Heroin, a derivative of the poppy plant, is a highly addictive illegal drug. Resins of this red flower are also used to make the illegal drug opium, and the painkiller, morphine. While morphine is a legal drug for treatment of pain, heroin is “Schedule 1,” meaning it has no accepted medicinal use. Heroin is extremely addictive because it affects the reward centers of the brain. Because of these highly addictive properties and the extremely painful effects of withdrawal, it is often nearly impossible for a person to break away from heroin use without heroin addiction treatment.
If you or someone you know is using heroin and would like help, contact our drug rehab centers today to learn about our heroin addiction treatment options. With rehab centers in St. Louis, Colombia, and Kansas City, we can help teens and adolescents across Missouri get the heroin addiction treatment and help they need.
Heroin’s Effect on the Body and Mind
Heroin, in its pure form is a white powder, but it is often cut with other drugs and appears brownish or black. Heroin is also commonly referred to by some of the following names: H, smack, dope, Nod, China White, horse, black-tar, Mud, Skag, Dr. Feelgood, Mexican brown powder, and junk. Heroin is usually smoke, snorted, or injected.
Once ingested, the body converts heroin into morphine that then binds to opioid receptors. These receptors are located throughout the brain and body and are responsible for the signals of pain and reward. After an injection or use, users report feeling a surge of euphoria followed by dry mouth, warm flushing of the skin, heaviness of the body, and clouded mental function. This pain/reward relationship is why this drug so often requires heroin addiction treatment to be overcome.
Over time, heroin can destroy the body’s natural ability to produce endorphins, which then requires that the user to use more heroin to obtain the same intensity of effect. Additionally, heroin users often find themselves compelled to continue use of the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This cycle is why heroin addiction treatment is necessary to stay sober.
Local Missouri expert Sargent Jason Grellner states, “one of the major issues that people do not understand is that opiates like hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxicontin, and heroin are all the same drug. Many users are becoming addicted after using opium pain relievers. Addiction affects people from all backgrounds and demographics, it does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how rich you are, or how loved you are.”
Signs of Heroin Use & Heroin Addiction
- Dry mouth
- Slurred or jumbled speech
- Poor mental function
- Tendency to nod off
- Slow breathing
- Injection marks
- Runny nose
- Infections around injection sites
- Flushed skin
- Tiny pupils
- Poor hygiene
- Sleepy eyes
- Failure to eat
- Complaining of constipation or nausea
- Covering arms with long sleeves
- Possession of paraphernalia such as burnt spoons, tiny baggies, small glass pipes, syringes, rubber tubing, straws, missing shoe laces from shoes, aluminum foil, razor blades, rolled up dollar bills.
Signs of Heroin Addition & Overdose
Because addiction usually means the body has become tolerant of heroin, a massive amount of the drug is often needed to feel the high again. This can lead to overdose. In the event of an overdose, you should call 911 immediately, and seek heroin addiction treatment as soon as possible. Common signs of heroin overdose include:
- Awake but unable to talk
- Limp body
- Face is clammy or pale
- Fingernails and lips turn blue
- Skin turns blue, purple, or ashen
- Breathing is very slow, erratic, or stopped
- Heartbeat is slow, erratic, or stopped
- Choking, snoring, or gurgling-like sounds
- Loss of consciousness
- Unresponsive to stimulus
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms & The Need for Heroin Addiction Treatment
Due to the changes in the body’s ability to produce endorphins and the resulting cravings for heroin, dependency is a common problem with heroin addiction. Those who suddenly stop using heroin will experience heroin withdrawal. The symptoms of heroin withdrawal are often very painful and uncomfortable and as a result require medical attention followed by heroin addiction treatment.
Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal
- Runny nose
- Intense cramping in limbs
- Muscle and bone pain
- Cold flashes
- Involuntary leg movements
- Body cramps
- Difficulty dealing with other people
- Rapid mood changes
- Repetitive thinking
- Difficulty concentrating
Because of the severity of these symptoms, it is necessary to seek heroin addiction treatment as the symptoms of withdrawal can be so painful and debilitating that a person would rather use the drug to avoid suffering than recover.
Learn More About Heroin Addiction Treatment for Teens & Adolescents
If you recognize signs of heroin use in your child, it is important to seek professional heroin addiction treatment and help. Heroin is a powerful drug that requires a professional heroin addiction treatment program to fully break the cycle and achieve recovery. To learn more, contact one of our Missouri drug rehab centers today online or by phone. Reach our heroin addiction treatment center in St. Louis at 636-532-9991, in Columbia at 573-256-8020, or in Kansas City at 816-941-4000.