Heroin (also known as junk, H, black tar, or dope), is a derivative of morphine that has analgesic and sedative properties. It comes in many forms, depending on its purity and method of production. Pure H is a white powder that is considered to be of the highest quality. However, most heroin sold on the streets is mixed with other drugs or substances, which is why its color ranges from off-white to light brown.
This drug is illegal, and it is considered of no therapeutic value. Due to its high potential for addiction, it is classified as a Schedule I drug. However hard the restrictions are, though, the use of heroin is increasing every year, with deadly consequences.
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The various types of heroin can be used in different ways. Pure H is usually snorted or vaporized, while less pure forms can be dissolved for injection. The drug can be injected subdurally, intramuscularly or intravenously. Many addicts prefer the intravenous injection because it allows the substance to hit the bloodstream faster, yielding quicker and more intense results. The drug is also available in suppository form, which creates more euphoric results.
When the drug reaches the brain, the user typically perceives a sense of euphoria. However, once the pleasurable feelings wear off, the user may experience:
More serious symptoms of abuse include:
Miscarriages and other complications in pregnancy are common in female addicts. Their body cannot cope with the tremendous changes that a pregnancy entails, and their immune system is too weak to protect both the embryo and the mother. What’s more, even if the baby is born, there is a high possibility that it will be addicted to heroin as well.
As the case is with most drugs, heroin users don’t become addicts overnight. However, this substance -and the euphoric effect it creates- is extremely addictive, so the patient hardly realizes the transition. The more frequently the user seeks this pleasurable feeling, the more tolerant the body becomes. As a result, the person needs larger doses of the drug, which makes them dependent both on a physical and a psychological level.
The symptoms of withdrawal the patient experiences are very intense, and they may start soon after the last “high”. The addict experiences extreme physical pain and is unable to sleep or perform daily tasks. Convulsion and diarrhea are also signs of drug withdrawal.
This is the main reason why addicts can no longer lead a normal life; getting their next fix becomes their top priority, so they neglect all other aspects of their lives. In the end, society rejects them, and they are left alone and marginalized.
There are various drug treatment options available for heroin addiction. Drug Rehab Centers Birmingham offers both inpatient and outpatient programs that vary in duration. Residential treatment is considered to be a more well-rounded choice. The patient gets to go through the painful withdrawal period in a safe and controlled environment that utilizes a combination of techniques to help them quit.
Drug substitution is also a popular heroin addiction treatment route. The patient is prescribed opioid antagonists, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, which prevent heroin from being effective. In some cases, though, the patient may form an addiction for these substances, which beats the purpose of this type of treatment.
Finally, medical detoxification involves anaesthetizing the patient and injecting large doses of opiate blockers. This method- if performed properly in a medical facility- can minimize the symptoms of withdrawal, thus helping the patient get through the toughest part of quitting.
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