HEROIN TREATMENT | Inpatient Drug Rehab


Heroin is one of the most abused drugs in the United States, especially in the City of Baltimore. Heroin is amongst the group of drugs identified as opioids. Heroin occurs naturally as a product of opium poppy.The origin of opium and its use can be traced back to as far as 3400 BC in Mesopotamia; the region now called Iran and Iraq. Opiates are a potpourri of alkaloids from the opium poppy (Paperva Somniferum). These are drugs used for the treatment of unmanageable pain. An opioid is a term or word used for drugs that are opioid receptors. Commercial heroin comes as a powder and in varieties of color. It comes as a white, gray and pink powder. This is as a result of leftover impurities and additives from production.

Mode of Intake

Heroine like most drugs have different methods of intake; it can be: ingested, injected, inhaled, snorted or smoked. Note, some diehard addicts mix it with hemp during smoking to give it an extra charge. There is also the tablet form which is not very popular. Every addict has his preferred method of intake. The immediate effect is a warm feeling, giving a kind of satisfaction or false confidence and a sense of euphoria. At times, it can be accompanied by a kind of tickling of the skin. The effect of the drug takes over with drowsiness and blurred vision. Clinicians call it the “nod.” It is reported that the injected form gives the highest level of the euphoric experience.

This is as a result of direct injection into the blood stream. In “chasing” the powder is put on foil, it is then heated from under with light from a candle or matches, the powder is then snorted or inhaled as it liquefies using a straw. Note, the drug is absorbed through the blood vessels in the lungs and into to the brain in about twelve minutes. In “skin pop,” the powder is mixed with citric acid and heated; the liquefied powder is then drawn into a syringe and injected under the skin into the vein or muscle. Research shows that this method gives the longest lasting euphoric effect heroin. This method is like a turbocharger, the effect of the drug is nearly immediate.

It takes over the abuser within five seconds. There is another method where the heroin powder is sniffed from a foil or paper directly or using a table knife. A straw or tube like materials can also be used for snorting or sniffing the drug. The drug is absorbed directly through the blood vessels of the nose and transmitted to the brain. It has a response speed of about twelve minutes.

Health Risks

These range of drugs with different methods of intake poses huge health risks, not only to the users of the drugs but the society also. The heroine has multiple health risks some associated with the mode of intake. It has always been announced that smokers are liable to die young.

  • Organ failure: The organs affected most by heroine intake are: the heart, the kidney, the liver, the brain, the lungs and the nasal cavity.
  • HIV and Hepatitis: This is from infected syringe when drug is injected in turns
  • Pneumonia: Addicts have a high risk of catching pneumonia
  • Breakdown of the Central Nervous System: This is one grave danger with addiction
  • Psychosis: This starts from the day of thefirst intake and may develop into unmanageable level. A heroine abuser is never perfectly normal from the first fix.
  • Death: Untimely death, either by accident, organ failure or failure to “come down” or medical complications are associated with heroine users.

Societal Challenges

Addicts pose a lot of challenges to themselves, their families and the community at large.

  • Loss of job is one of the challenges posed by addicts. The drug induces them to act irrationally. When under the influence of the drug, their production is crippled thus resulting to sack, some even quit their job by themselves.
  • Neglect of family and responsibilities is another great challenge the society and families face. Most of the income from the addicts is used for the next fix which costs so much.
  • Battering is another great problem. Heroine users are abusers
  • Financial loss, this is also on the part of the government which losses tax, and also spends on healthcare and rehabilitation
  • Crime is a grave danger posed by heroine users. There is that inducement to commit acrime.
  • Premature death is very prevalent amongst heroine users

During Pregnancy

There have been reported cases of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), this is when a pregnant woman uses heroin and passes to the fetus through the placenta. The unborn child becomes dependent also.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Different drugs with different withdrawal symptoms, some have symptoms in common. Heroine has some very nasty withdrawal symptoms which start about a few hours after the last fix. This is also one of the great causes of addiction. Another fix will be needed to stem the withdrawal symptoms. That fix is what is called the “cure.” It cures the addict of the pains of the withdrawal symptoms.

Associating with or taking care of a family member or friend under withdrawal symptoms is pitiable. Symptoms can start with restlessness and cold flashes with goose pimples all over the body, and graduate to vomiting and diarrhea. If the fix doesn’t come quick, it will develop into severe muscle and bone pain, especially inside the bone, and joints, then sleeplessness. This is accompanied by involuntary kicking and stretching.

Treatment with MMT

MMT is the acronym for Methadone Maintenance Treatment. This is a treatment associated with opioids which heroine is also one. It is developed by a German scientist in the late 1930s. Treating opioids is challenging for medical practitioners since the brain also produces its opioids which are been mimicked by the synthetic or semi-synthetic opioids administered in the form of heroin. There are controversies in the treatment of heroin with MMT. This is because treatment with MMT has semblance with the patient still being on the drug.

The resultant chemical brain disorder makes the treatment of heroin tasking and resources sapping. With Methadone Maintenance Treatment, the patient is given a daily dose of methadone to cure the after effects of the withdrawal symptoms. Methadone which is also a synthetic opiate inhibits the development of the withdrawal symptoms. Note, it is the development of the withdrawal symptoms that drive the abusers to crave for a fresh fix. The fresh fix cures the heroin addict of the withdrawal symptoms.

It is a tedious process for both the addict and the clinicians, and a daily visit to the clinic for the daily dose is also a great burden on the families of the addict. As a result, the clinicians give cooperative patients a number of doses to take home. This reduces their number of visits to the clinic.

Treatment with Naltrexone

Naltrexone comes as Depade or Revia. Treatment is like with the MMT but with a longer term dose. It is an opioid antagonist which blocks the action of opioids. Unlike opioids, Naltrexone does not induce addiction like heroin. It requires a monthly dose by injection. The single dose will inhibit the withdrawal symptoms of heroin.

Hazardous Effects

Heroin like other opiates havedangerous long term and short term effects. However, none of the effects is worth the pain. Some of these are:

  • Nauseating and vomiting: This is mostly in the early stage of the usage of the drug until the body system gets acclimatized with it.
  • Addiction: It is near impossible for a one time user to bear the withdrawal symptoms which start about 4 hours after the last fix. These unbearable symptoms include nausea and vomiting, involuntary kicking, restlessness and sleeplessness, chest pain, thumping of the heart and goosebumps, etc.
  • Abscesses: This is more with those whose method of intake is by injection
  • Organ failure: The drug overworks the organs of the body thus making them pack up.
  • Bone and joint ache: These are withdrawal symptoms which can only be cured after the next fix
  • HIV/AIDS: This is got from a shared infected syringe
  • Stroke: Stroke or partial stroke occurs as a result of undue pressure on the brain causes the break on veins and bleeding in the brain.
  • Dementia: This is because the brain has been put into unnecessary stress
  • Death: Untimely death is always the consequence of organ failure and other related after effects like heart failure, kidney failure, brain malfunction, etc.


Repentant or cured addicts find it difficult to reintegrate back into the society. There is that feeling of inferiority. They feel like societal rejects. A close monitoring is expected from family and friends. Not only against a return to the drugs but also against harm to self, especially suicide. Heroin addicts are never totally normal; the drug introduces a new and alien body chemistry which symptoms will continue to linger even when cured.

Parental Monitoring

There has been a rise in the number of youths that have been cut in the web of heroine abuse. This might be out of ignorance or as a result of peer pressure. However, no matter what has influenced the youth, it is never excusable. Some youths bring uninformed smoked heroin or mixed it with other substances with the wrong impression that one gets addicted to heroin only through injection. However, once heroine is taken, the withdrawal symptoms are dreadful, always as for a cure which is the next fix.