Smack, skag, H, junk, white nurse, black pearl, brown crystal… all of these street names sound like they could be describing a whole host of different drugs, but they are all slang for the same infamous, highly addictive substance: Heroin.
The statistics regarding heroin addiction are truly alarming. Consider the following:
Perhaps the scariest statistic is that over 10,000 people die every year from heroin overdoses. If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, you need to do all you can to treat that addiction, before it’s too late. Make no mistake, it won’t be easy. Quitting heroin is one of the toughest challenges a person can put themselves through.
You don’t have to do it alone, though. Inspire Malibu is here to help you quit heroin.
We are one of the most experienced and effective drug treatment centers in the state of California. Recovery is nearly impossible without a high level of attention and care, as well as the support of addiction specialists in a therapeutic and secure environment, and that’s exactly what we provide.
The illegal nature of heroin makes it particularly deadly. There’s no way for a user to know how potent the heroin they’re buying is, which makes it easy to overdose because there is no standardization. And then there’s the risk of infectious diseases such as HIV being spread with shared needles.
Also, the common practice among dealers of stretching out their supply and profit margins by “cutting” heroin with other substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, quinine, and strychnine also makes illegal heroin unsafe and potentially life-threatening. Toxic contaminants or additives can and often do clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage to vital organs.
Chronic heroin users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, constipation and gastrointestinal cramping, and liver or kidney disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health of the user as well as from heroin’s effects on breathing.
Injection continues to be the predominant method of use among addicted users seeking treatment of heroin; in many areas, heroin injection is reportedly on the rise, while heroin inhalation is declining. However, certain groups, such as white suburbanites, report smoking or inhaling heroin because they believe these routes of administration are less likely to lead to addiction.
With the shift in heroin abuse patterns comes an even more diverse group of users. In recent years, the availability of higher purity heroin (which is more suitable for inhalation) and the decrease in price reported in many areas has increased the appeal of heroin for new users who are reluctant to inject.
Whatever the delivery method, heroin quickly moves through the body and binds to a person’s opioid receptors located in the brain. Many of these receptors control the brain’s ability to distinguish pain and reward. This can create a false sense of well-being, and is the reason why heroin is so dangerously habit forming.
Regular users of heroin develop a tolerance, which means that more and more heroin is needed to achieve the same intensity of sensation. About 23% of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it, dependence meaning that the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug in the body, and if the individual suddenly ceases using the drug, they will likely experience unpleasant or even dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
50% – 70% of intravenous heroin users have experienced non-fatal overdoses. Smoking and snorting the drug is just as risky when it comes to overdosing. No heroin use can be considered safe because, as we previously stated, the drug also affects opioid receptors located in the brain stem. This area of the brain runs processes vital to life, such as blood pressure and breathing, which is why respiratory failure is a common cause in countless fatal heroin overdoses.
Inspire Malibu is one of the leading treatment centers for heroin rehab and detox. By using the most modern methods for heroin detox, clients are gradually, safely and comfortably tapered off heroin.
Withdrawal from heroin is known to start in as little as 6 – 12 hours from a user’s last dose. When heroin withdrawal sets in, an addict can expect to experience at least some of the following symptoms:
If performed properly, heroin detox can be successfully completed in 5 – 7 days. However, some users can experience symptoms for weeks, or even months. This is known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). It’s believed that this syndrome might be due to physiological changes in the central nervous system associated with continual abuse and should be monitored during heroin detoxification.
Heroin addiction can be successfully treated. The addiction specialists at Inspire Malibu are leading this charge with cutting edge scientific treatment that combines behavioral therapies and non-12 step recovery services. This incredibly effective approach has, time and time again, proven successful in helping addicts quit heroin.
Inspire Malibu recognizes that every one of our patients in treatment for heroin addiction is different. As such, we take an individualized approach to treating addiction, with the first step in our treatment process being a full analysis of the patient and determining which treatments will work best (as well as which treatments are likely to be less than effective).
In most cases, we use medication-assisted therapy to get the patient through detox, and then after detox to minimize cravings and help patients manage their withdrawal symptoms.
We frequently use Suboxone for heroin addiction. Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is an opiate partial agonist, meaning that it “scratches the itch,” so to speak, of an opioid addict craving heroin without doing the damage that a full opiate agonist like heroin does. Suboxone is a recent addition to the array of medications now available for the treatment of heroin addiction, and it’s different from the similar and better-known medication methadone in that it offers less risk of addiction and overdose, and it’s able to be prescribed in the privacy of a doctor’s office.
To fight physical addiction, it’s necessary to address the underlying personal reasons for heroin use, such as childhood trauma, depression, etc. Inspire Malibu helps patients overcome their heroin addiction and get their life back on track. In addition to medication-based therapy, our other methods include: