The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports opioid use is a significant risk factor in whether someone goes on to develop a heroin addiction. The problem is so prevalent that 80 percent of heroin users started with a prescription painkiller.
In 2017, nearly 494,000 people in the United States reported using heroin within the past year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. From 2010 to 2017, heroin-related overdose deaths across the nation more than quintupled, making heroin one of the primary contributors to the opioid epidemic.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is an illegal substance that belongs to a category of drugs called opioids, which derive from morphine. Morphine occurs naturally in opium, the sap inside the seed of the poppy plant. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has classified it as a Schedule I drug, having determined heroin has no acceptable medical use and a high potential of causing abuse.
Morphine-based drugs like opioids and heroin affect the reward circuits in the brain by releasing a flood of a powerful neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is essentially the body’s feel-good chemical. The euphoria it creates establishes a link between use of the drug and positive feelings, which is what makes these drugs so dangerously addictive. The longer you take them, the deeper you will fall into the clutches of addiction. Without regular use of morphine-based drugs, someone with a physical dependence will begin to experience cravings and side effects, some of which can be extremely painful.
Why Do People Abuse Heroin?
Like other opioids, heroin provides pain relief, but that’s not the reason most people begin to misuse it. Heroin creates a peaceful, relaxed sensation, and it can also provide short-term relief from stress, anxiety or depression.
Other opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, produce the same effects. However, heroin costs less than prescription opioids, and is also easier to obtain. Many states have enforced stricter laws governing how long doctors can prescribe their patients to use opioid-based medications – for example, in Massachusetts, there is a seven-day limit on first-time opioid prescriptions. People who have become dependent on opioid medications may start using heroin when they can no longer get a legal prescription from their doctor. In one recent survey, people in opioid rehabilitation said easy availability was one of the primary factors driving their decision to start using heroin.
Overcoming Heroin Addiction With Detox
When people develop a heroin addiction, the drug becomes the focal point of their lives. Activities they formerly enjoyed lose importance as the addiction grows increasingly stronger. They often believe they will struggle with their addiction forever, and they can’t see a way to escape. But heroin detoxification can help people avoid overdosing and provide the first step in a drug rehabilitation plan that allows them to rebuild their lives.
At Inland Detox, we provide a comfortable, safe environment where you can begin to get healthy again. Our California heroin detox facility offers 24/7 medical monitoring to help manage the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms of long-term heroin use. Don’t allow yourself or someone you love to become one more statistic of the opioid epidemic. Get in touch with us today.