Heroin addiction has experienced a resurgence in recent years due to its affordability and accessibility, as well as its close similarity to prescription opioids. Synthesized from morphine, the drug takes literally no time at all to catch the user in an addictive web in which they essentially play Russian roulette with their lives. While the US may have one of the largest concentration of heroin addicts, with some estimates citing over a million heroin users, other countries and other cultures of people have seen heroin addiction rise in recent years as well.
Heroin is often mixed or “cut” with other ordinarily benign substances, although heroin abuse in its purest form is becoming increasingly common. It is not uncommon for users to graduate to heroin from other drugs. They will start taking heroin and experience immediate euphoria. Use will continue in an effort to experience that same feeling. Since the feeling is rarely emulated, users up their dose. Before they know it, they’re addicted and caught in a dangerous and costly pattern of behavior.
Heroin can be injected, smoked, or snorted – though injection is the preferred method for most users because of its rapid results. The injection method has been linked to the contraction of HIV from shared needles in a growing number of users. Little or no attention is paid to sterility, and the user sometimes gets infected without realizing it until a long time after. Some of the many street names for heroin include: smack, junk, horse, H or China white.
Each time a person ingests heroin, they’re significantly increasing their chances of heart failure, respiratory failure, bacterial infections, brain damage, and a variety of other deadly conditions. Other symptoms of heroin abuse include: blood pressure complications, coma, convulsions, seizures, muscle spasms, weak pulse, etc. There are also significant psychological risks associated with heroin addiction. This is why a course of psychiatric therapy is recommended when the patient decides to enter recovery treatment. Users even suffer through a period of withdrawal (usually a painful and sickening process) so they can diminish the tolerance they’ve built up, in an effort to experience that elusive initial “rush”. Over half of those who use heroin become addicted.
Freedom from heroin addiction often comes at a very high price. This is called the withdrawal process. Attempting to detox yourself or go cold turkey from a heroin addiction can have fatal results such as heart attack, stroke, seizures, coma, or death. Patients should seek help from a licensed medical detox center to begin healing from heroin addiction. The National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) maintains a continuously updated national database of heroin addiction treatment centers in your local area, as well as the leading recommended heroin addiction treatment centers in the United States and around the world.