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How Does Heroin Addiction Start? How Does Heroin Detox Work?
Heroin is a powerful analgesic or a pain-relieving drug derived, just like morphine, from opium, which is a narcotic drug. However, in pharmacological studies, heroin is proven to be more effective than morphine and codeine. It was in the year 1898 when it was first introduced for commercial use by the Bayer Company. Since then, heroin made some promising results in the world of medicine. They started calling it the wonder drug because it was more effective than codeine in curing some respiratory diseases and in pain medication. However, in the latter years, they had found out that the repeated use of this wonder drug causes unhealthy development of tolerance or dependence to heroin. It is more addictive than morphine but causes less nausea.
Heroin is one of the most abused drugs in the USA next to Marijuana. Also, because of the long-standing history and battle of the USA to illegal drugs such as this, heroin treatment centers for drug addiction are being established and developed to at least minimize the casualties of the deadly epidemic. The problem caused by this drug in the USA is very alarming with the number of addicts growing up to 8,200 last 2013, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The worst part is that the trend largely includes young adults with age ranging from 18 to 25. Basically, these are the people who should be contributing to the development of the nation, but heroin made them unable to do so. This is why there are a lot of drug rehab centers and drug treatment centers all over the USA such as the Florida rehab centers. There, they offer drug treatment centers, alcohol treatment centers, substance abuse treatment centers, etc.
Going back to the inception of heroin, opium had first been the major problem in the USA in the 1850s. To solve this problem or to give a temporary solution, they give the addicts a less addictive drug that has lesser effects than opium – morphine. However, it turned out that morphine would become a heavier problem, which they found out in the latter years. Just like how they did to opium, the authorities found a substitute to morphine that is less potent and “less addictive”, and that is heroin. But then again, heroin still became a bigger problem than morphine, thus creating the drug crisis in heroin addiction until today.
Because the painkilling drugs of today like the heroin are proven to be addictive and some are still using them in an unprecedented amount in order to cope up with their diseases, detox and rehabilitation facilities in the USA are built as a solution to this phenomenon. As an example, in the state of Florida alone, there are a lot of facilities and centers that attend to the needs of drug-dependent individuals.
Because of its powerful habit-forming qualities, its manufacture and import are forbidden in the USA, even for medical use. It has some sort of euphoric effects to users, which makes it a recreational drug. On the other hand, while other drug addiction usually starts with curiosity or peer pressure, how some people become addicted to heroin is a different story. There are laws about the use of heroin such as a prescription for pain killers. However, some people suffer from certain extreme body pain such as migraine, injury, infection, and other kinds of pain that demand the use of painkillers, such as morphine or heroin. In these situations, prescription drugs are used to help the brain reduce the recognition of pain so that the patients could endure better from pain.
Now, as the patients use these painkillers repeatedly for medication, their body will develop a dependency on this drug even when the disease is already cured or when the actual pain is gone. When this happens, the patient will become a heroin addict. This is why addiction in this drug could victimize anyone. It is not only through a prescription that heroin could be accessible. The USA is plagued with illegal sellers and even illegal prescriptions of heroin that almost anyone could be addicted to it. It could be someone’s daughter, son, brother, father, and mother; there seemed to be no exemption. In fact, this epidemic is so serious that on average, 22 people in the United States die every day from an overdose of painkillers like heroin.
What Could Be Done About Heroin Addiction?
The authorities in health are constantly finding ways to deter or stop the addiction in painkillers. They are working on ways to better educate the health care providers and the public about the risks of these drugs. They are also running a better tracking on the prescription of drugs especially when dealing with chronic pains. More importantly, the government and private entities have also increased the efforts to provide treatment services such as heroin detox centers and rehabilitation facilities that are available to the public. This is to lessen the growing number of drug addiction, especially in opioid, methadone, and even heroin.
Considered as one of the most abused drugs in the USA, the use of heroin is now prevalent not only in urban areas but also in rural. The place where this drug could come is very unprecedented. Anyone could fall as its victim. Moreover, when it comes to the pervasiveness of heroin, the location is very much important to consider. Authorities are warning the people near the south about the accessibility of the people to these dangerous drugs. As one of the famous hotbed of heroin, the state of South Florida is one of the places that are also having this heroin epidemic. Some experts are pointing out that it is because the place is near the border down south. On the other hand, in addressing this problem, Florida is also one of the places in the USA that have vast variety of good rehabilitation and detox centers not only for heroin addiction but also for other substances addiction such as alcohol, marijuana, and hallucinogenic drugs.
Detox and Rehab in Miami
Talking about detoxification, this might be the hardest thing about heroin dependence. This is one of the major causes why some still continue to use heroin because they are afraid to suffer from the effects of withdrawal from heroin. The patient may experience nausea, abdominal pain, sweating, shaking, nervousness, agitation, depression, muscle spasm, craving for heroin, relapse, anxiety, insomnia, chills, rapid heart rate, impaired respiration, and at the top of all that is the ordeal of psychological stress. However, the common misconception about detoxification is that is the same with withdrawal. On the other hand, medical detox is actually a series of medications and therapies that are used to ease and lessen the symptoms of withdrawal to increase the chance of the patient to move on safely from the withdrawal stage. It is simply the process of removing the heroin contents from your body. Although this might last an average of 5 to 7 days, the effects and range of withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the patient’s dependency on the heroin.
Moving to treatment and rehabilitation, there are now a lot of emerging methods in treating heroin addiction. In general, these processes of treatment are either behavioral or pharmacological. First, in the pharmacological approach, scientific research suggests that the use of medications could not only ease the detoxification process but also helps in other stages of treatment that follows. As for the behavioral therapy type of treatment, in heroin detox programs in Miami, they are using this kind of approach.
It uses contingency management and psychological counseling. In the contingency management, the therapists will use a reward system. The patients with good behavior and negative drug tests could earn points or rewards that would encourage them to have a healthy living. In the cognitive-behavioral therapy, they are modifying the patient’s expectations and psychological behaviors to drugs. They increase the productivity of the patients by developing their skills and help them cope up with various life problems. With all these kind of treatment, it’s still important to note that the suitable treatment must be chosen to match the needs of the patients.
Florida is also a famous breeding ground for substance abusers. It is ranked with the highest drug dependency rate in the USA. Ten percent of its population is at least drug addict or alcoholic. To explain further the intensity of this problem, some statistics might be significant. Starting with the teenagers, 90% of them have used alcohol, 50% of high school seniors already tried marijuana, 17% tried cocaine, and 12.5% have tried hallucinogens. Forty percent of college students who had academic problems use alcohol. Twenty-eight percent of college dropouts are alcoholic. With these stats, they had already built some rehab centers in Florida to reduce this trend.