As one of the most addictive substances out there today, the use of heroin is not something to take lightly or overlook. Although it may seem like an impossible task, getting help for your heroin addiction is possible with treatment.
The only thing stopping you from regaining control of your life is acknowledging there is a problem in the first place. With the help of this article’s information and our team of professionals here at Ken Seeley, we believe that we will be able to provide you with available options and kick start your journey to a full and healthy recovery from heroin addiction.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a drug that is processed from morphine, which is a substance that resides within the seed pod of poppy plants. The powder that is derived from the processed morphine comes out in brown or white color and can be mixed with sugars, starches and other types of powders to make the amount of the mixture greater. True heroin is a white powder that is said to be bitter if someone directly consumes it.
There are also types of heroin that come out as a black sticky mixture, which is commonly known as “black tar.” This color comes from impurities that may have happened during the process of creating heroin from the morphine. This type of heroin is the one that is usually dissolved into a finer liquid and injected directly into the bloodstream.
History of Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction was first reported on in the mid-1800s after the Civil War occurred. Many soldiers from both the Confederacy and Union lost limbs to battle wounds, and they were given morphine to deal with the pain during the healing process.
This ultimately led to the earliest opioid addictions being declared the “Army disease” because most of the addicts were those who had participated in the war.
In 1874 heroin was synthesized from morphine, which caused a rise in opioid addictions across the United States.
The regulations for practicing physicians and pharmacists were nothing back then compared to what they are today, so medical professionals were able to hand out heroin-like candy to any of their patients. It was seen as the “wonder drug” that could cure any type of pain or health problems someone might be facing, but no one knew yet how dangerously addicting it could be.
After the Dangerous Drug Act was passed in 1920, it became illegal to sell over-the-counter opioids due to the increasing amount of addicts in the United States. Although this helped to decline the rate of rising heroin addiction, it could not stop the supply in the underground market that had been created during the early 1900s.
Even though it was harder to obtain, many former and new addicts were still able to purchase as much of the drug as they desired because of these unlawful sellers.
What Makes Heroin So Addicting?
Many factors contribute to the fact that heroin is seen as the “most addictive” illegal drug. It is mostly due to the way the substance reacts with the user’s brain. It is almost 100% likely that they will get addicted the first time they try it.
Heroin enters someone’s body through the bloodstream, which allows it to travel fast throughout the veins and arteries and enter the brain. It allows the parts of the brain that control pleasure, depression, and sedation to relax and unwind.
This ultimately causes the person who is addicted to the substance to be able to control their anxiety and depression with it. The parts of their brain that contribute to these feelings are put on pause for a little while under the control of the drug.
Another reason a lot of people become addicted to the substance is because of the cost. Heroin is very cheap compared to most other high-risk drugs of the same caliber. This is also why someone who is addicted to another substance might turn to heroin once their funds for other drugs start to run out. It is a cost-effective, highly “rewarding” alternative in their eyes.
Regulation of Heroin Treatment
Heroin addiction treatment facilities started to spring up in 1919 after the Harrison Act of 1914 ruled it to be a controlled substance. They were almost automatically closed due to inadequate funding and treatment by resident doctors.
After almost a decade of heroin treatment being obsolete in the United States, facilities in Fort Worth, Texas and Lexington, KY finally emerged. The facilities became the center points for heroin treatment research and helped to lead the movement for new treatments being created.
At the Kentucky facility, Dr. Vincent Pole and Dr. Marie Nyswander tested and successfully proved the effectiveness in the use of methadone to withdraw patients from heroin in the mid-1960s.
Shortly after, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved their methadone maintenance treatment. Methadone became the main source of heroin treatment in the 1970s, but it was required to be strictly controlled to opioid treatment programs.
For almost 30 years, methadone maintenance led to heroin addiction treatment facilities until a new substance called Buprenorphine was approved in 2002. Although there are other options available, it is still used today throughout the modern practice.
Modern Heroin Addiction Treatments
When it comes to overcoming your heroin addiction, there are a couple of different ways our professionals can treat it. The most common is through pharmaceutical practices, which use other substances to fight your addiction symptoms. Some of these substances can include:
- Methadone: A slow-acting opioid agonist that is taken orally. Because of its slow-release, it lessens the high that the user is feeling. This was the first practice ever tested and proven to help with heroin addiction.
- Buprenorphine: A partial opioid agonist that helps to relieve drug cravings in heroin addicts. This medication has helped expand access to heroin addiction treatment by allowing certified physicians to prescribe it that is not practicing in treatment facilities.
- Naltrexone: An opioid antagonist that is not addictive or sedative. The patient using this will not develop a physical dependence on this substance, but it has limited effectiveness. It is taken orally and may help with controlling feelings of dependency on heroin.
While pharmaceutical practices are the most common type of heroin treatment, we also add types of behavioral treatment into the mix. This not only helps to ensure a speedy recovery while in rehab, but it is proven to help the addict continue to stay sober after completing heroin treatment.
Choosing the Right Facility
When picking a facility to treat your heroin addiction, there are many things to discuss with professionals as well as loved ones before you officially decide. You ultimately have to be comfortable in the environment you choose. This could include the type of amenities available, the staff that runs the treatment center, the therapist that head the therapies and the other people attending the programs who you may come in contact with.
One of the factors that could influence your decision could be the severity of your addiction. Our professionals at Ken Seeley will evaluate your symptoms and behavioral patterns, and they will determine whether you will need to attend our inpatient or outpatient treatment center in order to recover fully from your heroin addiction.
You will also want a facility that caters to your financial situation, as well. At Ken Seeley Rehab, we will work with your insurance provider to find every outlet for available funding to help you pay for treatment. We understand that the less amount you have to worry about affording our services, the more likely you are to focus on your rehab while you’re here.
The Dangers of Relapse and Overdose
Because heroin is known as the most addictive drug, the potential to relapse after treatment completion is very high. Relapsing is when an addict who is in recovery decides to use it again.
The way the drug changes an addict’s brain chemistry is so severe that sometimes it takes many attempts of trial and error with heroin rehab. This may come as a negative for many heroin addicts because the time spent in rehab will be so extensive, but we believe that long-term recovery is possible after treatment in our centers at Ken Seeley Rehab.
We strive to have direct involvement for up to five years of aftercare once the addict has completed our programs if they give us permission. This includes routine alcohol and drug check-ups, providing monthly progress reports and ultimately leading the recovering heroin addict to a long road of sobriety.
Ken Seeley Can Help You Overcome Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction is a very serious matter that requires intensive care and detoxification while going through the recovery process. If you believe someone you know or you are struggling with opiate addiction, our staff at Ken Seeley is here to guide you in the right direction.
Our rehab centers, both inpatient and outpatient, will give you access to our onsite doctors and therapists in order to determine what the next step is for your recovery.
If you or a loved one is caught in the grips of heroin addiction, please do not hesitate to contact us today at (855) 945-1289 and get the help and information you need to release the hold it has on your life.