What is heroin and why is it such a powerfully addictive drug?
Heroin is a very strong analgesic or pain relief drug. Like morphine, heroin is derived from opium, a well-known narcotic plant.
According to pharmacological tests, heroin is more potent and thus highly effective than morphine or codeine.
Detoxification is the process of eliminating all traces of heroin from the body without exposing the addicted individual to serious, often life-threatening, effects or symptoms of heroin withdrawal.
Most heroin addicts continue to abuse the drug for fear of suffering heroin withdrawal effects. The intensity of symptoms suffered due to withdrawal from the drug depends on many factors such as the period the user has been taking drugs and the amount of heroin consumed in a given period. Some of the common symptoms suffered during withdrawal of heroin include nausea, extreme craving for the drug, muscle spasms, chills, abdominal pain, depression, agitation, anxiety, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and psychological stress just to mention a few.
However, there is a difference between detoxification and withdrawal. Medical detox is a professionally handled process of medication and therapy that is designed to reduce or ease withdrawal symptoms as the drug is being cleaned from the patient’s system. Detox aims to help the patient go through the withdrawal stage with the least pain or discomfort. The process lasts between 5 and 7 days depending on the patient’s history of drug usage. A heavy user may take up to 7 days to complete detox.
Detox can be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient facility. Due to the severity of heroin addiction, it is highly recommended that heroin detox should be conducted in an in-patient treatment center where the patient is monitored 24/7 for any form of withdrawal complications. A strong craving for the drug and relapse are some of the key symptoms of heroin withdrawal which is why it is important for the patient to be confined in an in-patient center during the detox phase of treatment.
Self-administering detox for heroin or other substances including alcohol and opiates can be dangerous. The process should be done under medically supervised conditions. Attempting to go “cold turkey” could have serious life threatening consequences.
It is also worth pointing out that by itself is not a complete treatment of heroin addiction. Once the patient has gone through the detoxification stage, he or she will need to enter into the next stage of treatment and rehabilitation which involves group or individual counseling therapies.
The history of heroin use can be traced back to the year 1898 when the drug was first used commercially in the world of medicine by Bayer Company.
It was such a highly effective drug in the medical world that many called it the wonder drug.
Heroin was more effective than codeine in the treatment of pain and several respiratory diseases. It was however later found that continuous use of heroin in the treatment of pain and other conditions led to tolerance or dependence on the drug.
Heroin medication caused less nausea and was more effective than morphine but unfortunately, the drug was highly addictive.
As earlier stated, heroin is derived from opium. Prior to the introduction of heroin in the drug market, opium had already become a major problem for the US government, law enforcement agencies, and the medical world. In the 1850s, opium addicts were treated using morphine, which is less addictive and less potent than opium. However, morphine latter became a more serious problem than opium which made it imperative to find another “less” addictive cure.
Heroin was developed as a solution to side effects of morphine but little did they know that heroin was many times more addictive than morphine. Heroin became a bigger problem than morphine. The pursuit of finding a less addictive treatment for opium addicts in the 1850s gave birth to the current problem of heroin addiction that is experienced in almost every part of the world today.
Recent studies show that heroin is the most widely abused drug in the United States today. It is only second to marijuana in terms of prevalence and usage. The US has over the years waged a long-standing battle against illegal drugs, especially heroin, in every way possible. One of the major approaches to minimizing the number of casualties resulting from the deadly heroin epidemic is the establishment of heroin treatment centers across the country.
The current state of heroin abuse and addiction in the US is alarming. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that the number of individuals addicted to heroin in the US grew by 8,200 in 2013. To make matters worse, the majority of new addicts are young adults aged between 18 and 25 years, which is an active segment of the national population who should be working hard to contribute to the nation’s development but have been rendered useless by heroin addiction.
It is for this reason that drug rehab centers and other drug treatment centers are being established in every part of the country. There are many Florida rehab centers which offer high-quality heroin addiction treatment to help combat the drug menace in our society.
There are many reasons why people use and later abuse heroin. Many use it as a form of pain relief medication leading to addiction while many others use the drug as a recreational activity and end up getting addicted to it. There are other heroin users who use large amounts of the drug to cope with diseases, stress, or anxiety but unfortunately end up as heroin addicts.
Fortunately, there are numerous detox and rehabilitation facilities across the country where addicts can find treatment and a lasting solution to their addiction problem. Drug-dependent individuals in Florida have a wide range of detox, care, and rehabilitation facilities to choose from including Detox of South Florida.
Heroin is a powerful habit-forming substance, which is why the US government outlawed manufacture and importation of the drug for all purposes including medical use. The prohibition is due to the fact that the drug gives its users a euphoric feeling and is therefore frequently abused for recreational purposes. Unlike other recreational drugs where people become addicted due to peer pressure or simply out of curiosity, heroin addiction is quick and often requires a few instances of usage to develop into a full-blown addiction. Heroin cannot be used as a prescription for pain relief due to injury, migraine, infection or any other disease because patients normally develop heroin dependency after a short period of usage. A patient who uses heroin for pain medication eventually becomes an addict and cannot live a day without using the drug even after the pain or disease has been cured. It is a case of transferring from one manageable pain to another form of pain that cannot be managed without the drug.
Heroin addiction could happen to anyone regardless of race, social class, and age. The drug is widely accessible through illicit channels that permeate every sector of our society. Anyone seriously looking for heroin does not need a prescription as you can find it being sold anywhere from the streets and schools to bars and clubs. The US continues to battle with illegal heroin importers, distributors, and sellers known as peddlers on a day to day basis. There are special government and law enforcement agencies such as the DEA dedicated to battling the heroin and other illicit drug menace but somehow the drug still finds its way to the general population. Due to its prevalence, the drug can affect anyone. The drug addict you meet on the streets is someone’s parent, son, daughter, brother or sister. Heroin addiction can happen to anyone, without exemption. It is such a serious epidemic that, according to national statistics, 22 people, on average, die from heroin or painkiller overdose every single day in the United States.
As one of the most widely used illegal drug in the US, heroin is not just found in urban centers but in rural communities too. It is a drug that can be found virtually anywhere in the country. It can potentially affect anyone regardless of whether you live in a huge urban metropolitan city or in a rural community. Some of the worst affected regions are in the south of the country. This is because accessibility to the drug is higher or easier in the southern states. South Florida, for example, is a well-known hotbed of heroin. It is also one of the regions that are worst hit by heroin addiction in the country. Experts have pointed out that South Florida’s heroin problem is due to the fact that the region lies closer to the border where the drug can be smuggled in with relative ease.
The good news is that Florida has a good number of excellent drug detox and rehabilitation centers catering for all types of drugs and substances addiction problems including alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamines, and other commonly abused drugs.
While the US government and law enforcement authorities strive to eliminate manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of heroin in our schools, clubs, and streets, the health authorities have taken a leading role in deterring the use of heroin and in treating individuals addicted to the drug. All over the country, health authorities are continuously educating healthcare providers and the public about the risks posed by heroin and other drugs to society.
Health authorities are also monitoring the prescription of other drugs used in control of chronic pain and other emotional discomforts. There are also many government and private facilities providing addiction treatment to afflicted individuals in the form of heroin detox centers and other rehab facilities. Heroin addiction treatment centers have significantly helped to reduce the number of people addicted to heroin and other opioids.
The hardest thing for a heroin addict is the immediate cessation of using the drug. This is where detoxification comes in. Many addicts consider detox the most difficult step in their quest to overcome heroin dependence. There are many enquiries about Opiate detox centers from different areas of the world.
In as far as treatment and rehabilitation is concerned, a lot of effective methods of treating heroin addiction have emerged in recent years. The treatment processes are either behavioral or pharmacological.
The pharmacological approach in treating heroin addiction uses scientifically proven processes and medications to ease the detox phase of treatment and in the following stages of treatment. Heroin detox programs use the pharmacological approach as the first phase of treatment. Behavioral therapy aims at empowering the patient to overcome triggers and any other cause of relapse. Behavioral therapy relies on contingency management and psychological counseling. The therapist often uses a reward system in contingency management therapies. A patient who shows improved behavior and negative drug tests earns points or is rewarded in one way or another to encourage them to develop a positive or healthier lifestyle.
The cognitive-behavioral approach is used to transform the patient’s expectation of life and provide a new psychological attitude to drugs. The therapy sessions help to increase the patient’s productivity by developing their life skills and empowering them with psychological tools and knowledge to cope with or overcome problems and challenges in life.
A good combination of different treatment approaches in important in the patient’s journey towards recovery from heroin addiction. However, it is equally important to look for the most suitable treatment programs that match the patient’s unique needs and circumstances.
The State of Florida is well-known for drug and substance abuse. In fact, it is ranked among states with the highest rates of drug dependency in the United States. Statistics show that at least 10% of the state’s population has a dependency on either drugs or alcohol. 90% of Florida teenagers have at one time or another used alcohol, half of high school seniors across the state have tried marijuana, 17% experimented with cocaine, and close to 12.5% used hallucinogens. Statistics also indicate that 40% of college students who have had problems in academic performance use alcohol while 28% of college drop-outs across the state are alcoholic.
The statistics may be disheartening, to say the least, but there is hope in the numerous rehab centers in Florida where individuals going through the challenges of heroin or substance addiction can begin their journey of recovery from addiction.