Heroin addiction is a disease that can have fatal consequences. As one of the most addictive drugs known to man, heroin wreaks havoc on not only the life of the addict but also those around them. Even those intending to try the drug only once can open the door to a life of drug addiction. This extremely powerful opiate can cause addiction after only one use, leading to the user seeking more. According to statistics, one in four people who try this substance will develop an addiction.
A substance as powerful as heroin can be extremely difficult to let go of once an individual is addicted. Quitting the drug cold turkey can feel impossible, and detoxification can have severe side effects. In this blog, we’ll go over the history of heroin, its effects on the user, and how you can find treatment if you suffer from heroin addiction.
The Origins of Heroin
Heroin has been around for over 100 years. Felix Hoffmann, a German chemist and Bayer employee, first synthesized this substance. In the late 1800s, Bayer’s goal was to create a medication that was comparable to morphine but less potent and less addictive. Unfortunately, this mission led to the creation of heroin.
In its early days, heroin was sold in a bottle and could be legally acquired, advertised as a safe and effective treatment for tuberculosis and pneumonia. This drug was readily available for individuals seeking its effects, but this substance proved to be much more powerful than morphine. By 1912, physicians, pharmacists, and users began to notice this substance’s extreme effects. Still, it had already spread across New York City as a popular recreational drug.
Today, heroin comes in powder form or liquid form. Some users smoke or snort the substance, whereas others will mix it with water and inject it directly into their veins. Because there is no federal regulation, heroin will look different depending on who creates it. There is no standard for color, chemical makeup, weight, or purity.
There is an assortment of paraphernalia closely associated with heroin use, and if you think your loved one might be using this drug, there are some things you need to look out for. Heroin addicts frequently use syringes, pipes, spoons, and aluminum foil. Belts, shoelaces, and rubber straps can be used as makeshift tourniquets to expose the vein and make injection easier. Visible signs of heroin include bruising, scarring, and the darkening of the skin.
The Effects of Heroin Addiction
Society considers heroin a “hard drug,” for a good reason. This substance gives the user an extremely powerful rush of euphoria, warmth, and tranquility. The “peak” occurs within the first few seconds of injection or consumption, and the effects can linger between 30 and 45 minutes after the initial rush. However, heroin also has the potential for unwanted side effects. Users may experience drowsiness, nausea, itching, slowed breathing, or vomiting.
Repeat users will quickly find themselves completely dependent on frequent doses of heroin. Once this happens, an addiction has occurred, and the user may succumb to the long-term dangers of heroin use. Long-term heroin use can severely affect the body, including liver damage, weight loss, emotional dysregulation, insomnia, and reduced fertility.
Buying any drug off the street can be dangerous, and heroin is no exception. Individuals who purchase this substance from rogue dealers may consume impure drugs that are mixed with other poisonous, deadly substances such as fentanyl. There is also an inherent danger in using needles to inject heroin. Bacterial infections can frequently take place in injection sites. Individuals also put themselves at risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis, and many other blood-related diseases through the use of using unclean or pre-owned needles. Other consequences of heroin injection include:
- Collapsed veins
- A higher risk of blood clots
- Financial turmoil from frequent drug purchases
Medications Used to Treat Heroin Addiction
Medication-assisted treatment is a proven method of helping individuals overcome their addictions and live happy, healthy lives. Those seeking long-term relief from a drug or alcohol addiction now have a non-intrusive, safe way to treat the source of their problems and experience real-world benefits. Individuals who have invested in MAT have not only stopped using their drug of choice; they have also decreased their cravings, increased their employment opportunities, and improved their quality of life through medication.
If you are seeking medication-assisted treatment for heroin addiction, you have options.
A medication such as naltrexone can be very helpful in helping individuals curb their cravings and remain sober. Regular doses of naltrexone help to block opioid receptors, and it can also neutralize the intoxicating effects of heroin in case an individual decides to relapse. Those looking for an alternative to oral medication may opt for Vivitrol, a monthly injection with many of the same effects as naltrexone. For many individuals in recovery, this injection alleviates the pressure of remembering a daily dose of medicine.
It is important to note that medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction will not compromise one’s sobriety. Individuals who are trying to remove heroin use from their life may feel they’re simply substituting one drug for another, but this is untrue. Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and the previously mentioned naltrexone will not cause euphoric effects. If you are in a 12-step program, you are still considered a sober individual, even if you are currently undergoing medication-assisted treatment for your addiction.
Ending long-term opioid use is never easy. Heroin is an extremely addictive drug with powerful effects. Individuals struggling with an addiction to this substance should seek help immediately. While medication-assisted treatment is an option, many individuals choose to use this alongside traditional psychotherapy. However, this can feel a bit intrusive for those who are not quite ready to discuss the underlying problems of their addiction and how they feel about it. If you are a person who wants to treat your addiction and cravings without psychotherapy, you can still experience the benefits of MAT without regularly sitting down with a therapist.
MAT Care Clinics | Heroin Addiction Treatment in Nashua, NH
Medication-assisted treatment can help you safely remove heroin use from your life. Long-term users of opioids struggle with intense cravings, even after detox. These feelings can cause frequent relapses and get in the way of a sober, healthy lifestyle. By following a MAT program and continuing aftercare, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of relapse.
MAT Care Clinics provides the resources and support you need to overcome opioid addiction. Our center uses FDA-approved medications that can safely treat your addiction and the long-term cravings you may experience. Led by Dr. Boris Golosarsky, our clinics provide elite care for those who need to free themselves from a drug addiction that stops them from living a full life. For more information on how we can assist you or someone you know, contact us today at 833-398-1234 to schedule a consultation with an in-house expert.