If you are struggling with heroin dependency or addiction, you will need special treatment if your goal is a safe and effective recovery. But it all comes down to choosing the right treatment center for you. At Landmark Recovery of Denver, our heroin treatment center has evidence-based programs that are designed to not only help you through detox but also to set you up for lifelong success.
In 2018, Colorado reported 564 opioid-related overdose deaths. This included prescription opioids, but also heroin and synthetic opioids; 233 deaths were due to heroin.1 Unfortunately, the mortality rate remains about the same. In 2020, 226 people died from a heroin overdose in Colorado.2 This may be due, in part, to the lack of individuals abusing heroin actually seeking treatment. In 2017, only 45% of Colorado residents using heroin sought treatment for their drug use.
Heroin is a highly addictive and illegal opioid drug that is made from morphine. It is typically injected, snorted, or smoked. Individuals who abuse the drug report feeling a rush of pleasure immediately after using. Heroin affects the opioid receptors of cells that control feelings of pain and pleasure. It also influences heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.3 It does not take long for a person using heroin to build a tolerance to the drug. This means that they will need to take a higher dosage to achieve the same high. But the more they increase the dosage, the more dependent they will become.
Heroin is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the national opioid epidemic. A recent study found that one-third of individuals struggling with opioid use disorder said that heroin was the first opioid they used to get high.4
The most common short-term side effects of using heroin include:5
Using heroin often or over long periods of time can also cause severe health problems. A few examples include liver disease, pulmonary infections, collapsed veins, kidney disease, heart infections, skin infections, hepatitis, HIV, deterioration of white matter in the brain, infertility, diminished sex drive, and depression.
Heroin use is incredibly dangerous and is linked to opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States every year. This is because a large dose of heroin can slow the heart rate and breathe to the point of hypoxia (where oxygen cannot reach the brain). If someone does not receive medical attention, a heroin overdose easily can lead to death.6
A heroin overdose occurs when a person ingests too much heroin. Even though the most common signs of a heroin overdose are shallow breathing (gasps), pale skin, and blue lips or fingertips, there are other signs to look for. Someone that is unresponsive after using heroin, slurring their words, or stumbling is also likely to have overdosed.7
Over the last two decades, the annual overdose deaths in the U.S. involving heroin and other opioids grew exponentially. In 1999, the death toll was roughly 2,000 deaths, but that number grew to more than 14,000 deaths by 2019.8
Even though a person may be aware of how dangerous the drug is, stopping heroin use is incredibly difficult and unpleasant due to both the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. Physically, a person may experience muscle and bone pain, diarrhea, vomiting, restlessness, or cold flashes with goosebumps.
Heroin addiction also is classified as an opioid use disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. An opioid use disorder is defined as a repetitive pattern of opioid use leading to a list of specific problems that occur within a 12-month period.9 This is why simply choosing to quit is not enough to kick a heroin addiction, and why specialized treatment is needed.
Landmark Recovery offers a full continuum of care for our patients who wish to break free of heroin addiction. Depending on the extent of your needs, we offer detox treatment, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient. What’s more, we aim to treat the specific challenges that lead to your addiction through individual and group therapy, which are proven effective treatments for heroin addiction.10
If you or a loved one are ready to overcome an addiction to heroin, please call Landmark Recovery of Denver at (720) 702-9994. We offer medically supervised heroin detox and personalized treatment programs. This is your next step to wellness and recovery.
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1) National Institute on Drug Abuse (2020). Colorado: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms.https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/colorado-opioid-involved-deaths-related-harms
2) Drug Rehab Services (2021). Heroin Treatment in Colorado.https://www.addicted.org/heroin-treatment-colorado.html
3) National Institute on Drug Abuse (2021). Heroin Drug Facts.https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin#ref
4) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Multiple Cause of Death, 1999-2015.https://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html
5) American Addiction Centers (2020). The Physical Effects and Dangers of Heroin Abuse.https://americanaddictioncenters.org/heroin-treatment/physical-dangers
6) National Institute on Drug Abuse (2021). What can be done for a heroin overdose?https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-can-be-done-for-heroin-overdose
7) WebMD (2021). Heroin Overdose: Signs, Symptoms, and How to Get Help.https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/addiction-treatment-recovery/heroin/signs-and-symtpoms-of-heroin-overdose
8) National Institute on Drug Abuse (2021). Overdose death rates.https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
9) American Psychiatric Association (2018). Opioid Use Disorder.https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/opioid-use-disorder/opioid-use-disorder
10) National Institute on Drug Abuse. What are the treatments for heroin use disorder?https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-treatments-heroin-use-disorder