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Heroin is an opioid made from morphine and is available in the market as white or brown powder or a black sticky substance. Some of its commonly used names are horse, smack, hell dust, and big H.

Used and sold in a number of forms, the drug is fast in delivering its potent effects. Despite the dangers associated with the drug, its use has been increasing significantly throughout the nation in recent years which has resulted in heroin addiction epidemic in the United States. In 2016, an estimated 475,000 Americans (aged 12 years or above) were identified as current users of heroin.

Heroin epidemic does not discriminate. It affects men and women of all age groups, and both rich and poor alike. The effects of a heroin overdose are severe and often fatal, making heroin addiction treatment a matter of life and death.

About heroin abuse

Classified as a Schedule I substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), heroin has a high potential for abuse and is not prescribed for medical use in the United States, even under medical supervision. An opioid, heroin works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, nervous system, and other parts of the body, blocking the user’s sensation of pain and discomfort, slowing down one’s metabolism, and generating sensations of pleasure and euphoria among its users.

Heroin can be injected, smoked or snorted, and is frequently used in combination with other drugs or alcohol. Some prefer to take it along with crack cocaine in a particularly dangerous concoction known as a speedballing. The combination gained national attention when comedian John Belushi died of a fatal overdose in 1982. It again made headlines when actor River Phoenix succumbed to a speedball overdose in 1993.

Heroin use and its history

First synthesized in Germany in 1895, heroin was used to relieve pain. Ironically, it was also seen as a possible treatment for morphine addiction. In the U.S., it became associated with the culture surrounding jazz music during 1930-1940 and with the Beatniks of the 1950s. Heroin abuse continued as a part of the 1960s counterculture, producing its share of high profile casualties, including singer Janis Joplin’s death in 1970 due to an overdose. During the same period, heroin use became rampant among U.S. military personnel serving in Vietnam. By 1970, there were an estimated 750,000 people addicted to heroin in the U.S. This helped spur the creation of the DEA in 1970.

Heroin abuse: signs and symptoms

When abused in heavy doses or for a longer period, heroin use can lead to tolerance, dependence and addiction. Depending on the amount, frequency and duration of the drug abuse, the signs and symptoms of heroin abuse may vary among its users, but will include one or more of the following:

  • Extremely small pupils, sometimes as small as the head of a pin (pinpoint pupils)
  • Discolored tongue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weak pulse
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Disorientation
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Delirium
  • Dry mouth
  • Coma
  • Slowed breathing

A number of serious health conditions, including liver or kidney diseases, constipation, fatal overdose, infectious diseases, and collapsed veins characterize heroin abuse. Some other consequences can include troubled relationships, financial problems and legal troubles.

A medication called naloxone can sometimes reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, including those from heroin. As a result, first responders equip themselves with naloxone as the number of overdoses continues to rise. Additionally, for those struggling to break free from heroin addiction, heroin abuse treatment for a lasting recovery.

Treatment for heroin addiction

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that can cause several physical and psychological effects. Prolonged use of the drug leads to tolerance which makes him/her crave for an increased quantity of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Eventually, the resultant dependence or addiction makes a person feel the need to take the drug simply in order to feel normal. When one stops or reduces the consumption abruptly, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms that can last for days to weeks, depending on the dosage, frequency and duration of heroin abuse. Some of the common withdrawal symptoms of the drug include drug cravings, nausea and vomiting, muscle and bone pain, agitation, insomnia, fever and diarrhea.

Owing to the drug’s addictive nature and its potential to cause extreme withdrawal symptoms, it is advisable to seek treatment for heroin addiction from specialists experienced in opiate detoxification treatment and withdrawal, that too at certified addiction rehab centers only.

A comprehensive addiction treatment program for heroin addiction consists of a medically assisted heroin detox treatment followed by intense behavioral therapies or counseling sessions. The detox program gradually flushes out the drug from the body and helps reduce drug dependence. A supervised detox also helps manage the withdrawal symptoms experienced during detoxification. Post a successful detox, therapy and counseling sessions help identify the underlying causes of addiction and equip patients with the necessary life-skills required to live a drug-free life and maintain sobriety after successful completion of the treatment.

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Why choose Sovereign Health

At Sovereign Health of Texas, heroin addiction recovery generally begins at one of our heroin detox centers. Considered the first step in addiction treatment, detoxification helps remove the toxins accumulated in the body due to continued use. As the detox process can generate painful and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms, the treatment should be taken up under careful medical supervision. Often, medications are administered to treat withdrawal symptoms depending on their severity. Sovereign Health of Texas offers inpatient detox so that patients can be monitored round the clock during the process.

From the detox stage of recovery, all recovering individuals progress to the next stage, which involves utilization of a variety of treatment modalities as a part of the heroin addiction treatment. Sovereign Health’s heroin addiction treatment centers utilize a range of evidence-based techniques and therapies to treat addiction to heroin and other addictive drugs.

Following are some of the evidence-based techniques offered at our centers.

  • Individual and process group therapy
  • Stress and anger management groups
  • Schema treatment
  • Narrative treatment
  • Mindfulness training
  • Biopsychosocial assessment
  • Life skills education
  • Experiential outings
  • Couples therapy
  • Continuing care program

In addition to residential treatment, Sovereign Health offers a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Sovereign Health is one of the fore-runners in treating substance use disorders.

With the aim to provide our patients the best chance at recovery, Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas provides individualized treatment for substance abuse, along with treating any other co-occurring disorders, if any. Patients are provided with comprehensive and effective heroin addiction treatment at our state-of-the-art facility in El Paso, Texas.

For additional information about our top-notch heroin addiction rehab programs, contact our 24/7 helpline number and speak with our admissions specialist. You can even chat online with our representatives for any further assistance.

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Success Story
Success Story

“The therapy here helped me really look at myself and find that I am a strong individual that can deal with this and move forward in my life.”- Katie