Heroin Addiction, A Trend That Continues to Grow

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Heroin is an addictive opioid that attracts users from all age groups. Many experts believe that this rising trend of drug abuse stems in part from prescriptions prescribed by doctors for injuries. Recent findings uncovered that an alarming 45% of people who became addicted to painkillers turned to heroin as a less expensive way to achieve their “high.” The chemical released is almost the same, and it’s easier to acquire. How long heroin stays in your system depends on a variety of factors, including how often you use it, how you take it and your weight.

In 2013 there were over 8,000 reported deaths from a heroin overdose. The numbers are on the rise. In 2014 there were nearly 12,000 deaths. These alarming statistics have gained national attention. On June 1, 2015, more than 135 congressional and federal staff members from various agencies as well as professionals met to discuss possible treatments to combat this crisis.

Is heroin really addictive from the first use?

While not all experts will say with 100% certainty that heroin is addictive from the first dose, they do agree that it only takes a few times to develop a serious dependency.  One of the reasons is the ability to afford it. Cocaine and prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine on the black market are very expensive. According to publicized stories from former and current addicts, heroin gives you a feeling of euphoria. All the thoughts of depression and anxiety disappear. This is why heroin is often used by individuals for self-medicating purposes rather than recreational. Users describe their state of mind as peaceful, having a warm and secure feeling while using. This may provide insight as to why a large percentage of users live in unsafe environments.

Does rehab work?

Studies show that people who enter into a rehab center have a good chance of beating their addiction. However, for some individuals, it may take more than one try. Those who suffer from a relapse need the support of family and friends to give it another try. In these cases, the success rate improves. The hardest part is not the actual treatment, but rather getting the individual to admit they have a problem and to seek help. Once a person opens up to loved ones, then the healing begins. The treatments generally include a combination of medications and therapy. This allows recovering addicts to express their feelings in a group setting among other recovering heroin addicts. It’s a team of staff members unified, creating an environment for success.

There are three medications usually associated with the treatment for heroin addiction. They are agonists, partial agonists and antagonists. Which of the groups a doctor prescribes depends on the individual and their level of addiction.

Act now rather than later

Heroin is a  dangerous opioid that can take the life of a loved one without you ever knowing they had a problem. If you feel that something is “off” lately with a family member or friend, ask questions. While they may snap or get offended, sometimes having another person concerned about their welfare might make the difference between life and death.

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