- Long-term effects of heroin include: addiction, collapsed veins, abscesses, liver disease, and clogging of blood vessels.
- Heroin is sometimes sniffed, or the fumes from the heated powder is inhaled (this method is sometimes called "chasing the dragon").
- Over 80% of heroin users inject with a partner, yet 80% of overdose victims found by paramedics are found alone.
- Babies of heroin addicts are born dependent on the drug and must go through withdrawal as their first task in life.
Due to the fact that heroin is physically addicting, heroin detoxification is needed when the body becomed dependant to heroin. The heroin abuser builds a tolerance to heroin’s effects where more and more heroin is required to achieve the same effects. Heroin withdrawal symptoms occur when a heroin user abruptly stops using heroin.
These days, a number of heroin detox methods are offered. These consist of: medically supervised heroin detox, opioid agonist drugs, such as methadone, or Buprenorphine; Clonidine, which takes the edge off of some withdrawal symptoms; and ultra-rapid heroin detox under anesthesia. Opioid agonist drugs work simularly to that of heroin but they don't produce the same euphoria and they are generally administered by steadilly reducing doses. These medications act like heroin however in most cases, withdrawal symptoms are less severe. Heroin relapse occurs frequently in most cases when heroin detox is the only treatment process delivered to the addict. Heroin detox should be followed up with a structured, long-term drug rehabilitation program.
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can begin within just a few hours after the last use. Withdrawal symptoms of heroin addiction consist of cold sweats and hot flashes, drug cravings, muscle and bone pain, restlessness, insomnia, vomiting, and diarrhea. The majority of the heroin withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours following the last dose. Without professional detoxification and care convulsions and seizures can occur. The good news is that an addict can usually complete a heroin detox program within five to seven days.
For many individuals suffering with heroin addiction, overcoming heroin withdrawal symptoms is the biggest obstacle in the recovery process. Currently, there are no conclusive studies proving that one heroin detox method is better than another. Nonetheless, most recovered heroin addicts feel that detoxifying from heroin without the use of additional drugstends to make for an less difficult recovery in the long run. This is simply because the recovering heroin addict is not switching their addiction from heroin to methadone, or Suboxone, etc. They are able to quickly complete the detoxification process and start with their recovery by attending a structured drug rehabilitation program.
Heroin detox involves admitting there is a problem, seeking medical help, and staying focused on the goal and rehabilitation and treatment through a continuing drug rehab program. The determination of the recovering person and support through family, friends, physicians or other sources must accompany the heroin detox process.
Heroin detox can be very challenging both physically and emotionally. It highly recomended that anyone undergoing heroin detoxification, should do so in an inpatient addiction treatment programs that include medical detox as part of the program. All heroin detox programs should be medically supervised, complete with 24 hour nursing and directed by a physician trained in addiction medicine.