The majority of people do not understand how heroin addiction really works. They mistakenly view drug abuse as strictly a social problem and often tend to characterize those who take drugs as morally weak and marginalize them on a social level.
One of the most common misconceptions is that heroin addiction can be easily eliminated and that drug abusers should be able to simply stop taking drugs. The staff at Drug Treatment Centers Wilmington understands that the disease is nearly impossible to overcome on your own. Let us help you.
People often overlook and underestimate the complexity of heroin addiction, which makes them oblivious to the fact that it is a disease that impacts the brain, and because of that, stopping drug abuse is not simply a matter of willpower.
However, latest scientific advances provide us with the precious knowledge about how exactly drugs affect the brain, what happens on a behavioral level and how we can treat heroin addiction successfully in order to help addicts resume with their normal and productive lives.
Don’t wait to begin your treatment journey– call Drug Treatment Centers Wilmington at (302) 397-5350 and get connected to an addiction specialist now.
Heroin is a substance derived from the morphine alkaloid found in opium. It is about 2 to 3 times more potent. This highly addictive drug exhibits euphoric, anxiolytic and analgesic central nervous system properties.
Pure heroin comes in a form of a white powder and has a bitter taste. It is usually sold as a white or brownish powder and is often cut with other drugs or with substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, quinine, strychnine, etc. Since an average heroin user doesn’t know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are at risk of overdose or death.
There is also another form of heroin called “black tar,” which comes in a sticky, tar-like form, or it can be hard, like coal. The color of “black tar” may vary from dark brown to black.
Heroin is most commonly used via intravenous injection, however, it can also be vaporized or “smoked”, sniffed or “snorted”, used as a suppository, or ingested orally. Smoking and sniffing cannot provide the notorious “rush” as quickly or as intensely as an injection. While oral ingestion and suppository use do not usually lead to a “rush”, however, heroin can be addictive by any given route.
Heroin is metabolized to morphine and other metabolites which bind to opioid receptors in the brain. The short-term effects appear quite soon after a single dose and disappear in a few hours. After heroin is injected, the user experiences a surge of euphoria (the aforementioned “rush”) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Following this initial sensation of euphoria, the user slips into a wakeful and drowsy state, while their mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system.
Other effects of heroin addiction include respiratory depression, constricted pupils and, nausea. Heroin overdose mirrors in slow and shallow breathing, hypotension, muscle spasms, convulsions, coma, and possibly death.
There are several drug treatment options for heroin addiction which can be effective when combined with a medication compliance program and behavioral therapy. Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose), buprenorphine (Subutex, brand discontinued in U.S), buprenorphine combined with naloxone (Suboxone) and naltrexone (Depade, ReVia) are approved in the US.
These treatments work by binding fully or partially to opiate receptors in the brain and work as agonists, antagonists, or a combination of the two. Agonists simulate the action of the opiate, while antagonists block and reverse its action. A long-acting intramuscular depot formulation of naltrexone (Vivitrol) is also available for use after the addict is cleaned via opiate detoxification.
Methadone has been used for decades to treat heroin addiction, however, its use in opiate dependency is highly regulated in the US, and may differ between states. It is approved for opiate medical detoxification and maintenance, but only in approved and certified treatment programs.
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