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Heroin Addiction Drugs and people, man helping woman with heroin syringe

Published on May 13th, 2013 | by Dewaldt Huysamen


The Importance Of Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin is a drug that is extremely addictive and it is the most fast-acting and overly abused of the class of opiate drugs. “Opiate” is a term which is derived from the ingredients in the opium poppy plant. Morphine and prescription drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone are examples of other opiates.

Heroin consumption

Heroin typically appears as a brown or white powder and it can be smoked, injected, sniffed or snorted. The injection method is the most effective means of getting high from low-purity heroin; however, injecting heroin carries serious health risks as well. Sharing needles has led to the spread of hepatitis and HIV/AIDS among heroin users.

The anxiety surrounding the spread of diseases via needles has led a number of heroin users to snort the higher-purity variety of the drug; however, snorting the drug does not prevent the possibility of a lethal overdose. Studies have shown that all types of heroin are addictive.

The Widespread Use of Heroin

Heroin use has significantly increased ever since the mid-1990s. Recent studies have indicated that the use of heroin via injection is on the increase in South Africa. In addition, South Africa is now beginning to witness the use of heroin among the poor and disenfranchised in the township areas as well. In fact, there are young girls prostituting to support heroin addiction.

A number of the girls prostituting to support heroin addiction find themselves in that situation because of the turmoil that surrounds their lives. Weakened family bonds, social injustice and high unemployment create and environment in which casual sex, prostitution and drug use provide a means of escaping the harsh realities of their daily lives. This has unfortunately contributed to the increase in the cases of HIV/AIDS.

Short-term Effects of Heroin

Users of heroin will experience the euphoria or rush associated with using the drug after just a single dose; that feeling disappears within a few hours. Throughout “the high,” the feelings that uses experience include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Heavy legs and arms
  • A warm flush on the skin

Following the euphoric phase, the user goes “on the nod,” which is an alternate state of wakefulness and drowsiness. During this stage, it becomes difficult to carry out basic mental functions and the user exhibits signs of this altered state which include:

  • Slurred and slowed speech
  • Impaired night vision
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Slowed gait

Long-term Effects of Heroin

Heroin addiction on a continued, long-term basis has dreadful health consequences, which include:

  • Liver disease
  • Infection of the valves and lining of the heart
  • Clogging the blood vessels which lead to the brain, kidneys, liver or lungs, resulting in infection or even death
  • Different types of pneumonia and other pulmonary complications
  • Addiction and physical dependence, which includes severe withdrawal symptoms whenever the users attempt to quit

Heroin Addiction and Pregnancy

Studies have indicated that expectant mothers who battle heroin addiction could experience health complications, which include malnutrition, hepatitis, third-trimester bleeding, behavioural abnormalities and mental retardation.

A Day In The Life Of A Heroin Addict Video

The Difficultly in overcoming Heroin Addiction

One of the reasons why a number of heroin addicts are unsuccessful in their attempts to discontinue the drug use is that there are serious withdrawal symptoms, which are so unpleasant that a lot of users return to using heroin just to get rid of the awful feelings. These symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Bone and muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Severe craving for the drug
  • Goose bumps and cold flashes

The withdrawal symptoms could start as quickly as a few hours following the last heroin use and symptoms typically peak from 48 to 72 hours following the last dose. Normally, the symptoms subside completely after approximately one week.

The Answer is Heroin Addiction Treatment

There is a proven track record which shows that heroin addiction treatment assists users in overcoming their addiction and returning to healthy, happy lives. Heroin addiction treatment is critical since the process involves users receiving medications during the high detox period, which make the withdrawal symptoms a lot easier to bear.

Heroin addiction treatment is more than simply ridding the body of this savage drug. Following detox, a comprehensive drug rehab programme will assist clients with getting to the real causes of the addiction, by addressing the psychological and emotional issues which resulted in the substance abuse.

Heroin addiction devastates the lives of addicts and while the process of kicking the habit will be very difficult, it is possible for addicts to get clean and live fulfilling lives.

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About the Author

has over 10 years experience when it comes to drug abuse and substance abuse in South Africa. He has helped many people recover from drugs and many families how to cope with their addicted loved ones.

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