How Addicting is Heroin? | Pacific Bay Recovery

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How Addicting is Heroin?

When people talk about commonly abused drugs, heroin always comes up. However, not many people are aware of the dangers associated with this drug. It might sound like exaggeration, but heroin is so powerful and addictive that just about everyone who tries it develops dependence.

What is heroin?

Heroin, also called diamorphine, is an opiate that produces major euphoric effects. It is not Heroin Drug Rehabused medically for pain relief, and is considered a schedule I controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Heroin has rapid onset of action, and effects last 1-3 hours.

Why is heroin so addictive?

Because there is not much research involving heroin, it is hard for experts to explain just how addicting the drug can be. Heroin targets the pleasure centers of the brain, which increase the release of dopamine (a feel-good brain chemical). This makes the user crave the drug in the future. Many people who take heroin recreationally find that they quickly transform to full drug use, which is compulsive and impossible to control.

How does heroin affect the brain?

An addiction is a psychological and physical need for a drug, which surpasses the user’s ability to control. The brain changes start in the tiny neurons and brain cells. Research shows that heroin impacts main portions of the brain that lead to follow-up use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, brain receptors for heroin are located in the areas of the brain responsible for perception of pain and reward. This means that when a person uses heroin, he feels no pain and only euphoria.

Why do users require more heroin over time?

After using heroin for weeks or months, it taxes and stresses the brain cells. If the drug is presented in the body over and over, the brain cells become burned out and fatigued. The user requires more heroin to combat the burn out, which over time, means the user uses large doses.

How bad is heroin addiction in the U.S.?

According to statistics, 17 million people used heroin and other opiates in 2015 alone. These drugs accounted for the deaths of 122,000 Americans. The number of heroin users has significantly increased from 1998 to 2015, with 2% of Americans reporting using heroin at some point in time. In 2013, the rate of overdose deaths related to heroin had quadrupled from 1998 statistics.

Which modes of heroin use are more addictive?

Heroin impacts the brain, which affects addictiveness level. The method of use may contribute to addictiveness also. Heroin users who become addicted use the drug by:

  • Smoking
  • Snorting
  • Injecting

These methods allow the heroin to hit the body in increased amounts, so the user is overpowered with a euphoric feeling. Rather than feeling slightly euphoric, the users are vaulted into a realm of numbness and high that tends to make the heroin more addictive than opiates taken oral route. Research shows that addiction rates among heroin abusers tends to vary depending on the mode of use. Those who inject the drug have higher rates of addiction and overdose deaths than those who smoke or snort the drug.

How does heroin use cause a person problems?

Heroin is an illegal drug and overdose is common. People who use heroin along with alcohol have an increased chance for death due to overdose. IV drug use is associated with long-term viral infections, such as hepatitis B or C, or HIV. In addition, using heroin causes unemployment, car accidents, legal problems, and social/personal conflicts.

Who is most at risk for heroin addiction?

Everyone who tries heroin has the risk for becoming addicted. Heroin addiction is higher among:

  • Non-Hispanic whites
  • Males
  • Those addicted to opioid prescription drugs
  • People addicted to cocaine
  • Individuals between ages of 18 and 25 years
  • People using alcohol and/or marijuana
  • Those living in a large metropolitan area

Pacific Bay Recovery is the top prescription and illicit drug rehab center in San Diego and all of Southern California. The long term success rates are extremely high and most insurance is accepted. Call us today!

Resources

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016). What is heroin? https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin