Heroin is an illicitly manufactured opioid drug derived from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the opium poppy. This powerfully addictive drug binds to special opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and body, blocking pain signals and releasing large amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine to produce feelings of euphoria. 1 The use of heroin also slows the heart rate and breathing, and an overdose can result in respiratory depression that quickly leads to coma, permanent brain damage, or death. This makes the stakes of finding a recovery center that offers a qualified heroin detox Indianapolis residents need much higher.
Heroin use has become a major concern for residents of the Hoosier state. Since 2010, the use of heroin has grown dramatically across Indiana. This is in part due to an increase in opioid addiction stemming from the widespread misuse of prescription painkillers during the current opioid epidemic. 2 As these prescription drugs have become more difficult to obtain, many people suffering from opioid addiction have turned to heroin as a cheaper and easier-to-find substitute. According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the overall rate of heroin use in Indiana (0.6%) is twice that of the national average (0.3%). Heroin use is most prevalent among young adults, with 1 in 77 Hoosiers aged 18 to 25 reporting heroin use in the past year. 3 Tragically, heroin use has also become an issue facing Indiana high schoolers. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System reports that 1 in 40 students in grades 9 through 12 have tried heroin at least once. 4
The rise in heroin use has unfortunately led to dire consequences for the state of Indiana, as demonstrated by the 469 inpatient hospitalizations, 5 3,557 emergency department visits, 6 and 311 fatalities involving heroin overdose during the past year. 7 Heroin use is also a significant risk factor for contracting and transmitting infectious diseases like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B and C due to the common practice of needle-sharing among injection drug users. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that each injection drug user infected with hepatitis C is likely to infect 20 other people, extending the risk of infection far beyond the individual using the drug. 8 And just last year, the Indiana State Department of Health reported that injection drug use was the sole risk factor for contracting 1 in 11 new cases of HIV. 9
People addicted to heroin undergo withdrawal symptoms after choosing to detox from heroin or end their use of the drug. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal typically appear 8 to 12 hours after the last heroin dose and usually peak within 2 to 4 days. For most people symptoms will subside within a week, although some psychological problems and digestive issues can persist for weeks. Withdrawal symptoms can be highly unpleasant and may produce severe discomfort. Although the intensity and duration of withdrawal varies for each person based on how long they used heroin, the nature of their abuse, and how much was taken each time, symptoms that are experienced most often include: 10
Heroin detoxification (or heroin detox) is the process of purging heroin from the body. Detox from heroin can be very tough to handle due to extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and as a result many individuals will succumb to relapse without professional help. Medically supervised heroin addiction detox provides the best opportunity for you to get through withdrawal successfully, helping to reduce your risk of relapse while ensuring that you are comfortable, healthy, and safe throughout the entire process. A professional Indianapolis heroin detox program will take the necessary measures to keep you comfortable, monitor and address any physical and psychological complications, and minimize your chance of relapse.
Although uncommon, death is a potentially catastrophic outcome of opioid withdrawal. If left untreated, persistent vomiting and diarrhea can result in dehydration, hypernatremia (elevated blood sodium level), and subsequent heart failure. 11 Careful monitoring throughout the withdrawal process is crucial, and for this reason it is highly recommended to undergo heroin addiction detox in a safe environment under the care of trained medical professionals.
Several medications can be helpful in relieving some of the worst withdrawal symptoms experienced during detox. Heroin withdrawal is commonly managed by substituting heroin with a slow-acting opioid drug that doesn’t produce as much of a high as heroin while still counteracting most of the withdrawal symptoms. This substitute drug can then be gradually reduced or transitioned to a maintenance therapy using an FDA-approved medication-assisted treatment drug such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone.
Adjunctive medications may also be used for treating withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. These include the antihypertensive medication lofexidine, the first non-opioid treatment approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid withdrawal symptoms. 12 Clonidine is another high blood pressure medication commonly used for heroin detox, although unlike lofexidine, it is not FDA-approved for the treatment of opioid withdrawal and must be used “off label” for this purpose. Antidepressants and other anti-anxiety medications may also be administered to balance any mood swings that may occur during heroin detox.
The heroin detox program at Landmark Recovery in Indianapolis provides you with the opportunity to successfully rid your body of heroin addiction in a safe and comforting environment. And while detoxification alone is not a treatment for heroin addiction, it is the crucial first step to wellness and recovery when followed by the science-backed, evidence-based treatment offered by Landmark Recovery. 13 Please call our Indianapolis Landmark Recovery at 317-449-8029 so that we can provide you with more information about our medically supervised heroin addiction detox process and discuss which of our heroin treatment programs in Indianapolis can best meet your specific needs.
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1) National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Heroin Drug Facts.https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
2) Kuehn BM. Driven by Prescription Drug Abuse, Heroin Use Increases Among Suburban and Rural Whites. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2014;312(2):118–119.https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/1886185
3) SAMHSA, 2017). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). National Survey on Drug Use and Health: 2016-2017 State-Specific Tables, Table 40. Indiana.https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2016-2017-nsduh-state-specific-tables
4) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance —United States, 2015.https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/2015/ss6506_updated.pdf
5) Indiana State Department of Health, Division of Trauma and Injury Prevention; Indiana Hospital Association. (2020). Non-Fatal Inpatient Hospitalizations Involving Heroin Overdose.https://gis.in.gov/apps/isdh/meta/stats_layers.htm
6) Indiana State Department of Health, Division of Trauma and Injury Prevention; Indiana Hospital Association. (2020). Non-Fatal Emergency Department Visits Involving Heroin Overdose.https://gis.in.gov/apps/isdh/meta/stats_layers.htm
7) National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Indiana: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms.)https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/indiana-opioid-involved-deaths-related-harms
8) National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Heroin Research Report: Why does heroin use create special risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C?https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/why-are-heroin-users-special-risk-contracting-hivaids-hepatitis-b-c
9) Indiana State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup. (2019). The Consumption and Consequences of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs in Indiana: A State Epidemiological Profile 2018.https://fsph.iupui.edu/doc/research-centers/EPI_2019_Web.pdf
10) American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5.https://www.aoaam.org/resources/Documents/Clinical%20Tools/DSM-V%20Criteria%20for%20opioid%20use%20disorder%20.pdf
11) Darke S, Larney S, Farrell M. Yes, people can die from opiate withdrawal. Addiction. 2017;112(2):199-200.https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13512
12) U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2018). FDA approves the first non-opioid treatment for management of opioid withdrawal symptoms in adults.https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-non-opioid-treatment-management-opioid-withdrawal-symptoms-adults
13) National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Heroin Research Report: What are the treatments for heroin use disorder?https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-treatments-heroin-use-disorder