Heroin addiction is a problem that affects people in all areas of the United States, including Lakeland and the surrounding central Florida area. New regulations and law enforcement actions have made prescription painkillers more difficult to abuse, so addicted individuals often turn to heroin as a cheap and potent alternative to these opioid drugs.
An addiction to opioid drugs can be devastating and in some cases, deadly. Finding effective treatment is important to prevent tragedy from occurring. For treatment for yourself or a loved one who needs help, call Drug Treatment Centers Lakeland at (863) 248-8588.
Like morphine and many prescription painkillers, heroin is derived from a substance found in the poppy flower. The process of making this drug begins with the extraction of opium from the pod of the poppy. This substance is refined to create morphine; a second round of refining results in heroin. There are multiple ways to take this drug: Many users inject the drug directly into their veins and muscles, but it can be smoked or snorted as well.
Regulations have made it difficult for drug addicts to “doctor shop” for Percocet and OxyContin prescriptions. Heroin abuse has increased as a result. The manufacturers of these drugs have also reformulated the pills so that abusers cannot grind them into a powder easily. As the supply for prescription painkillers shrinks, the street opioid market has experienced a boom. Mexican drug producers are offering a cheaper and purer form of heroin, and abuse has increased dramatically among Florida residents.
Heroin is a powerful and dangerous drug, but abusers continue to seek it out for its euphoric effects. Opioid users experience a rush of good feelings caused by changes in the brain’s chemicals. This initial rush is accompanied by feelings of safety and warmth. As the pleasurable effects of the drug wear off, the rebound effect can exacerbate the feelings of anxiety and depression that may have originally contributed to an addict’s drug use.
It doesn’t take long to develop a tolerance for heroin, and abusers find themselves needing more and more of the drug in order to achieve their original high. As their addiction grows, opioid addicts need the drug to head off the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that occur when they try to go without the substance.
Withdrawal symptoms can occur within hours of going without the drug. Vomiting, diarrhea and muscle pain are common, and users are likely to experience severe cravings for the drug. Goosebumps and chills are also classic symptoms of withdrawal.
Heroin use puts people at risk for a variety of serious health problems. Long-term opioid abusers often suffer liver damage, cardiac problems and kidney failure. Collapsed veins and infections spread by contaminated needles are common consequences of injecting the drug.
Getting help in the early stages of an addiction to heroin can help head off some of these dangerous physical effects. Opioid addiction can be difficult to conquer, but long-term recovery is possible with the right treatment.
Treatment for an addiction to opioids begins with medically supervised detoxification, where patients are given the opportunity to gradually withdraw from the drug. Treatment medications can help manage the symptoms of withdrawal and curb cravings.
After withdrawal is complete, rehab usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. The treatment medications used during withdrawal may be continued during rehab to allow the patient to focus their energy on recovery.