Heroin/Opioid Addiction

What are Opiates?

Heroin and Opioids fall under the Opiate family tree. They produce euphoric effects by binding to the same protein receptors in the body. These receptors trigger the brain’s reward system making it difficult to find pleasure in anything else. Both drugs create the same chemical response to varying degrees, have very similar detoxification processes and are extremely addictive. Opioids are commonly prescribed as pain relievers. Studies show 80% of people who use heroin had first misused prescription opioids.[1] In fact, Heroin is classified as a ‘semi-synthetic opioid’.

Signs of Heroin/Opioid Addiction:

  • Runny Nose
  • Abnormally Small Pupils – “Pinned”
  • Vomiting/Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Burnt Foil/Spoons
  • Dry Mouth
  • Mood Swings
  • Taking More Medication Than Prescribed/Med-Seeking
  • Shallow Breath
  • Severe Itching 
  • Weight Loss
  • Disoriented Behavior
  • Drowsiness or Falling Asleep Abruptly – “Nodding Out”
  • Memory Loss
  • Personality Changes
  • Track Marks & Scarring from IV Use
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Emotionless
  • Indecisive
  • Loss of Motivation
  • Stealing From Loved Ones 
  • Inability Fulfill Responsibilities
  • Secrecy
  • Lying & Manipulation
  • Abnormal Behavior
  • Financial & Legal Problems

Another sign of heroin/opiate use is withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on the individual, however some common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting 
  • Insomnia
  • Heart Arrhythmia
  • Restless Legs
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle Aches and Pain
  • Anhedonia

Common routes of administration are intravenous (IV), inhalation, and insufflation (snorting). Intravenous is a direct injection using a needle into a vein. IV drug users are especially vulnerable to contracting viral infections such as Hepatitis C or HIV. Inhalation is very common for individuals first experimenting with opiates. This generally occurs by smoking by using a straw or “tutor” to inhale smoke directly off aluminum foil. There are other methods of inhalation such as vaporizing. Insufflation is another route of administration; the most common form of which is snorting. The United States is currently experiencing an opioid epidemic, as drug overdoses have become the leading cause of death, reporting that over 100 Americans die each day from a drug overdose.[2] From 2016 to 2017, the percentage of opioid or heroin related overdose deaths rose by 30%.[3] 

Most Common Opioids Include:

  • OxyContin
  • Fentanyl
  • Vicodin
  • Codeine
  • Opium
  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Tramadol
  • Lortab 
  • Percocet
  • Dilaudid 
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Norco

Long-Term Side-Effects of Heroin/Opioids Abuse:

  • Mental Health Disorders
  • Depression
  • Collapsed Veins (IV Users)
  • Infection of The Heart Lining and Valves
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Abscesses (IV Users)
  • Liver and Kidney Disease (Hep-C)
  • Pneumonia and Other Lung Complications
  • Leukoencephalopathy
  • Damaged Nasal Tissue
  • Clogged Blood Vessels
  • Damaged Hormone Level

Opiate addiction is life-threatening. If you or a loved one are at risk, please fill out the form below for a free assessment. We recommend that at-risk individuals participate in our 30-90 day program to help achieve long term sobriety.

[1]https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
[2]https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/prescription-drug-overdose/index.html
[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334822/