Perhaps the most infamous opioid narcotic, heroin is a drug synthesized from morphine. The U.S. is currently in the grip of an opioid epidemic, and heroin – cheaper and often more easily obtainable than prescription opioids – has only increased in popularity. Coming in both powder form and a sticky resin known as ‘black tar” or “Mexican mud,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report heroin was responsible for over 8,000 deaths in 2013. Thankfully help can be found at a heroin treatment center.

Sovereign Health has seen the casualties of the opioid crisis first-hand. We provide expert heroin addiction treatment for women at our residential treatment facility in Chandler, Arizona.

Heroin Abuse

Addiction starts with a flower.

Sap from the Asian opium poppy plant is extracted and refined, turning it into morphine, a powerful painkiller which has been long used to treat pain. Further refining produces heroin, first manufactured at the turn of the 20th century in Germany and sold as a tuberculosis treatment.

Many opioid addicts enter into addiction after being prescribed – or recreationally using – prescription opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin. When prescriptions aren’t refilled and when obtaining the medications becomes too expensive, many addicts turn to heroin. Heroin is comparatively cheap and easy to obtain, and more powerful than most prescription narcotics.

Heroin is best known as an injectable drug, but it can also be snorted in powder form and even smoked. Heroin’s effects are devastating regardless of method. The drug is so powerful many addicts abandon jobs, school, family and even food in pursuit of the high. Injecting drugs over a long period of time can collapse veins, causing limb damage – to say nothing of the risk of hepatitis and HIV. Finally, as with any abused opioid, heroin users run a constant risk of overdose.

Signs of Heroin Abuse

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Constant sniffing
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness or feeling tired constantly

Red Flags of Heroin Abuse

  • Marks on the arms from injection sites – known as “track marks”
  • Signs of drug paraphernalia, such as discarded needles in the trash and burnt tinfoil from smoking heroin
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nodding off – a person high on heroin will often rapidly doze off

Heroin Inside the Body

Heroin works like other opioid drugs by bonding with areas of nerve cells called opioid receptors. The bonding action affects the body’s ability to feel pain. It can also result in the body producing more amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is used in the brain’s reward system. Dopamine releases create sensations of euphoria, which is the “high” many heroin users spend their lives chasing.

This rapidly becomes a fruitless chase – heroin abusers soon develop tolerance to the drug, requiring larger and larger amounts of heroin to feel the same effect. Unfortunately, larger doses of heroin mean two things: a greater chance of lethal overdose and a greater risk of addiction.

Like other opioid drugs, heroin rewires the brain in fundamental ways, teaching the brain it needs heroin to function normally. When heroin is no longer in the system, users experience severe flu-like symptoms known as withdrawal. Although rarely fatal, withdrawal symptoms are so unpleasant many users will continue to use heroin simply to stave them off.

Also, most users have to deal with the constant risk of overdose, either by misjudging their own tolerance or using a batch of heroin that is too strong, or spiked with other toxic drugs like fentanyl. Opiates dangerously slow heart rate and breathing – a person overdosing on heroin will appear to be in a deep sleep, or perhaps awake but unable to talk and respond to others.

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Heroin Addiction Recovery

Fewer drugs ruin lives as thoroughly as opioids. Addiction to heroin is so powerful it breaks up families, depletes savings and kills users daily. Sovereign Health has observed the direct effects of the opioid crisis, and provides heroin addiction treatment for women at our Chandler, Arizona treatment center.

Sovereign’s holistic philosophy of addiction means we don’t simply treat the physical symptoms of addiction. Addiction is a disease with powerful mental and physical aspects, especially for survivors of trauma. In order for treatment to be successful, both aspects must be addressed. Patients in our heroin addiction recovery program participate in traditional treatment modalities such as psychotherapy, as well as alternative methods like yoga and art therapy. The combination allows our patients to both gain new tools to deal with their problems as well as learning new things about themselves.

Why Choose Sovereign Health?

For anyone considering heroin addiction treatment centers, Sovereign Health should be their first choice. Why?

  • Our residential treatment center in Chandler specifically treats women, with a focus on the survivors of trauma and abuse
  • We’re fully accredited by the Joint Commission, America’s largest and oldest health care accreditation organization
  • We provide our patients a safe, comfortable, home-like place in which to recover

A healthier life can start today. Please call our 24/7 helpline to learn more about our heroin drug rehab.

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