Historically, heroin wasn’t meant to be so destructive. People in poor health were supposed to be able to take an opiate and feel better, but it turned out to be highly addictive. There are millions of addicts worldwide, most of them using impure forms of this opium derivative, all of them putting their lives at risk no matter what level of purity the drug boasts or how strong a person thinks he or she is.
Heroin for the Masses
For more than 100 years, pharmacists have been playing with opiates in order to develop drugs which doctors can prescribe for safe use to thousands of patients with serious pain issues who come through their doors every day. Most of these individuals will take their pain medication as prescribed and walk away, not addicted but relieved to be finished with their prescription and able to cope with the pain or happy that pain has subsided.
They are car-accident and sports-injury sufferers, people in post-surgical recovery, and so on. A large group of patients suffer from chronic pain for which there is no likelihood of a cure at this time. Every day they face pain and their only relief is in the form of an opiate.
But doctors are uncomfortable prescribing Oxycontin long-term. If they won’t give patients what they want, these individuals will go to the streets looking for a supply of something like what their body craves. They are introduced to street heroin. There is no easy answer to this problem. Doctors are right to limit the supply, but patients must have access to some form of support in order to successfully wean off of narcotics while pain persists.
Not everyone takes heroin because of physical pain. Many people turn to it out of curiosity to experience a “high,” but it’s not uncommon for someone in any walk of life to choose heroin as an escape from emotional problems.
Heroin Is Injected
Although taking drugs is never pretty, heroin is one of the ugliest drugs because users inject it directly into a vein. This is one of the major reasons why heroin addiction is so dangerous.
Firstly, reports show that fatalities arise from particles in the drug blocking a person’s veins. Secondly, sharing needles leads to infection and even to contracting AIDS. On top of the risk of overdose, these factors simply add to the risks addicts face every day.
Signs of Addiction
A body is addicted to a drug when the brain ceases making its own supply of painkillers. These are naturally produced in small amounts to help individuals cope with low-level pain.
If a person takes opiates for long enough, this natural chemical is no longer produced. There is no pain minor enough for the body to handle. It takes time for one to reproduce these chemicals once more after using opiates for a while. During the gap between one last dose of heroin and the early signs of recovery, a person will go through something known as withdrawal.
The Ugly Time
A body in withdrawal is not happy about going without a particular drug. Heroin withdrawal is among the worst types. Sufferers can suffer from nausea and vomiting, physical pain, become delirious, suffer heart palpitations, sweating, and even suffer a heart attack.
The temptation to take more of the drug even with the best intention of getting off of it is very strong. Without treatment in a dedicated facility, many addicts will fail to overcome their reliance on this narcotic.
Withdrawal is a medical condition for someone with a long-standing addiction problem. One must be under full-time medical supervision until withdrawal comes to an end. After that, a person is unable to go back to family or work, not yet.
At first, a period of time at an inpatient rehab facility is strongly recommended. Participants go through counseling to find out why they took drugs initially. The root is often found in psychological distress or mental illness.
Issues such as depression PTSD, and anxiety often trigger drug use. The user believes he or she can take heroin just once, but it doesn’t work that way. Cravings are strong enough after one use to lure a person into a life of slavery to the drug.
Counselors and psychotherapists teach their students how to deal with problems in healthy ways. During this time, drug-dependent people are also recovering from malnutrition, learning to eat well, perhaps exploring the value of prayer or being put to work in order to feel like valuable citizens once more.
A lot of the facilities helping addicts recover are run by non-profit organizations. They don’t have the money for horse therapy or swimming with dolphins; their participants have to work to pay their way, if they can physically do any work.
After full-time rehab, ordinary life might be too intimidating for someone in the early stages of recovery. He or she will spend a month or more at a half-way house learning to cooperate with house mates about household jobs, looking for work, and talking regularly with a mentor. After a period of weeks, it is hoped that each person will accept the challenge of living without heroin.