Heroin is a highly addictive illegal drug that is made from morphine. Morphine is a natural substance that comes from the poppy plant. This drug is sold on the black market in the form of a white or brown powder that is cut with other substances such as sugar or starch. Pure heroin is white and it can be snorted or smoked, making it more attractive to users who do not want to inject it.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, heroin addiction is on the rise, with 669,000 Americans having reported using the drug in 2012. The more people who use this drug, the more cases of heroin addiction are seen. If you or someone you love is struggling with a heroin addiction, call the treatment specialists at Drug Rehab Brooklyn at (718) 749-0907.
There are a variety of reasons that account for heroin’s current popularity.
Heroin addiction occurs because the drug is delivered very quickly to the brain, making its effects work swiftly. Changes take place in the brain once someone begins to use the drug, and uncontrollable urges to seek it out take over, regardless of the consequences involved.
Upon entering the brain, this drug is changed back into morphine. It then binds to the opioid receptors there and in the brain stem, where some of our automatic processes such as blood pressure, arousal and breathing are controlled. Over a short period of time, the brain needs more of the drug to achieve the same euphoric feelings and intensity. The body also becomes dependent upon the substance, leading to addiction.
Heroin can be used in a few different ways. It can be injected intravenously or intramuscularly. It can also be smoked through a pipe or mixed with marijuana or tobacco. Heroin smoke can be snorted through a straw or snorted as a powder. Those who inject the drug feel its effects the most rapidly. This is called mainlining, with effects occurring within seconds. The cheaply and easily attained pure heroin is more popular, though, as it can be taken without injecting it to also achieve a similar high.
Heroin use changes the structure and make-up of the brain, causing imbalances that cannot be easily fixed. Physical dependence occurs when it is taken in larger doses and the user builds up a tolerance. Withdrawal from this drug can take place within just a few hours of the last dosage.
Withdrawal symptoms include muscle pain, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, cold flashes and other undesirable and painful symptoms.
The health effects of using heroin can be long-term and involve a change in the brain’s physical structure with a deterioration of the brain’s white matter. This can interfere with a person’s responses to stress and their ability to make decisions. Even after withdrawal, symptoms can go on for many months.
Medication Treatment: There are medications that are used during heroin addiction treatment to ease withdrawal symptoms. They bind to the same opioid receptors as heroin does, but are safer to use. These medications include Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone.
Behavioral Treatment: In both outpatient and residential treatment programs, behavioral approaches are used to manage addiction behaviors. Cognitive-behavioral therapy when used together with medication is very effective in treatment for heroin addiction.
To find out how you can begin your journey to recovery, call the addiction specialists at Brooklyn Drug Rehab by dialing (718) 749-0907.