How Heroin Addiction Impacts Society

Heroin Addiction in the United States

Heroin is one of the most addictive substances on the planet.

The drug itself is made from the Asian poppy plant though it is readily available throughout the United States to those who seek it. It is typically injected with a needle though it can be snorted through the nose or smoked. The idea is that doing these things allows the affects of the drug to reach the brain quickly. Unfortunately, the “high” isn’t the only problem that goes along with heroin addiction. In fact, the severe long and short-term health issues associated with heroin are just as problematic as the risks of overdosing on the drug. 

When seeking treatment for heroin addiction, it is important to work with a heroin treatment center in LA that addresses not only the psychological and emotional aspects of addiction, but also the devastating health consequences as well.

The unfortunate reality is that many Americans find their way to using heroin due to dependencies on prescription opioids, such as Vicodin and OxyContin. In fact, 80 percent of those who use heroin used these other drugs before moving on to heroin1. As a result, the responses to the problems of heroin and prescription drugs, such as opioids, have been intertwined in many treatment programs, public initiatives to address the growing health problems, and prevention efforts.

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backyard at Harmony Place backyard at Harmony Place


backyard at Harmony Place backyard at Harmony Place


backyard at Harmony Place backyard at Harmony Place

Crystal Meth

backyard at Harmony Place backyard at Harmony Place


backyard at Harmony Place backyard at Harmony Place


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How Addictive is Heroin?

Part of the appeal of heroin is the euphoric rush associated with use of the drug. For some people, they are hooked from the first high. Unfortunately, it rarely takes long for the negative effects of short-term heroin use to kick in. These include side effects, such as:

  • Extreme itchiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Brain fog
  • “Nodding” (refers to a trancelike state people enter into for many hours after the heroin enters the brain)

If you notice these signs in yourself or people you love and suspect heroin use, intervene as quickly as you can by encouraging them to get help for their addiction. The costs of delaying could be more than anyone is willing to pay and the consequences can be deadly serious.

People who regularly use heroin require greater amounts and more frequent dosing in order to achieve the same euphoric experience, which is the desired effect for most users. Long-term use of heroin can cause a wide range of problems with health, job performance, academic achievement, and family and interpersonal relationships.

Of course, none of these things diminish the incredible risk of overdose for heroin users, especially those who mix heroin with other drugs, like opioids.

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The Heroin Epidemic in America

In 2018, heroin was involved in nearly 15,000 overdose deaths in the United States. To put it into perspective, that is five deaths for every 100,000 Americans2. Heroin has also been identified as one of the most important drug issues affecting both urban and rural areas throughout the country3.

This determination occurred only after it was noted that heroin use had moved from a problem affecting large urban areas almost exclusively to one that affected suburbs and rural communities as well. On a more positive note, the number of people between the ages of 18 and 25 seeking treatment for heroin use and addiction increased dramatically between 2008 and 2012 – from 11 percent to 26 percent3. While it is certainly disturbing that heroin addictions are this prevalent, the fact that people are reaching out for treatment is a silver lining in a very dark cloud.

Because heroin is so addictive and so potentially deadly, it is important for people who believe they may have a dependence on the drug to seek help as quickly as possible and as often as necessary. There is no need to suffer the worst of your withdrawal symptoms on your own – especially when there are so many options available to help ease you through the process.

The Physical Effects of Heroin Addiction

Dependence, Addiction & Withdrawal

Heroin can cause great harm to the body including overdose.

As discussed above, part of the problem with dependence on heroin involves the law of diminishing returns. As people become accustomed to using the drug, their bodies require more and more of the drug to provide the desired outcome.

With prolonged use, or at the very least, consistent use over a sustained timeframe, it is quite likely you’ve developed a heroin dependence. That means that your brain has adjusted to regular “doses” of the drug and requires a certain amount in its system. If you stop taking heroin for some reason, you are likely to experience harsh withdrawal symptoms.

The combination of needing steady supplies of heroin combined with the increasing dosage requirements to recreate the high is especially problematic for multiple reasons, including:

  • Greater risks of overdosing.
  • Rapid progression from snorting or smoking to injecting, which is far riskier.
  • Increased risk of skin infections, heart problems, blood-borne illnesses, and other health consequences.
  • Greater risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms should they attempt to quit without medical assistance.

Ultimately, the more you use heroin, the greater you need to continue using heroin becomes. As that occurs, the risks to your health, relationships, finances, and your life increase as well. Getting help from a qualified heroin treatment center in Los Angeles that offers patient-focused holistic addiction treatment options can change the course of a life.

When do you need treatment for heroin dependence?

If you experience the following symptoms after going a long time between “fixes” then you may be experiencing early withdrawal symptoms, indicating you need help in overcome your dependence on the drug. Symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Increased tearing of the eyes
  • Muscle aches
  • Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Sore muscles
  • Inability to sleep
While unpleasant, to say the least, these are mild symptoms associated with heroin withdrawals. Some of the more severe symptoms may indicate a more immediate need for assistance. They include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chills
  • Pupil dilation
While these symptoms by themselves are not necessarily life threatening, without medically supervised detoxification, they can prove fatal – and have in the past.
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    Medication-Assisted Treatment for Heroin Addiction

    When it comes to heroin addiction treatment, medication assisted treatment helps patient with some of the more unpleasant withdrawal symptoms while they go through the detoxification process. Fortunately, it is a relatively short process when it comes to getting rid of the heroin remaining in your body and dealing with the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.

    Even better, there are many different medications that can be used to help address the patient’s needs as he or she goes through the withdrawal process. In the event of severe withdrawal symptoms, the best course of action may be to go through the process at a hospital, though many drug treatment centers, like Harmony Place offer facilities designed to provide medication assisted treatment for heroin addiction withdrawals. Depending on each patient’s unique situation and treatment needs any of these heroin withdrawal medicationsmay be used:

    • Methadone
    • Buprenorphine
    • Clonidine
    • Naltrexone
    • Absolutely the best recovery center around.

      I am forever grateful to have had this experience. I would recommend anyone who wanted help to come here. This place literally saved my life. I have overcome so many obstacles that always stood in the way of my recovery. It’s not just because I was ready… the approaches the therapists use come from an empathetic, compassionate, and understanding place. They were able to hold the mirror up and help guide me through making solid changes.

      Daniel H.
      August 2017
    • This place literally saved my life.

      After overdosing, my parents forced me to check into rehab.After interviewing many other facilities, I decided to go to Harmony Place from my home in Phoenix. I was struggling with…a drug addiction and had been trying for years to recover. In the past, left 2 treatment centers AMA and 1 AWOL. I had very negative experiences in the other treatment facilities, especially with my therapists, so I didn’t go in with an open mind or good attitude- even though they worked with my parents regarding finances. However, the staff was patient with me. The techs were kind, knowledgeable, and many were in recovery themselves.

      Mary M.
    • They Answered on the First Call

      When I called Harmony Place…I knew immediately that this was the right place for my child… Harmony Place is specifically designed for…and tailored to providing a safe environment. The staff [are knowledgeable and some are in recovery]. The staff knew each client and were on top of each client’s progress. Harmony Place has a small clientele and each client are able to receive all the help they were entitled to. I would recommend Harmony Place to anyone who is looking for a small setting… My daughter is currently going into sober living and her counselors did a wonderful job in finding a right fit for her – affordable, safe and a good environment for her.

    • I’ve Been Searching for the Perfect Words…

      I left Harmony Place in August of 2015 and I have been searching for the perfect words to describe my experience during my stay; and still I can’t really find them. How do you really describe a place with a staff and a program that saved you? Addiction is a terrible thing to go through and a heart breaking thing for your loved ones to watch. Many people, including myself go into different treatment centers throughout their addiction searching for ways to find recovery. Nothing worked for me, not the 5 rehab stays I had, then, I came here.

      Dominique C.
    How Heroin Addiction Impacts Society

    How to Know If You Need Heroin Addiction Treatment?

    The odds are good that if you’re entertaining the thought, you’ve had some degree of difficulty putting the drug down and walking away for good. Seeking help to overcome addiction isn’t a sign of weakness. Addiction is a health condition that millions of Americans have in common.

    Most people wouldn’t think twice about seeking medical treatment for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and countless other health conditions. It should be no different when it comes to seeking medical help to treat your addiction.

    Harmony Place is proud to offer a wide range of holistic treatment options from compassionate staff members who understand the physical and psychological challenges of effectively treating heroin and other opioid addictions.

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    Options for Heroin Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles, California

    There are many different types of heroin addiction treatments available. Some are more effective than others. At Harmony Place, we believe the most effective treatment for heroin addiction involves a combination of residential drug addiction treatment and medication assisted treatment followed up with varying degrees of outpatient treatment methods depending on your circumstances.

    Of course, we understand that not everyone has the means, the time, or the availability to enter into full residential treatment programs. That is why we work with each individual patient to address their needs and see if we can be of assistance on an outpatient basis for people living in Los Angeles or if we feel you need the benefits a residential program has to offer instead.

    We also understand that each person and each addiction is unique. Whether you experience both acute and subacute withdrawals (subacute withdrawals can last weeks or even months) or you only have to deal with a few days of intense withdrawal symptoms, we are there to help our patients every step of the way.

    Outpatient treatment is another option to consider for those who need assistance overcoming heroin addiction but are reluctant to consider residential treatment options.

    While residential treatment is far more effective, that doesn’t mean that outpatient treatment options aren’t viable choices for some patients. Our outpatient options vary in intensity and we will work with you to determine the degree of intensity that will best meet your needs. Some patients may require partial hospitalization, especially throughout the detox process while others can go through treatment on a completely outpatient basis. Let us see how we can help you today.

    Heroin addiction is no small thing to overcome. We believe you need every possible tool available in your arsenal to fight this battle. We offer a wide range of educational and psychotherapy treatment programs to help you gather all your tools around you. The following are among the programs we offer as part of our heroin addiction treatment process:

    • Individual and group psychotherapy
    • Psycho-educational groups.
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy
    • Family therapy
    • Motivational enhancement therapy
    • Holistic and experiential activities
    • Healthy living practices

    Of course, this is not a one-size-fits-all program. We’ll work with individual patients to create a unique treatment plan designed to address their experiences, needs, and challenges.

    • Methadone
    • Buprenorphine
    • Clonidine
    • Naltrexone
    5-Star Rated Heroin Addiction is Possible

    Recovery from Heroin Addiction is Possible

    Heroin addiction no longer has a face. It’s in the city, in the county, and all points between. It affects housewives, business professionals, suburban moms, teens, and more. If you are struggling with the rigors of heroin addiction and want to break the chains for good, contact our heroin rehab in Los Angeles today by calling 855-652-9048 to learn about our program for treating heroin addiction and how it might help you.

    1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2019).

    2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020).

    3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2018).

    4. U.S. National Library of Medicine (Medline Plus) (2020).