Heroin is a highly addictive drug. Heroin substance use disorders are associated with problems at home, work, and school alongside physical and emotional issues. Iris Healing® is here to help you or your loved one start down the road to recovery.
Heroin is a highly addictive drug that falls in the opiate class. It is a Schedule I substance, which means it has no currently accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse. Heroin is one of the most abused substances in the world and has been illegal in the United States since 1924. It is derived from morphine, which comes from the opium poppy flower plant. The opium poppy is commonly grown in Asia, Mexico, and South America.1
Heroin is harder to identify than other drugs because it has several different appearances and names. It can look like a white or brown powder or a sticky, tar-like substance. Sometimes it is cut with starch, sugars, powdered milk, or quinine. Pure heroin is white while “black tar” heroin is typically darker due to impurities that are left behind during processing methods. Some common heroin street names include smack, junk, brown sugar, and horse.1
Heroin is used in a variety of ways. Many heroin users snort or smoke heroin, but injection is the most common way for people to use heroin. Some also mix heroin with other drugs, like crack cocaine, which is a practice known as “speedballing.” An injection is the most dangerous way to take heroin because you can experience heroin overdose and can catch a disease from unsanitary needles, such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B and C.2
Heroin addiction can be identified by several visible signs alongside behavioral effects.
The physical effects of heroin occur quickly – especially when a person injects it. The physical symptoms include:3
Behavioral heroin effects may include:
When used, heroin enters the brain rapidly. It offers a surge of euphoria along with other symptoms such as a warm, flushed feeling on a person’s skin. Once this initial euphoria passes, the individual will go “on the nod,” which is a state that alternates between being awake and drowsy.
Many of the signs of heroin use are visible early on during a user’s journey with it. Signs include:
People who use heroin regularly are at a heightened risk for developing long-lasting effects, including:
There are several other risks associated with heroin addiction, including the development of heart infections, Hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS, spontaneous abortion, and fatal overdose.
A user can easily develop a tolerance for heroin, requiring more of the substance over time to achieve the same high. The body learns to adapt to the presence of the drug, and heroin withdrawal symptoms can occur if the use of the drug is stopped or reduced. Many people feel heroin withdrawal symptoms in as little as a few hours after the last dose. Symptoms may include:4
Heroin addiction is treated by specific medicines and behavioral therapies that are offered to help users stop abusing heroin and go through withdrawal.
The first method of heroin treatment involves the detoxification process, which is often administered by medication-assisted treatment. Some medicines, such as Lofexidine, have been approved by the FDA to reduce symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Other medicines include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
Behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are used for heroin addiction. CBT helps patients to learn to modify their drug use behaviors and expectations while helping them to manage stress and triggers. 5
Iris Healing® offers heroin addiction treatment programs for people ready to overcome substance abuse. Our caring staff provides tools for managing emotions, they teach techniques for preventing relapse, and they offer relationship and life skills for a transition to sobriety. Help is available from our leading heroin treatment facility. Reach out today to learn more about our heroin addiction treatment programs and how we can help you or your loved one find lasting wellness.