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Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin (smack, junk, horse, China white, etc.) is a derivative of the poppy plant, as are morphine, codeine and opium. Heroin can be smoked, snorted or injected, but regardless of the manner in which it is used, heroin’s effects are rapid and dramatic. While heroin is the most commonly abused opiate drug, the abuse of the prescription opioid oxycodone has also reached epidemic proportions. Opioids are synthetically manufactured prescription pain relievers that reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect the areas of the brain controlling emotions.1 Research indicates a close tie between prescription opioid abuse and later heroin use.

Treating Heroin Addiction

The most widely used treatment for heroin begins with a medically supervised regimen of the drug buprenorphine, later followed by a co-formulation of buprenorphine with naloxone (Suboxone). Buprenorphine acts on the brain-receptor targets of heroin and morphine without producing the same intense “high” or dangerous side effects of heroin. Naloxone (Narcan) is also an effective antidote widely used in emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose, indicated by respiratory and/or central nervous system depression.2

Heroin Addiction Treatment at The Right Step

At The Right Step, you’ll safely detox from heroin and other opioids in a comfortable environment with 24/7 care by our medical team. We’ll prescribe research-backed medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and regularly monitor blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, temperature and other vital signs. Our specially trained staff provides compassionate care, immediately attending to any discomfort or emergencies. They’ll support you physically and emotionally during the entire detox process.

Following heroin detox, we’ll work with you to address the underlying issues that may have fueled your drug use and teach you healthy coping skills.You’ll learn that life without drugs can be rewarding, fun and fulfilling. Through an array of traditional and alternative therapies, you’ll explore trauma, negative thinking patterns, relationship issues, family roles and destructive behaviors. Our psychiatric team will also make sure to diagnose and help you manage any co-occurring mental health disorders that could be contributing to substance abuse.

Some of the approaches we use to help you recover include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • The Daring WayTM, a shame-resilience curriculum developed by researcher and author Dr. Bréne Brown
  • Nutrition and fitness
  • Medication management
  • Mindfulness practices
  • Positive Recovery®, an empowering approach to recovery that draws on evidence-based approaches and helps you live a rewarding, meaningful and purposeful life

Call us today to learn how we can help you or a loved one stop using heroin and live a better life. 844-877-1781

Heroin and Opiate Abuse

Heroin use is often combined with other drugs. The potent interaction of opioids with alcohol and other sedative-hypnotic drugs can produce lethal interactions. A large study involving 243,523 people admitted to opiate treatment centers for heroin abuse indicated that 42.7 percent used heroin by itself. While the average number of substances used (per admission) was 1.8, some substances had statistically significant usage rates. The study found that alcohol and non-smoked cocaine were used concurrently with heroin at 23.3 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively.3

Although prescription opioids when monitored closely by a medical professional can be used effectively for pain management, they come with serious risks. All opioid-based drugs and medications have the ability to produce changes in human brain chemistry that may result in physical dependence and addiction, especially in individuals who receive no medical oversight from a prescribing doctor. While opiate addiction is not synonymous with the highly dysfunctional, uncontrolled behavioral patterns associated with heroin use, it can be just as deadly.1

Stats and Facts

  • In 2014, an estimated 1.9 million people had an opioid use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and about 586,000 had an opioid use disorder related to heroin use.4
  • A study of young, urban injection drug users found that 86 percent used opioid pain relievers non-medically prior to using heroin. Nonmedical use of opioids was initiated from three main sources: family, friends or personal prescriptions.5
  • It is estimated that 23 percent of individuals who use heroin become addicted to it.6
  • Overdose deaths related to oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, heroin and illegally produced fentanyl more than tripled since 1999, with about 28,000 people dying in 2014 alone.7
  • Heroin-related overdose deaths more than tripled since 2010. From 2013 to 2014, heroin overdose death rates increased by 26 percent, with more than 10,500 people dying in 2014.8

Relapse Prevention

Due to the significant physical and mental dependency sometimes caused by opioids, many heroin addicts relapse after detoxification treatment. A number of studies have revealed that drug relapse is related to physical, psychological and social factors. Research has also shown that relapse correlates with duration of heroin addiction due to greater psychological dependence, deeply ingrained behavioral patterns, susceptibility to mental health disorders and a network of influential drug-using peers. After detox, anti-addiction medications, multifaceted therapy and ongoing positive support are crucial to preventing relapse.9

  1. What are opioids? National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/opioids/what-are-opioids Updated November 2014. Accessed October 4, 2016.
  2. FDA launches competition to spur innovative technologies to help reduce opioid overdose deaths. U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm520945.htm Published September 19, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
  3. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2005. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 43.) Chapter 11. Treatment of Multiple Substance Use. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64146/ Accessed October 4, 2016.
  4. Rates of nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder double in 10 years. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/rates-nonmedical-prescription-opioid-use-opioid-use-disorder-double-10-years National Institutes of Health website. Published June 22, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
  5. Prescription opioid use is a risk factor for heroin use. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/relationship-between-prescription-drug-heroin-abuse/prescription-opioid-use-risk-factor-heroin-use Updated December 2015. Accessed October 4, 2016.
  6. Drug Facts: Heroin. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin Updated October 2014. Accessed October 4, 2016.
  7. Substance Use Disorders. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. http://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/substance-use Updated October 27, 2015. Accessed October 4, 2016.
  8. Rong C, Jiang H-F, Zhang R-W, et al. Factors Associated with Relapse among Heroin Addicts: Evidence from a Two-Year Community-Based Follow-Up Study in China. Hayley A, Verster JC, eds. Int J of Environ Res and Public Health. 2016;13(2):177. doi:10.3390/ijerph13020177.
  9. Prescription opioid use is a risk factor for heroin use. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/relationship-between-prescription-drug-heroin-abuse/prescription-opioid-use-risk-factor-heroin-use Updated December 2015. Accessed October 4, 2016.
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