Many believe Britain now finds itself at the centre of a crisis, where the number of people losing their lives to opioids, especially heroin, has risen in the past few years. The narcotic has been linked to more health or social problems than any other illicit drug in the UK.
Heroin addiction is a widespread problem, affecting hundreds and thousands of people across the country. But what exactly is heroin? Possibly one of the most well-known and notorious drugs, referred to by many different names, from Smack and Skag to H and Brown, amongst others.
The drug is a Class A opiate narcotic, sourced from the opium poppy plant, a pure compound, made by mixing morphine with acetic anhydride. It invariably comes as a white or brown powder, or a sticky black coloured substance, sometimes called `black tar heroin`. The drug, which is unlawful in every shape and form and accessed through street pushers, is known for its powerful effects.
The substance makes users feel relaxed and an over-riding sense of euphoria, where their troubles may seemingly disappear, and they experience an incredible high. The euphoric side effects come from the opioid receptors in the brain receiving the drug at a rate making it vulnerable to addiction.
Opiates operate by binding to the opioid receptors in the body and brain, replicating the chemicals serving as natural painkillers, affecting how they deal with pain. The more someone takes heroin, the greater it changes their brain chemistry, leading to a powerful compulsion to seek out the drug and keep using it. They may soon find themselves succumbing to dependency, where they feel they literally cannot live without heroin. It might not take too long to get hooked either, in fact, a person could develop an addiction a matter of days after first using the drug.
Heroin is taken in many ways, where it is often smoked from a tin foil, pipe or bong, known as `chasing the dragon`, or smoked with rolled up tobacco. However, if you use this mode of administration, it can lead to serious lung damage.
Heroin can be taken orally or snorted up, but is more commonly injected, which is the most dangerous method. It is also the form of administration most used by people with an addiction, being the quickest working method, creating the greatest high. But it comes with the highest risk of overdose, which is ultimately life-threatening.
If you use heroin, you can build up a tolerance quite quickly, where you need to take larger quantities more often, to receive the required high, heightening your chances of overdose.
The possibility of overdosing may also be increased by the fact heroin is often mixed with cutting agents like cocaine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl and carfentanyl, amongst others, to augment its effects.
However, if you have succumbed to heroin addiction, and wish to break loose, then consider moving ahead with rehabilitation treatment.
When people speak of kicking heroin, they invariably think of Methadone as a substitute, to help people quit. It is employed as a maintenance drug for recovering addicts, and its effect can last a whole day, longer than heroin or morphine.
If you have decided to go ahead with detox, it is not recommending proceeding at home, on your own, but under the care of medical professionals in a rehab centre. Therefore, it is advised choosing a long-running rehabilitation programme, at a residential clinic, for a successful recovery.
Your evidence-based treatment will commence with detoxification, where you will cease using heroin under medical care. You will be supervised around the clock, as the toxins are weaned from your body, generally considered the safest and most effective method of overcoming heroin addiction.
As well as undergoing detox and taking medication, to take the edge of withdrawal, therapy can also play an important role in your rehab treatment. Therefore, in the course of your rehab programme, you can survey the emotional and psychological facets of heroin addiction, through ongoing counselling sessions. This, along with holistic therapies like mindfulness and meditation and increased medical education can add to your long-term recovery.
If you have been living with heroin addiction, the prospect of stopping and going through rehab can be intimidating to say at least. But, don’t forget you don’t have to go through this alone. You can receive the treatment you need to combat heroin addiction by contacting a residential rehab centre in your area. It could change your life.