Heroin is a highly addictive drug which has a devastating impact on addicted individuals and society including such things as:
- Disruptions in family, workplace, and educational environments;
- Social consequences such as crime, violence;
- Medical consequences including: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis;
Symptoms of Addiction:
- Tolerance, or needing more and of the drug just to feel normal;
- Physical dependence resulting in withdrawal symptoms if opioids are abruptly stopped;
- Psychological dependence including craving drugs and addict behaviors
How does Heroin Affect the brain?
Heroin act by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found in the brain involved in reward and pleasure. Using larger amounts increases the “high” but also the risk of overdose.
The Dangers of Heroin-Opioid Use
- Heroin is very dangerous to adolescent brain development and can cause irreversible delays in brain maturation such as impaired cognitive, intellectual performance and social behavior.
- A high dose of heroin can cause death from cardiac or respiratory arrest when used alone or in combination with other drugs.
- Tolerance to the euphoric effect of opiates develops faster than tolerance to the dangerous effects. Therefore people often overdose by mistake because they are trying to get a higher high and take too much.
- When heroin is abruptly discontinued, symptoms of withdrawal appear. These include restlessness, irritability, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes with goose bumps.
- Heroin withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, but unlike withdrawal from alcohol and sedatives such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates, it is not life threatening.
- The physical withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from one week to one month, and the emotional symptoms such as low energy, anxiety and insomnia can last for several months. Psychological dependence can be a lifelong problem.
Medications Used to Help Treat Heroin Addiction
- Buprenorphine as Suboxone® or Subutex®
DEA certified Physicians can provide confidential office-based Buprenorphine treatment for detoxification and/or maintenance treatment of Heroin Addiction. As an FDA approved medication that prevents opioid withdrawal symptoms and craving, it can be used:
- To slowly detoxify from opioids over weeks to months in a safe and comfortable way to minimize the pain, discomfort and anxiety associated with withdrawal;
- As a maintenance treatment and used this way for several months to years;
- As a tool to manage physical and psychological opioid dependency while a patient in working toward sustained abstinence;
- It is safely prescribed one month at a time and therefore one can resume their daily normal daily activities.
Buprenorphine Treatment is not Replacing One Drug Addiction With Another
- Some people argue that Buprenorphine treatment is just substituting one addictive drug for another or not a positive treatment for Opioid addiction. The National Institutes of Drug Addiction disagrees.
- Buprenorphine is a highly effective and safe treatment for preventing opioid substance misuse. The stabilizing effects of Buprenorphine Therapy helps people enjoy a healthy life style and meet family and career commitments;
- The cycle of rush, “crash”, withdrawal, and craving which leads to increasing chemical and psychological dependency is avoided; It keeps people away from the street culture of crime and violence associated with drug use. It reduces risky and destructive addict behaviors such as IV-needle use and discourages poly drug use.
A once-a-month Intramuscular Injection administered in the privacy of a doctor’s office. Because it is not a pill, it cannot be skipped which helps to prevent relapse and/or overdose.
- Is used as a tool to manage physical and psychological opioid dependency while a patient in working toward sustained abstinence;
- Is a FDA approved medication that prevents heroin users from getting “high” even if they use drugs by blocking the euphoric effects of these drugs;
- Is a non-habit forming medication that can be used to treat co-occurring alcohol opioid addiction;
Your ARCH Individual Evaluation & Treatment Plan for Heroin Dependency is designed by our MD’S and will include a combination of selection below:
- Addiction, Medical and Psychiatric Evaluation by our Addiction Psychiatrists
- Evaluation and Treatment of Co-occurring Medical Disorders and Poly-Addictions
- Psychological, Social and Family Interventions
- Cognitive Behavioral Restructuring of Stresses and Cues
- Medically Supervised Detoxification using Buprenorphine as Suboxone® or Subutex®
- Buprenorphine as Suboxone® or Subutex® Maintenance Therapy
- Medically Supervised Detoxification or Maintenance using Naltrexone as Vivitrol®