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Addiction Info

Heroin Addiction Treatment

For those struggling with a heroin addiction, caught in the endless cycle of using and abusing themselves, GateHouse treatment centers offers a way out. You can stop using heroin, and find a new way of life. Recovery from heroin addiction is possible, and GateHouse is ready to stand by your side.

For adults who are ready to overcome their cocaine addiction, we offer a personal approach to heroin addiction treatment that is based on proved addiction treatment methodologies and your unique experiences. We offer real recovery for real people by promoting personal responsibility, accountability, and giving you the tools needed to build a strong recovery.

We are personally invested in each and everyone of our clients’ recovery processes, and putting people first has always been the bedrock of our treatment philosophy. End the insanity of doing the same thing over and over, reach out today, and find out how GateHouse can help you live a life worth living.

What is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is an opiate drug derived from morphine, although morphine is a legally prescribed drug, use of it may lead to the need to seek heroin treatment. It is the most popular and commonly abused opiate drug, about 23% of users become dependent on the drug. Heroin is intensely addictive due to how it reacts in the brain. With the staggering increase in the number of heroin users, heroin addiction treatment is in much higher demand than before.

Quick Facts About Heroin Abuse and Addiction

  • Heroin is derived from poppy plants, which when used turns into morphine and binds to opioid receptors in the brain.
  • It is the most abused and popular opiate drug.
  • 23% of people who try heroin become addicted, sometimes after the first use of the drug.
  • Over-prescribing of narcotic opioid pain medication has paved the path for many people to turn to heroin even after a short time of taking them, it can cause dependence on the opiates.
  • From 2002 to 2015 there has been a 6.2 fold increase in the total number of heroin-related deaths.
  • In 2015 586,000 Americans age 12 and older sought out heroin addiction treatment along with other substance abuse issues.
  • Heroin most commonly comes in a white or brown powdered form or a black, tar-like substance (black tar heroin)
  • All forms of heroin can be snorted, smoked, or injected.

History of Heroin Abuse and Addiction in America

Cultivation of the opium poppy and the resin from the flowers has been used as medicinal and recreational drugs since the time of ancient Sumerians since 5500 years ago. Purified morphine extracted from opium was done in the early 1800s, it became one of the most potent painkillers known to man, being as morphine is ten times more powerful than opium. Heroin was first synthesized by a British chemist, Charles Romley Alder Wright in 1874, his discovery was found to have no practical use. In 1897, Felix Hoffman synthesized heroin in an attempt to convert morphine into codeine. It was presented as a non-addictive cough suppressant and analgesic for respiratory infections. It was quickly recognized that heroin was dangerous to patients. People being treated with it rapidly developed dependence, doses had to be increased over time and that patients were continuing use after heroin wasn’t being prescribed. Even worse, many patients who stopped taking it experienced a more severe withdrawal than those with morphine dependency. In 1910 the first heroin dependent / heroin treatment case was admitted for medical help.

In 1914 the Harrison Narcotic Tax Act was implemented limiting the medical uses of heroin and similar drugs, required narcotic sellers to be licensed and outlawed prescribing of narcotics to addicts. Finally, in 1924 the importation of opium for manufacturing heroin was outlawed, subsequent laws in the U.s have completely restricted any uses, recreational or medical for heroin. Heroin is a Schedule I drug, it is illegal to possess, manufacture or sell heroin in America. It is highly addictive and has no accepted medical use.

Common Street Names for Heroin

  • Dope
  • H
  • Smack
  • Boy
  • Dog Food
  • Puppy Chow
  • Junk
  • Diesel
  • Brown

Physiology and Side Effects of Heroin

Heroin works in the brains’ pleasure center with opiate-specific receptors. The body produces its endogenous opioids such as dynorphin, enkephalin, and endorphins which are naturally occurring in the brain and are in response to decreasing the perception of pain and elevate the mood by increasing levels of dopamine. When heroin is used, the body gets flooded with the opioids which leads to incredibly high levels of dopamine resulting in a euphoric feeling which are more potent than the body’s natural release of endorphins. Heroin reaches the brain the fastest when it is injected intravenously or smoked.

Using heroin has many side effects no matter how it is administered, and the user rapidly builds a tolerance, needing higher and more frequent doses. Side effects may include:

  • Reduced sensation of pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Constricted pupils
  • Cycling between being awake and severe drowsiness “nodding out.”
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Itchy skin
  • Slowed respiration
  • Slowed heart rate

Understanding Heroin Addiction

When heroin is abused in any form; snorted, smoked, or injected (intravenously, dermally or intramuscular) it causes users to feel euphoric due to the rapid influx of dopamine entering their brain. Over time the brain stops producing normal amounts of these chemicals, and the mental need for the drug becomes a compulsion resulting in psychological addiction. Heroin treatment is used to help break the compulsion for the drug.

The body also adapts to functioning with the drug and becomes accustomed to having it present in the body, when the intake is stopped the user experiences painful physical withdrawals (dope sick). Any use of heroin is abuse, heroin addiction treatment is available to aid in the physical and mental addiction.

Heroin Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Just as every person differs, signs and symptoms of heroin abuse and heroin addiction can vary from user to user, common symptoms include:

Mood

• Depressed
• Restlessness
• Anxiety
• Mood Swings

• Withdrawn
• Euphoric
• Extreme Agitation
• Fatigue

Behavioral

• Lying
• Stealing
• Unexplained absences
• Lack of appetite
• Confusion

• Slurred speech
• Avoidance of eye contact
• Lack of personal hygiene
• Wearing long sleeves and pants in warm weather
• Defensive and stand-offish

Physical

• Dry mouth
• Constricted pupils
• Lack of coordination
• Itchiness

• Constipation
• Abscesses (injection sites)
• Bruises or track marks
• Unexplained weight loss

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