Heroin is a powerful opioid analgesic with highly addictive properties. Heroin addiction is a serious and complex health condition that often requires extensive medication and psychotherapeutic treatments, both during detox and rehab. While detox enables the discontinuation of drug use, rehab is always recommended as a way to address the underlying causes of heroin addiction. A range of recovery programs are available during the rehab phase of treatment, with heroin addiction requiring a multifaceted treatment approach.
If you or anyone you know is living with heroin addiction, contact the treatment specialists at Drug Rehab Centers Metuchen by dialing (732) 226-8910.
Heroin, also known as diacetylmorphine, morphine diacetate or diamorphine, is a semisynthetic opioid drug made by adding two acetyl groups to the molecule morphine. Morphine is one of three active alkaloids in the opium poppy, along with codeine and thebaine. This drug is between two and four times stronger than morphine, with its potency and fast onset of action influencing its addictive potential.
This drug is used medically in some parts of the world, where it is prescribed as a strong analgesic for acute pain conditions and chronic pain associated with terminal illnesses. It is also used as a maintenance therapy in parts of Europe for addicts who don’t respond to methadone or buprenorphine treatment. Despite its medical uses, the vast majority of heroin produced is sold on the black market, where it is known as H, smack, horse or junk and taken for its euphoric qualities.
Heroin addiction exacts a high toll on individual health and American society, with many of the problems associated with this drug related to its illegal status and addictive nature. Like most opioid drugs, this one does not produce many adverse long-term effects when taken in its pure form, other than dependence and constipation. Pure heroin is almost impossible to source, however, with most users consuming a highly adulterated and dangerous mix.
Other dangers of use are linked to intravenous administration and overdose, with users at a high risk of developing blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis bysharing of needles and poisoning themselves from contaminants. Overdose is potentially fatal, with unknown purity levels and environment-conditioned tolerance influencing overdose rates.
Most heroin is taken by intravenous injection, with this being the most effective method of administration. Some users choose to smoke the drug, with smoking more popular with occasional users and those just starting to get addicted. Other possible forms of administration include oral, snorting and suppository, although these methods are less popular because they produce a less potent effect. Injecting heroin is also known as “slamming”, “shooting up”, or “mainlining”, with some formulations of heroin requiring citric acid or lemon juice in order to dissolve correctly.
Heroin treatment includes medical detox and residential drug treatment, with detox helping people to stop drug use and rehab addressing the environmental and emotional precedents of addiction. Recovery programs consist of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy measures, with long-term medication treatment sometimes applied in the form of opioid replacement therapy.
Most rehab programs are based on behavioral, cognitive or motivational principles, with therapists helping people to change their behavior by altering maladaptive thinking patterns and engaging intrinsic motivation. Aftercare programs are also initiated following residential treatment, with relapse prevention and counseling programs sometimes needed for months or years after discontinuation.
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