In recent years, a heroin addiction epidemic has been raging in the United States. In April 2016, 60 Minutes reported that in Ohio alone, 23 Americans die each month from heroin overdoses. The epidemic does not discriminate, affecting men and women, most age groups, and both the rich and poor. Consequently, the need for heroin addiction treatment is greater than ever.

About Heroin Abuse

Heroin is an opioid derived from morphine, a naturally occurring substance found in the opium poppy plant. Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors which are located throughout the body. This has the effect of both blocking pain and stimulating the brain’s reward center which can create a sense of euphoria.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies heroin as a Schedule I substance meaning it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

Heroin is generally sold as a whitish or brown powder or as a sticky substance known as black tar heroin. It can be injected, smoked, or snorted. It is frequently used in combination with other drugs or alcohol. Some opt to take it along with cocaine in a particularly dangerous concoction known as a “speedball.” Speedballs gained national attention when the comedian John Belushi died from a fatal overdose in 1982. They again made headlines when the actor River Phoenix was killed by a speedball overdose in 1993.

Heroin Overdose

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 United States, it became associated with the culture surrounding jazz music in the 1930s and 1940s and with the Beatniks of the 1950s. Heroin abuse continued as part of the 1960s counterculture, producing its share of high profile casualties including the singer Janis Joplin who died of an overdose in 1970. During the same period, heroin use became rampant with United States military personnel serving in Vietnam. By 1970 there were an estimated 750,000 heroin addicts in the United States. This helped spur the creation of the DEA in 1970.

Heroin abuse has surged in recent years. In 2011, 4.2 million Americans aged 12 or older (or 1.6 percent) had used heroin at least once in their lives, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is estimated that about 23 percent of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it. From 2010 through 2013, female heroin overdoses increased threefold. From 2013 to 2014, the heroin overdose death rates increased by 26%, with more than 10,500 people dying in 2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Today the epidemic continues to rage. The UN World Drug Report 2016 says that cheap heroin has pushed the number of users to a 20 year high, leading to a higher number of overdoses. The effects of a heroin overdose are severe and often fatal making heroin addiction treatment a matter of life and death. Signs of an overdose include:

  • 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
  • Delirium
  • Coma
  • No breathing

A medication called Naloxone can sometimes reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, including those from heroin. Increasingly, first responders have equipped themselves with Naloxone as the number of overdoses continues to rise. Additionally, for those struggling to break free of heroin addiction, heroin abuse treatment is available to help them through the detox process and to help them gain recovery.

Heroin is a highly addictive drug requiring treatments for heroin addiction. With prolonged usage the body builds up a tolerance to it and the user craves more and more of it to achieve the same effect. Eventually, someone who is addicted need to take the drug simply in order to feel normal.

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Treatments For Heroin Addiction

At Sovereign Health of Texas, heroin addiction recovery generally begins at one of our heroin detox centers. Detox – short for detoxification – is the process by which toxins that have built up in the addict’s system are removed. Because this generates painful, sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms, it is done under careful medical supervision. Medication may be administered to treat withdrawal symptoms depending on their severity. Sovereign Health of Texas offers inpatient detox so that patients may be monitored around the clock while they are going through the process.

Moving forward from the detox stage of recovery, the individual continues their heroin addiction treatment which includes a variety of treatment modalities. Our heroin addiction treatment centers provide a range of evidence-based techniques and therapies including:

  • 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, we offer a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Patients are provided with comprehensive and effective heroin addiction treatment at our facility in El Paso, Texas.

For additional information about heroin addiction rehab provided by Sovereign Health of Texas, please contact our 24/7 helpline.

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Success Story
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“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