Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Other common names for heroin include big H, horse, hell dust, and smack.

Heroin often contains additives, such as sugar, starch, or powdered milk that can clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage. Also, sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from heroin use can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Medical consequences of chronic injection use include scarred and/or collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses (boils), and other soft-tissue infections.

One of the reasons that heroin addiction can be so difficult to overcome is that attempting to stop using can result in the rapid onset of painful withdrawal symptoms. Cramping, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and several other quite unpleasant symptoms can occur within just a few hours after a person’s last dose of heroin. The pain of withdrawal, combined with powerful cravings for heroin, can overcome even the strongest desire to stop using the drug.

The good news is that effective professional treatment can provide heroin addicts with the ability to resist these cravings, and develop the skills and strategies that will allow them to pursue long-term recovery. Our life-changing residential treatment center has helped many men and women develop the skills and strategies that have allowed them to successfully pursue lifelong sobriety.

Helping a loved one get treatment for heroin addiction

If someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to heroin, then you know how devastating this disease can be. What you may not know is that friends and family members, such as yourself, may hold the keys that will free your loved one from the chains of heroin addiction. The following are a few of the many steps that you can take to help your loved one get the help that he or she so desperately needs:

  • Learn everything you can about heroin, addiction, and rehab. The more you understand the disease of addiction in general and the specific challenges of heroin addiction, the better prepared you will be to provide compassionate and empathetic assistance to your loved one.
  • Learn about treatment options and opportunities. Conduct research (online, in-person, or via consultations with third-party experts) to determine what types of programs may offer the greatest potential for helping your loved one. Finding the best treatment for your loved one is not about finding a “perfect” program. Instead, it is about finding the place that is best prepared to meet your loved one’s unique needs.
  • Talk to experts. Mental health providers, addiction counselors, interventionists, and even your family doctor can be excellent sources of information to help you understand what options are available for helping a heroin addict.
  • Be present in your loved one’s life. Show support whenever and wherever you can. Share the information that you have learned. Accompany him or her to doctors’ appointments or visits to treatment programs. Help make whatever arrangements are necessary to get him or her into treatment.
  • Be part of your loved one’s support network. Treatment is just the first step in the long journey of recovery, and your loved one will need a strong support network once treatment has ended. Plan to continue playing an active, supportive role in his or her life over the long term.

Most importantly, understand that your loved one is struggling with a disease that will require lifelong vigilance to overcome. Addiction is a debilitating condition that can destroy a person’s ability to control his or her own life. There will be setbacks, frustrations, and possibly even relapses on the road to lifelong recovery – but your active and informed presence can make a real and lasting difference.