central nervous system, depresses mental functions and causes confused thinking. Periods of wakefulness and drowsiness are also effects commonly seen in use.
Treatment for heroin addiction covers 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 may actually be best treated by a mixture of inpatient, residential and outpatient methods. The withdrawal and detox process can be potentially life-threatening and may be better achieved as an inpatient; followed by a medically supervised outpatient program. A residential addiction recovery program that allows the patient to live in a supervised living situation with other recovering addicts may also be considered.
Heroin damages many systems throughout the body. Some effects will be alleviated 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, respiratory illness also plague addicts.