Heroin is an illegal and highly addictive opioid drug created from morphine, a substance found in the opium poppy plant. Heroin addiction is a serious problem that causes life-threatening health risks. Not only is buying this substance illegal, each use could lead to overdose or other serious health side effects.
According to an article by Reuters, heroin-related deaths increased 89% in Florida. South Florida, especially, is witnessing increased rates of heroin addiction. Most of the deaths associated with this addictive drug have occurred among adults ranging in ages 18 to 29.
One reason heroin addiction is increasing in South Florida is because of the recent crackdown on prescription drug abuse. Because prescription drug addicts are finding it more difficult to procure medications, they are using this drug as a cheaper, alternative source.
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This drug is addictive on a physical and psychological level. It affects the reward centers of the brain, causing people to feel euphoria and intense pleasure. Withdrawal symptoms from this substance can be extremely painful, and once an individual become addicted, they no longer simply seek the drug for the pleasurable high, but because they need it to avoid withdrawal. These symptoms can include agitation, pain in the muscles or bones, trouble sleeping, diarrhea and nausea, and body chills.
This addictive substance can be smoked, sniffed, or injected. Injecting the drug provides a greater rush, but can easily lead to overdose. Injecting heroin is also associated with serious risks of infection like Hepatitis C and HIV.
Someone using opiates will experience a quick rush of euphoria. This high may be accompanied by symptoms like dry mouth and a feeling of heaviness. The drug also slows mental, respiratory, and cardiac function. Long-term effects of abuse include addiction, physical changes in the brain, and a high risk of infections. People using this drug typically engage in risky behaviors like sharing needles or having unprotected sex.
Heroin addiction leads to serious mental and physical health effects such as collapsed veins, problems with the lining of the heart, gastrointestinal problems, constipation and kidney and liver disease. Lung problems, including pneumonia can cause a decline in health and affect breathing. Overdose and death are also serious risks associated with this drug.
Heroin withdrawal is risky and dangerous to attempt alone. Medical detoxification is often the best option for most addicts as is provides constant monitoring and supervision from medical professionals. The doctors and nurses can ensure that the patient's overall health is monitored in case any complications arise.
Once detox is completed, therapy in the form of counseling sessions and alternative treatment method can begin. Patients will be able to identify their triggers and find new, alternative hobbies and ways to fight temptation through relapse prevention programs.