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There are many symptoms and warning signs common among those struggling from heroin abuse. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following, it may be necessary to seek treatment for heroin addiction:
Over the course of a few years, heroin addiction in the United States has transformed from a concerning issue into a widespread epidemic. The extremely addictive and powerful drug has been on the rise and more people are using it than ever before. Heroin overdose death rates continue to climb, as thousands of people fall victim each year.
Heroin use has increased substantially over the last decade among most demographics throughout the United States. Demographic groups that have had historically low rates of heroin use, such as women, high income individuals and the privately insured, have seen significant spikes in usage rates. Young adults have especially fallen victim to the substance. Heroin use among 18-25 year old’s has more than doubled within the past decade.
Any stereotype you may have about the type of person that would use heroin: throw out the window. Heroin’s reach is becoming larger and larger each day, and you or a loved one could be next.
Heroin is a synthetic opioid drug made from morphine that produces euphoric effects. Common street names include dope, smack, H, and black tar. It comes as a white or brown powder or a sticky, black goo (black tar heroin). Heroin can be injected into the blood stream with a needle, snorted up the nose or smoked. All of these methods send it to the brain very quickly, making it very addictive.
People tend to use heroin along with other drugs or alcohol. One common mixture is heroin with crack cocaine, a practice referred to as speedballing. Doing heroin by itself is already quite dangerous, but mixing it with other substances is especially dangerous as it increases the risk of overdose or death.
Opioids, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, are commonly used in medicine to relieve pain. These drugs act on opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and body to produce morphine-like effects. If taken over a short period of time and as prescribed by a doctor, prescription opioids are generally safe. Unfortunately, misuse of painkillers is becoming an ever-increasing issue due to people becoming addicted to the euphoric effects of the drugs.
Heroin is a highly addictive synthetic opioid. Like prescription opioids, it produces intense feelings of euphoria. The cost for heroin is relatively low compared to opioid pain killers, and the availability and purity of the illegal substance in the U.S. has increased. These have been acknowledged as possible factors that have contributed to the increase of heroin use.
Regular use of heroin can also cause the user to build a tolerance, meaning they need to take more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect. Taking higher doses of heroin over time causes the body to become dependent, which makes the user have withdrawal symptoms whenever they stop taking it. This can further worsen an individual’s addiction to heroin.
While addiction to painkillers certainly plays a significant role on heroin addiction (45% of heroin users were also addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers), they are not the lone culprit. Many believe heroin addiction is a part of a much bigger substance abuse problem in this country. Most people who use heroin have also used 1-3 other drugs. Being addicted to another substance can substantially increase your chances of becoming addicted to heroin: