Heroin 2019-03-21T12:32:19+00:00

Heroin Rehab in Colorado

Heroin Rehab in Colorado

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Top Heroin Rehab in Colorado

Many illicit drugs are known to be highly addictive, and heroin is one of them. Heroin is a type of an opiate drug that brings strong effects in the brain’s reward system. Understanding how the brain works helps us to know why heroin is so addictive. The brain has a pathway called the limbic system which is responsible for giving feelings of pleasure and ease. There are chemicals and receptors that respond to each other in order to activate these pathways.

In a typical person, the reward system may be activated through a variety of activities such as getting a promotion, winning a game, or having a relationship. Heroin tries to rig this system by stimulating the release of dopamine in the brain in highly unnatural ways. The brain gets used to this strong sense of pleasure that it signals the user to keep on using the drug.

 Understanding heroin

Heroin is also known as diamorphine, acetomorphine, and morphine diacetate in other names. It is originally derived from the morphine found in certain types of poppy plants. The drug was originally intended to cure symptoms of pain prior to being a controlled substance.

How long does heroin last?

Shooting heroin in the body shows rapid effects that can last for hours. The speed of the effects can depend on the method of administration. Heroin is taken by snorting, smoking, or injecting. It usually comes in a white or brownish powder form mixed with ingredients such as milk, sugars, or quinine. In other less known varieties, users choose black tar heroin. Black tar heroin tends to be more potent and offer a longer lasting high. It is usually smoked or injected.

 The popularity of heroin as an illicit substance is due to its intense effects. It can bring a heightened and strong state of euphoria, which is associated to the chemical component called 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM) and morphine in the brain. The 6-MAM is responsible for the rapid absorption of the drug in the body.

 In the United States, heroin is not considered a medically useful drug. However, in some areas such as United Kingdom, heroin can still be medically used for acute pain. The drugs can be given intravenously for patients who are suffering from physical trauma, myocardial infarction, post-surgery, or chronic pain.


What does heroin look like?

On a physical level, heroin can come in many forms. It is a sub-synthetic product that is a crude version of diamorphine. When purified, it comes in a white powder form. Some heroin variants can also come is a brownish powder form, when some impurities are left behind. Black tar heroin is a sticky, dark substance that can be injected intravenously or smoked.

 On a chemical level, heroin has a molecular structure of C21H23NO5 . The drug is produced through the acetylation of crude morphine, hence its other name acetomorphine.

What are the Signs of Heroin Use?

Addiction to heroin can be spotted if you are wary of its signs. Like any other drug, there is a risk of dependency to heroin if treatment is not done immediately. Some signs that you or your loved one may include:

  •  Continued use despite having physical problems: people with a heroin dependency can’t help but use the drug even if they experience bodily or personal problems related to its use.
  •  Trying and failing to quit drug use: heroin is a highly addictive drug. Many users find themselves wanting to quit but feeling stuck due to their dependency.
  •  Intense cravings for the drug: these intense cravings might make them do virtually anything to help them acquire heroin.
  •  Feeling sick without the drug: Those struggling with a heroin abuse disorder will notice that they experience significant withdrawal symptoms when they do not use.
  •  Increased drug tolerance: a person that persistently uses drugs may gradually begin using higher doses to experience the same high that they experienced before.

 Alternatively, a person may be considered a functional drug addict, without showing signs of abuse. This condition, however, does not last very long when heroin is used continually.

What are the Physical Symptoms of Heroin Use>

If you or your loved one is using heroin, here are some possible physical signs of its use:

  •  Relief from pain and anxiety: heroin is often used to eradicate the symptoms of pain and anxiety. There is an immediate sense of relief and ease after taking the drug.
  •  Flushing of the skin: the initial sign that you will see in a upon having heroin the drug would be an immediate flushing of the skin. You can notice a reddish or pinkish color of the cheeks as well as the arms and legs.
  •  Elevated body temperature: the person may experience a feverish temperature as an immediate effect of heroin.
  •  Nausea and vomiting: first-time or new users would experience nausea and vomiting after taking a potent dose of the drug.
  •  Itching: heroin also blocks the pain receptors. For some reason, a person may feel itchy or numb due to the heroin’s effect.

What are the Long-term effects of heroin use?

Due to its highly addictive component and potency, heroin has many debilitating long-term effects with continued use. Many persistent heroin users may experience:

  •  Deterioration of the brain’s white matter: the brain is made up of white matter, which constitute the amount and quality of neurons. Continued heroin use can affect the brain’s neural capacity, making it difficult for the person to retain memory, regulate emotions, or perform tasks that they initially were able to do.
  •  Withdrawal symptoms: the gradual tolerance for the drug makes it difficult for heroin users to stay stagnant with their dosage. In lower dosages, many may experience withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, loss of focus, restlessness, agitation, and paranoia.
  •  Heart and respiratory problems: heroin’s short-term effects include the slowing down of the heartbeat as well as breathing. When used continually, a heroin addict may experience tachycardia or irregular heartbeat. This can be coupled with poor respiratory function due to a collapsed lung during drug use.

Heroin Abuse Statistics:

Heroin abuse statistics

The following are statistics related to heroin use:

  •  In 2016, there are a total of 948,000 Americans who have used heroin.
  • There is a growing trend for heroin use since 2007.
  • The majority of heroin users are teenagers and young adults, ages 18-25.
  • The amount of first-time heroin users have doubled in 2016 (170,000 new users) compared to the statistics in 2009 (90,000 new users).
  • People diagnosed with heroin use disorder jumped from 214,000 in 2002 to 626,000 in 2016.
  • Heroin use is now predominantly seen in suburban and rural communities.
  • Heroin rehabilitation has increased from 11% in 2008 to 26% in 2012.
  • This substance is considered one of the top concerns the US drug abuse issue, alongside prescription opioids.
  • Heroin use has been declining for children and teens ages 12-17, with only 1% of the population since 1991.
  • In 2016, 15,500 Americans died from heroin-related overdose.
  • In 2016, the most common population suffering from overdose are males ages 25-44, with a 17% increase from 2015.


Heroin overdose

Those with heroin addiction may experience the risk of having an overdose. Overdose depends on the person’s weight, bodily tolerance, and previous experience with the drug. Typically, a 170 lb person who uses heroin may experience overdose at around 75mg up to 350 mg depending on their tolerance and previous use.

 Accidental overdose happens when street drug versions of heroin vary in their purity. The range can differ from 11% to 72%, making heroin overdose highly likely. It is also possible to overdose when a person uses heroin after a long period of abstinence. Some signs of drug overdose include:

  •  Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Weak pulse
  • Dry mouth
  • Discoloration of the tongue
  • Coma
  • Bluish color of skin and nails
  • Constipation
  • Muscle spasms 

If you notice these signs, it is best to seek help immediately by calling emergency hospital services or 911. Drug overdose can lead to death.

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The dangers of heroin

Heroin presents itself as a form of recreational drug, but this substance thought of as a way to experience feelings of pleasure can turn deadly. In summary, there are many dangers associated to heroin:

Danger to one’s brain: People under the influence of heroin may experience brain damage due to continued use. A heroin addict before and after drug abuse may experience symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients.

Danger to one’s body: Drug abuse can bring several health complications. As an individual gets used to taking heroin continuously, they may neglect several aspects of their health such as nutrition, physical activity, and rest. The lack of good health habits can cause many problems such as malnutrition, cardiovascular weakness, skin and teeth problems, as well as diseases related to nutrient deficiency.

Danger to one’s personal and social life: The faces of heroin does not only appear physically, but it can also bring changes emotionally and socially. Heroin abuse can take over a person’s life–it can make a person lose interest in building relationships, seeking employment, or even other activities that they once enjoyed. This may create feelings of isolation, which leads to a cycle of depression and continued drug use.

 Heroin and other drugs

Heroin is already a potent drug in itself, but there are still a population of users who abuse it with a variety of other substances. This condition is called dual or multiple addictions, which are common for long-term drug users. Here are some effects of heroin with other drugs:

  •  Heroin with alcohol: heroin is known to slow down respiratory and circulatory processes. Alcohol is considered a depressant–this means that it can also slow down mental and bodily processes. When combined, these substances can be lethal due to potentially doubled toxicity in the body.
  • Heroin with cocaine: the use of heroin and cocaine is colloquially known as “speedballing”. This is a process to increase feelings of euphoria and to balance the effects of both the drugs. Heroin is a depressant while cocaine is a stimulant. This is a dangerous process as a person might accidentally take higher dosages of both drugs to achieve a desired effect, leading to overdose.
  • Heroin with methamphetamine: heroin and meth use has a similar purpose with those combining it with cocaine. There is a potential risk of the body being overworked due to different durations of the drugs’ effects. The combination can cause irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, or rupture of the blood vessels.

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 Recognizing a heroin addiction

Heroin addiction can be quite different and more intense, as one hit can potentially make someone continually abuse the drug. As a result, there are many telltale signs that someone is using heroin:

Desire to be alone more often: In some instances, there is a shame associated with the use of heroin. Thus, a person abusing it may find ways to be alone, locked up in a room, and wanting more privacy than usual.

Drug paraphernalia seen in trash baskets and containers: A person using the heroin may quickly dispose of the things they use to administer–things such as spoons, tin foils, blades, and pipes may be seen in trash bags and other places.

Loss of money: An individual may quickly end up losing cash as they use it to acquire heroin. They might ask for money, steal other people’s money, or sell things in exchange for cash to pay for the addiction.

 Use of deodorizers, colognes, and perfumes: Heroin has a specific smell that can be recognized even by those not exposed to it. As an attempt to cover up, some people may use a lot of deodorizers to mask the smell of drug use.

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Heroin addiction treatment

If you or a loved one is suffering from heroin addiction, know that you are not alone. Many people are seeking treatment to help recover from drug addiction. Here are some of the common processes that involve heroin addiction treatment:

 Heroin detox:

Detoxification is the first step to heroin treatment. This process involves medically-assisted detoxifying process that removes the residual heroin in the body. This helps reduce the effects of heroin withdrawal.

 Can heroin withdrawal kill you?

In some instances, yes. This is why self-detox may not be advisable for other people, especially those who are already long-term users. It is recommended to see a professional when it comes to heroin addiction treatment.

 Rehabilitation program

After the heroin detox process, the individual can start with a rehabilitation program which can either be in-house or at-home. Depending on the severity of the condition, people may be given nutritional plans, healthy habits, and other recreational activities they can incorporate with their changing lifestyle.

 Support groups

Heroin drug abuse recovery is challenging to go through alone. There are many support groups that individuals can attend to get accountability, mentorship, and encouragement from people who tread on the same journey in addiction recovery.

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