Before choosing an appropriate heroin rehab clinic, finding out about the different drug rehab clinics is important if you or a loved one are looking for help. Heroin is a highly addictive drug, and one with a reputation for destroying lives and putting users’ health at risk. It’s made from morphine, the dried “milk” of the opium poppy, which forms a white powder if pure, but can be off-white to brown when purchased. If you or a loved one is using heroin, learning about it can help you determine whether a drug rehab program is a good idea.
Heroin can be taken in a variety of ways. It is most commonly associated with being injected, but it can also be snorted or smoked. An injection of heroin flushes the drug directly into the bloodstream, and it therefore reaches the brain more quickly and creates a bigger rush for the user. When the drug is snorted, it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissue, and the user won’t feel the effects as quickly. Only pure (white) heroin can be snorted. When smoked, it enters the bloodstream through the lungs, which again holds up the initial onset of effects. This is why most users choose to inject the drug.
The effects of heroin are related to its impact on the opioid receptors within the brain. If the drug is injected, users will initially feel a flood of euphoria, but regardless of the method of administration they will also feel a rush of warmth on the skin, heaviness of limbs, dry mouth and impaired mental functioning. After the deluge of euphoria, users will begin to feel drowsy and sedated. Physiologically, the heroin is converted back into morphine within the brain and clouds the opioid receptors. These are largely responsible for the perception of pain and reward, which is why opioids like codeine are used as painkillers. Some receptors are also located in the brain stem, which controls vital functions such as respiration and blood pressure.
The most important physical aspect of heroin use for rehab programs is tolerance. The user’s brain isn’t set up to deal with huge injections of morphine, so it has to adapt if the drug is used regularly. It restructures itself so that it can take the repeated doses of the drug, and becomes dependent on its effects in order to function. This causes tolerance, which is defined as the point at which the user needs more of the drug to feel the same effects. The user will often feel like he or she needs to take heroin in order to feel “normal.” Drug rehab programs have to take this into account, and offer substitutes like methadone to help users get clean.
Physical tolerance hooks the user into heroin addiction. The risks associated with chronic heroin use include fatal overdose, heart lining or valve infections, collapsed veins, liver or kidney disease and conditions associated with contaminated needles such as HIV and hepatitis. Street heroin is usually cut with other substances, which can cause a wide range of side effects. The users’ addiction often also leads to malnutrition and a variety of problems associated with poor self care. This diverse spectrum of effects means that drug rehab should be seriously considered as an option for people addicted to heroin.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a heroin addiction, we provide free advice on the wide range of drug rehab facilities available. We have a detailed knowledge of the different treatments offered by drug rehab programs, and will be able to point you in the right direction for care. Drug rehab centres understand the heroin withdrawal process and can provide care throughout with medication and counselling. We understand that drug addiction causes problems for more than just the individual, and we’re here to help. Pick up the phone and see what we can do for you!