Heroin is an illicit street drug derived from the opium poppy plant. It is a powerful painkiller and alters the way the brain processes chemicals responsible for feelings of pleasure and well-being.
There are several myths associated with heroin abuse. If you know someone who is addicted to heroin, you may be curious to know more facts about heroin use and available treatment options.
Some Of The Most Common Myths About Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction is full of misunderstandings and false assumptions. Below you will find some of the most common persisting myths about heroin use.
Myth #1: Heroin Addiction Happens Instantly
Many people assume that it only takes a one-time use of heroin to become addicted. This is a myth.
Heroin addiction and physical dependence take a while to develop, depending on a range of factors such as genetic disposition, co-occurring mental health issues, frequency of use, and more.
Myth #2: Heroin Is Less Dangerous When Smoked Or Snorted
It is a common misconception that injecting heroin is the most dangerous way to take it. While using heroin needles poses several health risks, smoking or snorting the drug is equally dangerous.
No matter how a person uses heroin, addiction and overdose are always a risk.
Ingesting heroin slows motor function and breathing, and if somebody takes enough heroin, or mixes it with other depressants such as alcohol, their breathing may stop entirely.
Myth #3: Heroin Is A Young Person’s Drug
Another common myth about heroin is that it is only used by wayward teens or people in their 20s. This myth is not supported by facts, as most people who overdose on heroin are in their late 30s.
There is increasing evidence that heroin overdose fatalities are occurring in people in their 50s and 60s as well. This is likely due to people transitioning from prescription opioid abuse to heroin use, as the street price of heroin is less costly.
Myth #4: Heroin Withdrawal Is Not Fatal
While it’s true that death due to withdrawal is rare in people addicted to heroin, serious health risks are still a risk, particularly when the withdrawal is attempted cold turkey.
One of the main culprits of heroin withdrawal death is dehydration, which can occur due to the severe vomiting and diarrhea a person will likely experience when they quit ingesting heroin.
The best way to protect against life-threatening withdrawal symptoms is by entering a medically monitored detox program, such as the one available at Bedrock Recovery Center.
Myth #5: Recovery From Heroin Addiction Is Rare
No matter how severe the addiction to heroin may be, evidence-based treatment services are the best and most effective way to help people overcome substance use disorders.
Risk Factors Of Heroin Use
There are an array of risks and side effects of short-term and long-term heroin use.
Some of the risks of heroin addiction include:
- liver, kidney, and heart damage
- permanent brain damage or mental illness
- lung disease
- nausea and vomiting
- nasal tissue damage from snorting heroin
If you or a family member are currently experiencing an addiction to heroin, a substance abuse treatment center will provide your best chance at lasting recovery.
Treatment Options For Heroin Use Disorder
See below for more information about some of the many treatment options for opioid addiction.
A drug addiction treatment program may include:
- medication-assisted treatment using buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone, or naloxone
- dual diagnosis care for co-occurring disorders
- support groups for prescription opiate addiction
- mental health services
- individual or family counseling
- 12-step programs
Find Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Finding reputable care for substance abuse treatment can be stressful, but help is available. Call Bedrock Recovery Center today for more information on our residential drug rehab program.
- National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Heroin https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/heroin
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Opioid Overdose https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/overdose
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — Prevent Opioid Abuse and Addiction https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/prevention/index.html