Well, folks, the heroin addiction epidemic is here. Heroin, long considered one of the riskiest drugs, is enjoying a large-scale upswing in users in the U.S. The CDC reports:
Heroin use has been increasing in recent years among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases have occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes. In particular, heroin use has more than doubled in the past decade among young adults aged 18 to 25 years.
To what has this marked increase in heroin abuse led? More and more heroin addicts are dying. U.S. News and World Report notes: “Heroin-related overdose deaths in the U.S. have increased by nearly 300 percent in recent years.” Take a look at these staggering statistics:
- Heroin-related overdose deaths have more than tripled since 2010.
- 8,200 people died of heroin overdoses in 2013. In 2014, the number of deaths caused by heroin overdoses grew to 10,500 people in the U.S.
- In one recent year, heroin overdose death rates increased by 26 percent. In addition to this steep price in human life, it is estimated that heroin abuse and its aftermath costs the U.S. $27 billion per year.
Short- and Long-Term Effects of Heroin Addiction
Heroin abuse has significant effects, both short- and long-term .
Short-term effects of heroin abuse include:
- Flushing of the skin
- Dry mouth
- Feeling of heaviness in the limbs
- Decreased mental ability
- Slowing of breathing that may result in respiratory failure
Long-term effects of heroin abuse include:
- Bad teeth and gum inflammation
- Reduced sexual capacity and inability to achieve orgasm
- Memory loss and decline in cognitive function
- Loss of appetite, constipation, and other digestive system issues
- Muscular weakness or paralysis
- Skin pustules
- Respiratory distress, pneumonia, and respiratory failure
- Inflammation of the heart lining and valves
- Increased risk for AIDS and liver failure
Why Heroin Addiction Carries Additional Risks
Heroin addicts are also at increased risk for death from overdose. VeryWell.com explains:
Because heroin is an illegal drug and can be handled and cut (mixed with other ingredients) by various suppliers before it reaches street-level users, those who use the drug never know how potent or pure the heroin they are using is until they use it. Heroin is often mixed with sugar, starch, quinine, and sometimes, strychnine or other poisons, adding other potential dangers. Because of the unknown strength and actual contents of the heroin they are taking, users are at a great risk of overdose and death.
Substance Abuse Treatment Options for Heroin Addiction
If you want to be free of heroin addiction once and for all, it is important to seek out a substance abuse treatment program. Heroin addiction is a strong addiction to break, and drug rehab represents the best strategy to address it.
Drug rehab specialists will work with you to find the treatment options that work best for you. Options may include one or all of the following treatments:
- Medication therapies using methadone, buprenorphine/naloxone, or naltrexone
- Inpatient cognitive and behavioral therapy
- Continuing outpatient addiction counseling therapy
We’re Here to Help
If you are ready to take back control of your life and kick a heroin addiction to the curb, Harris House is here for you. Contact us today to start your recovery process and say goodbye to heroin addiction for good.