The Myths and Facts About Heroin
Knowing someone who is hooked on any narcotic is nothing short of a crisis. Heroin addiction is no exception. However, while it is a crisis, and while heroin addiction is no small matter, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding the use of heroin. Beyond the facts—of which there are many—are a lot of myths regarding heroin use, and many of those myths are being regarded as facts. Therefore, it becomes necessary to know what is factual in this discussion before getting carried away when trying to solve the problem.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin, also known as diacetylmorphine and diamorphine among other names, is an opioid used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. It is derived mainly from the morphine alkaloid found in the opium poppy plant and is roughly 2 to 3 times more potent than regular morphine.
While it is typically injected into the veins, heroin can also be smoked, snorted, or inhaled. The onset of effects is usually rapid and lasts for a few hours. This is usually followed by extreme drowsiness and sometimes dangerously slowed respiratory function.
Heroin brings with it a number of side effects, both long-term and short-term.
The short term side effects of heroin use include:
- Skin flushing
- Severe itching
- Dry mouth
The long term side effects of heroin use include:
- Chemical imbalances in the brain
- Oral health issues
- Weakened immune system
- Nutrition imbalances/deficiencies
And, of course, the worst scenario of the use of heroin untreated may result in the ultimate death of its user.
Myths Surrounding The Use of Heroin
Heroin no doubt is very dangerous. But, like we just mentioned, there are a lot of myths surrounding that danger. One’s that would suggest that certain methods of using heroin or certain ages using heroin are more or less dangerous than others. Let’s see if that’s really true.
Myth #1: Heroin is Less Dangerous When Smoked or Snorted
This could not be further from the truth. Heroin is deadly and highly addictive regardless of how it is used. It is dangerous on all fronts. The only difference is that there is less of a risk factor in contracting HIV when snorting vs. injecting, just in case the needle is infected.
However, this does not guarantee any safety in any possible transmission of HIV, given that users under the influence of heroin lose much of their rational thought while under the influence and things are bound to happen.
Myth #2: Heroin is Only Abused by Older Drug Users
For many years a large percentage of heroin users were aged 30 or older, but that number is changing. Some recent trends are showing that heroin use is increasing for young adults 18 years of age and older. The “upside” of this ironically is the need to educate the younger generation about drugs before they get their hands on them.
Myth #3: Methadone Is More Harmful than Heroin
Methadone is safer by nature because it is prescribed and administered by medical professionals in a controlled environment, unlike heroin which is uncontrolled and never prescribed by any medical professional.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist used for opioid maintenance therapy in opioid dependence and for chronic pain management. This already debunks this myth since Methadone’s purpose is to help those who are struggling with heroin addiction.
Methadone has been used since the 1960s to treat heroin addiction, and it remains an excellent treatment option for the addiction. It is definitely not more harmful than heroin. It should be noted though that this does not change the fact that methadone itself is also addictive and makes its use controversial as a treatment for heroin addiction.
Myth #4: Heroin Users Become Instantly Addicted
This has never been substantiated. While heroin is considered the most addictive of drugs, it does not in any way cause its users to become addicted after a single-use. It usually takes months to become physically addicted to heroin. The fact is that heroin is a street drug that many users find more readily accessible than prescription drugs, which is probably why it is considered the most addictive. If addicted, withdrawal symptoms during detox tend to be severe.
Myth #5: Abstinence is an Appropriate Treatment Option for Heroin Addiction
This would be true if most heroin users could simply get up one day and abstain. The fact stands that as much as a heroin addict may want to quit, very few individuals can quit on their own accord. Really being able to quit requires one to enter a proper drug rehab program, like one in Harmony Place, where a caring, highly-trained staff provides all phases of the heroin rehab.
Myth #6: All Heroin Rehab Programs Are Alike
This may be the biggest myth out of all of them. It goes without saying that no two rehab programs are the same and no two rehab programs are equally effective. At Harmony Place, we offer an array of rehab programs ranging from sub-acute detox, residential programs, outpatient programs, PHP, and more (see further for more details).
The specific needs and conditions of a specific patient help a competent medical professional determine which program is the most suited. Consultation with a doctor and/or mental health professional is always a must. No one should ever assume that every program is exactly the same. It may do more harm than good to just pick any program at random.
Is Heroin Addiction Curable?
There is always hope to be healed from any addiction and heroin is no exception. Preferably, there should be:
- Early intervention via an experienced physician
- The firm resolve of the patient to be healed
- A solid rehab program that is tailor-made for the specific needs of that patient
After debunking all the myths about heroin and telling you the facts, one has to know the many options available to them. This will enable them to once again become real functioning members of society, free of their problems and anxieties, emotionally fit, and ready to take on life. The quicker you run to get help, the sooner you will be back on your feet, free of your addiction.
Can I Try To Detox From Heroin on My Own?
Absolutely do not try to detox from heroin on your own! The effects will simply be horrible for you and everyone else involved.
Everything revolving around heroin detox and therapy requires a lot of direction from a proper medical authority. Withdrawal symptoms from heroin include:
- Runny nose
- Rapid heart rate
- Chills and sweating
- Muscle aches and spasms
- Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
Withdrawal symptoms from opioids are difficult to manage on your own. This may result in the patient going back to using heroin to relieve the symptoms before the detox is complete.
How Harmony Place Can Help
At Harmony Place, we offer you the most comprehensive personalized addiction and detox programs to help you or your loved one deal with their heroin addiction. Here at Harmony Place, our skilled licensed treatment providers have only one main goal in mind. And that is helping you find effective, long-term recovery with exceptional care.
The Harmony Place Drug and Alcohol Rehab Los Angeles Programs include:
- Sub-Acute Detox (helping people who don’t have a high risk of experiencing intense or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms but still may have detox needs)
- Residential Program (a 24-hour, live-in, seven-day-a-week treatment program offering intensive rehab to individuals who are considered unable to live or work in the community due to disabilities resulting from substance abuse)
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment (a method of treatment in which a person is diagnosed with both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder)
- Outpatient Programs (medical procedures or tests that can be done in a medical center without an overnight stay)
- Transitional Care
- Recovery Homes
- Alumni and Aftercare
Help is around the corner. Don’t let this sit another day. The pure facts about heroin are that it is destructive, disruptive, and causes every ounce of dysfunction in the life of the one who uses it and their loved ones. You cannot go on like this. As we talked about earlier, the long-term effects of heroin are simply devastating, causing the worst mental issues that can be irreversible if not dealt with immediately.
Your physical health is important. Your emotional health is important. In short, you are important, and you cannot let yourself go to waste.
Our devoted team of licensed and experienced therapists, doctors, nurses, and more are ready to help you as soon as you reach out. Your journey to emotional freedom from addiction is almost complete. Your joy will know no bounds. Reach out to us today to make it your reality. You will never be able to stop thanking us.