There are many addictive substances present in society and heroin is one of them. In this article, we are going to talk about heroin and heroin addiction problem in the United States. Alongside this, we are going to cover related topics on heroin addiction to help you understand it even more.
Basics About Heroin
Heroin is a very addictive substance that’s illegally made from morphine, a natural extract derived from the seed pods of a specific poppy plant. It appears like sugar or milk powder with faint brown to white color.
Most pure heroin has a stark white crystalline form and it is sold at a high price in the black market. In terms of origin, supplies of this drug usually come from South America, while a few are coming from Southeast Asia.
How Abusers Use Heroin
If it’s a pure grade, then you can either snort or smoke it, and it’s the popular choice among beginners since they can prevent any sexually-transmitted diseases via injection.
For some users, they inject it through their veins or under their skin, and black heroin is one of the common substances used for intravenous application. It’s also called “black tar” which is largely produced in Mexico and then transported to the west side of the U.S.
Heroin Addiction in the U.S. – How Bad Is It?
Here are some statistical highlights regarding the scope of addiction to this substance in U.S. communities.
- From 1999 to 2018, around 115,000 individuals died in the U.S. due to overdose with this substance.
- On average, there are 5 deaths per 100,000 Americans due to the abuse of this illicit drug.
- Luckily, there is a decline of 1% for the abusers of this drug from 2017 to 2018
- There are around 15,000 deaths in 2018 due to overdose of this illicit substance.
- From 2016 to 2017, there was a rise in the number of abusers of this illicit drug, where most of them are aged 18 to 25 years. There were about 948,000 individuals who abused this substance in 2016.
- In terms of teen drug abuse, the 8th, 10th, and 12th graders are the prime abusers of this illicit substance.
Why Does Heroin Addiction Happen?
Most individuals abusing this illicit substance are hooked up with the pleasurable euphoric feeling derived from using it. Once this illicit opioid substance goes into your system, it targets your brain, specifically the opioid receptors, where it stimulates the secretion of dopamine.
Dopamine is a brain chemical responsible for you to feel pleasure. Likewise, it plays an important role in your ability to focus and plan.
Once your body gets dependent on the effect of this substance, you will keep wanting more, especially that your body gradually develops a tolerance from it. Consequently, you need to consume a higher dose to achieve the same euphoric level in your succeeding usage of this drug.
If you observe that you or any of your family members are showing signs of heroin addiction, then consult an addiction specialist as early as today.
Who Is At Risk of Developing A Heroin Addiction?
Anyone can develop heroin addiction, which makes it highly dangerous and alarming for society. However, it’s hard to tell which among your friends, colleagues, or family members have a greater tendency of getting it.
Nevertheless, here are some risk factors that can lead to a higher chance of being addicted to this illicit drug:
- Heavy smoker
- People who have undergone depression or anxiety disorder
- Those with a history of drug abuse besides heroin
- When someone loses their job
- Having friends, colleagues, or relatives abusing this prohibited substance
- People with experience of having risky behavior like suicide attempts and unprotected sex
If you see yourself or anyone dear to you slowly developing heroin addiction, then we recommend that you have an early intervention today. After that, you can see a doctor or addiction specialist to receive a customized recovery program.
Medical Techniques to Detect Heroin Addiction
In many states in the U.S., there are a lot of medical steps to determine if a person is suffering from substance use disorder. Typically, you or that person needs to consult with a psychologist or doctor to have a proper diagnosis and assessment.
Some of the medical steps towards identifying an addiction include blood, urine, hair, and behavioral examinations. Through this, you will receive reliable and factual evidence for the presence of heroin addiction.
Is Heroin Addiction Treatable?
Similar to alcoholism, overdose with this illicit drug can still be treated, especially when you receive an early intervention and recovery program. Alongside this, there is no all-in-one solution for having opioid addiction, so it’s going to be a multi-faceted treatment plan.
Here are the top three variables that will influence the kind of treatment you will receive from abusing heroin.
- Overall condition of your body
- The kind of drug being abused
- Presence of any co-occurring mental disorder
- The length of time you have been abusing this drug
What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Heroin Addiction?
The same with other substance use disorders, you will feel some discomfort from the withdrawal effects from stopping to intake this illicit drug. The level of discomfort will vary depending on how long you have been abusing this substance, and if you have used other drugs together with it.
To name some, here are the usual symptoms from withdrawing heroin addiction:
- Stomach pain
You will feel these symptoms when you start to undergo heroin detoxification with or without medical supervision.
What Behavioral Therapies Can Apply?
Recovering from heroin addiction doesn’t only entail treating the physical damages brought by this unhealthy doing since you will also need to correct your wrong behavior. With that, here are the three main behavioral therapies used for heroin addiction treatment programs:
- Group therapy sessions
- Individual therapy techniques
- Contingency management
By applying these behavioral therapies, we will be correcting your unhealthy behavior and mindset which motivated you to abuse this illicit substance.
If you or your family member is ready to undergo treatment, then talk to your local doctor or addiction specialist today. Get help as early as now, so you can bring back your healthy normal lifestyle.