With more than a million people in the United States currently addicted to heroin, we the Staff at Narconon Vista Bay feel that it is our duty to continue educating people of the serious dangers associated with heroin abuse.
So Old School
Heroin is an opiate drug derived from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian Opium Poppy Plant.
The Opium Poppy was initially discovered in 3400 B.C., and was referred to as the “Joy Plant”. It was used mainly for medicinal purposes until the 1700’s, where doctors discovered its significantly addictive properties. In 1905, the U.S. banned the use of heroin, and so began the illegal street sales of this ever so popular narcotic.
You can hear it called dope, heron, heroin, h, tar, black tar, Mexican mud, china white, smack, etc., but no matter what it goes by, the effects and outcome are undoubtedly the same. Heroin is a sticky brown or powdery white substance, depending on which coast of the United States you live on, that users inject, smoke, snort, or eat.
Once in the blood stream, heroin converts into morphine, where it then binds with opioid receptors. Opioid receptors are located throughout the brain and body, and control the perception of pain.
The user will generally feel a rush of euphoria, followed by severe dry-mouth, heaviness of the extremities, and a sense of warmth that engulfs the body. Shortly after, the user will begin to go in and out of a wakeful state, known as “the nod”.
Chronic heroin abuse can lead to many long-term health problems. Veins can become scarred and even collapsed. The blood vessels and valves of the heart often develop bacterial infections that are sometimes fatal.
Users are prone to abscesses and boils on the skin. Both liver and kidney disease are common in heroin users.
Heroin use also depresses the respiratory system and can lead to lung infections, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Another major risk for those that inject heroin is contracting diseases of the blood such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV, when sharing and using dirty needles.
One of the worst side effects of heroin use is the addiction itself. Heroin yields a severe degree of physical dependence. The body comes to require the drug, and rebels without it. Withdrawal can even occur within hours of last taking the drug.
Symptoms of withdrawal include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, and leg spasms. Unlike with alcohol, heroin withdrawal is not likely to be fatal, though when a user is coming down, they express wishing that it were.
This feeling often precipitates continued use of the drug. Withdrawal effects usually don’t last for more than a week, but have been reported lasting up to a month.
A Ghost of Existence
Heroin use, even just once, is almost like assigning one’s self a prison sentence. Once addicted, the user is putting in time scoring the drug, getting high, and scoring again.
Once addicted, the joys formerly associated with the drug, cease to exist. Once addicted, the user’s only driving force is to avoid “the sick”. The brain and the behavior are biologically changed.
Taking the First Step
With heroin addiction, the act of seeking treatment and beginning the withdrawal process can be very intense. It is common for many rehabilitation facilities or detox clinics to employ medicines to ease the discomforts of coming down.
At Narconon Drug Rehabilitation, we feel that this is detrimental to one’s recovery. Deciding to become drug free is exactly that, deciding to become drug free. At Narconon Drug Treatment Centers, while withdrawing from heroin, students are monitored by a trained withdrawal specialist.
The specialist performs various mental and physical exercises with the student, to help ease any discomforts. The role of these exercises is to help keep the student in present time, as well as helping them to use their bodies to feel better.
Students will often take short walks throughout the day, observing their surroundings, and discussing what they see and how they feel with the Withdrawal Specialist.
How to Seek Treatment
The staff at Narconon Drug Rehab, Vista Bay is ready to assist you on the road to a life free of drugs and alcohol. Please call us toll free at 1-800-556-8885 to talk with a Registered Addiction Specialist.