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What is a Heroin Epidemic?

Experience clinician-run addiction treatment at Red Oak Recovery® in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains

What is a Heroin Epidemic?

A young man wonders about the heroin epidemic and how it has effected himHeroin is an addictive substance that comes from the poppy plant. It has similar effects as other opiates, such as morphine, but heroin has no documented medical use or purpose. The illegal use of heroin in the United States has exploded over the past two decades, causing many to dub the phenomenon a heroin epidemic. Between 1999 and 2014 alone, heroin-related deaths rose 248%.

The Heroin Epidemic and The Drug’s Effects

Heroin use causes a number of physical and behavioral signs and can cause terrifying side effects during use, overdose or withdrawal. If you notice these physical or behavioral symptoms in a loved one, it’s time for them to seek treatment:

  • Physical
  • Flushed skin
  • Slowed breath
  • Disorientation
  • Significant weight loss
  • Small pupils and tired-looking eyes
  • Behavioral
  • Changes in mood and sleep patterns
  • Frequent lying
  • Apathy
  • Decreased performance in work or school
  • Little interested in formerly important activities

In the long-term, heroin addiction can cause even more severe effects. These may permanently damage a user’s quality of life. Long-term effects of heroin addiction include:

  • Damaged skin (from scratching)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Malnutrition
  • Insomnia
  • Poor dental health

The heroin epidemic is a terrifying and overwhelming problem, but you can stop it by recognizing the signs and helping yourself or your loved one find treatment. If these symptoms are not recognized or addressed, they can eventually lead to a heroin overdose.

Heroin overdose is the final phase of a heroin addiction. A person suffering from a heroin overdose needs medical attention immediately before it’s too late. Someone experiencing a heroin overdose will experience symptoms such as:

  • Very slow breathing and pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Unresponsiveness

Recovering from Heroin Addiction

The best way to combat the heroin epidemic is to find a professional drug rehab center and begin heroin addiction treatment. A rehab center will provide the best support for someone suffering from a heroin addiction. Without the help of a rehab center, recovery from heroin addiction can be dangerous and nearly impossible.

Attempting to self-detox from heroin can cause painful withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cold flashes
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety

During the beginning stages of recovery, underlying mental disorders may also arise that need to be addressed by our co-occurring disorder treatment. Having the support of trained medical staff will be key in helping the user through both of those struggles.

Heroin addiction does not have to be the end of the road. Before it leads to overdose, contact Red Oak Recovery® medical team about our options for heroin addiction treatment. Life after heroin addiction can be healthy and rewarding. Call 866-457-7590. Every life saved is a step towards eradicating the heroin epidemic.