Heroin Addiction in Gilbert, AZ: How Inpatient Treatment Helps

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The Gilbert, AZ area has seen an increase in the number of people who need to go to rehab for heroin addiction. This is a very dangerous drug that has gained popularity during the opioid crisis in recent years. Addiction can come quickly and many who abuse it can overdose quickly, far too often with fatal results.

Many times, people who start using heroin have already been using a prescription opioid. These medicines are typically prescribed for pain management. Heroin is a growing problem for Gilbert, AZ. This community needs to have information on the risks they take with continued use and abuse of heroin.

One of the best decisions a heroin addict can make is to enter an inpatient rehab program. It can help a person get to the root of the addiction, healing both physical and psychological parts of the addiction. In Gilbert, AZ, inpatient heroin treatment is available for anyone who wants it. Our goal is to give correct, helpful information about heroin and treatment.

Gilbert Area Statistics for Heroin Abuse and Addiction

Gilbert is a city in the Phoenix Metro Area. Heroin usage has grown, especially in large metropolitan areas. The Maricopa County government reported some of the drug statistics:

  • There were 1.078 deaths from drug overdoses in Maricopa County in 2019.
  • Most of these deaths involved an opioid. This includes heroin.
  • Most deaths involved more than one drug (91%).
  • Almost all  (92%) overdoses were accidental, determined by the medical examiner.
  • 898 people died because of options between October 2018 – September 2019. This includes heroin and prescription opioids.
  • 66% of drug overdose deaths involved at least one opioid.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that doctors in the state of Arizona wrote 50.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people in 2018. This is an important number to look at as many heroin users abuse prescription opioids before they turn to heroin.

The need for recovery is big in the Gilbert area. There is help available for people who struggle with heroin addiction.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is in the opioid class of drugs. It is made from morphine which is naturally derived from poppy seeds plants. These plants are found I. Different areas of the world but most commonly found in Columbia, Mexico, and Southern Asia. It is most commonly found as a powder, either brown or white. Black tar heroin, which is black and tarry, is the least pure form of heroin.

People who abuse heroin have several methods they can choose from. They can smoke, sniff, snort or inject this drug. It can also be mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine. This specific combination is called a speedball.

Heroin was first produced in 1898 by the Bayer pharmaceutical company. They found heroin helpful in treating respiratory issues and physical pain; even more helpful than codeine or morphine. It gained popularity but was very addictive. In 1924, this drug was classified as illegal. Under the Controlled Substances Act, heroin is a Schedule I substance. These are substances that have a high risk for abuse and have no medical use.

Heroin is sold primarily by dealers on the streets. It can also be ordered on the dark web. Because of its illegal status, buyers and dealers have adopted several street names for heroin. These include:

  • Black Tar
  • Thunder
  • H
  • Big H
  • Negra
  • Hell Dust
  • Smack
  • Chiva
  • Horse

What Effects Does Heroin Have?

Heroin works in the brain by binding to mu-opioid receptors and then activating them. Without drugs, natural chemicals called neurotransmitters connect to the mu-opioid receptors and help the body regulate pain, release hormones and create feelings of satisfaction. When these are activated, they release dopamine, which causes a sensation of pleasure. Heroin binding to the mu-opioid is an extreme amount of dopamine being released into the brain.

There are many side effects that can come from using heroin. These can be short or long-term side effects. Many times, the euphoria that people feel will be stronger than potential side effects during the usage of the drug.

Short-Term Effects

Some of the short-term effects of abusing heroin can be:

  • Feeling sudden pleasure – a “rush”
  • Flushed skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Heavy, weighted arms and legs
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Persistent, severe drowsiness that can last for several hours after usage
  • Impaired, clouded mental function: brain fog
  • Breathing troubles: breathing slows and can be life-threatening. It can cause a coma and/or brain damage.
  • Slow heart rate
  • Relief from pain

Long-Term Effects

Using heroin repeatedly causes additional serious, damaging side effects. The physiology of the brain is affected as it causes the neuronal and hormonal systems to be imbalanced long-term. This is not an effect that can be reversed easily.

Other long-term effects of heroin can include:

  • Difficulties with decision-making
  • Having a hard time controlling behavior
  • Finding it hard to respond to stressful situations
  • Extreme tolerance and dependence
  • Withdrawal symptoms when usage is stopped
  • Collapsed veins (from injection)
  • A higher chance of HIV, hepatitis B and C and other infectious diseases
  • Tissue damage in the nose (for those who snort or sniff)
  • Abscesses
  • Heart lining and valve infections
  • Complications of the lungs, including pneumonia
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Mental disorders
  • Constipation and stomach cramping
  • Death

Why do People Abuse Heroin?

There are many reasons people may have for starting and abusing heroin. It is a good idea for people to have a better understanding of some of those reasons. As mentioned above, most heroin users used some type of opioid pain relievers before being introduced to this drug.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the 1990s was when the opioid epidemic began when pharmaceutical companies convinced the medical community that their painkillers would not be addictive to patients. This caused doctors and healthcare providers to prescribe them at much more. This led to widespread misuse, abuse, and eventual addiction to these medications. These numbers only got larger as time went on.

Though it was a little late, prescription painkillers were made harder to get when it was determined how addictive they could be. Because of this, many people, who were already addicted to their medicine started using heroin because it was cheaper and easier to obtain than the medicine they were already using.

The link between prescription opioid abuse and heroin addiction is evident. There have been many studies on this relationship. One of those studies showed that 86% of the heroin users interviewed were using opioid pain relievers before they were introduced to heroin.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction has several signs for people to look for in knowing if their friend or loved one is struggling with this drug. They can include:

  • A person may think or move slower than usual
  • They may say they feel sleepy or state that they feel like they are in a dream
  • Their pupils (the black circle in the middle of the eye) will be very small
  • They will have track marks on their arms (those who inject)
  • Withdrawal symptoms when it wears off, which can include:
    • Muscle and/or bone pain
    • Chills
    • Vomiting
    • Insomnia
    • Nervousness
    • Itchy skin

Other general signs of addiction can sometimes include:

  • Isolation from friends and loved ones
  • Keeping a stash of heroin on hand all the time
  • Being a risk-taker in order to get or use heroin
  • Making sacrifices and stopping activities that were once enjoyable
  • Feeling withdrawal as soon as the heroin effects start to wear off
  • Building a tolerance for the drug. This means needing more and more of it to experience the same effect.

When Stopping the Use of Heroin What are the Withdrawal Symptoms?

An addiction to heroin causes dependence on the drug. When a person stops using it or cuts back on it, they will start experiencing unpleasant sometimes harsh symptoms. This is known as withdrawal. Most people cannot manage these symptoms without treatment.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Feeling agitated and/or anxious
  • Muscle pain
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea/vomiting/Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive yawning
  • Goosebumps

Is it Possible for People to Quit Heroin on their Own Without Going to Drug Rehab?

Quitting heroin use without treatment is possible and some people have been successful in doing so. This is not the norm, however. When someone tries to quit without assistance, it can become very dangerous. The withdrawal symptoms can become very severe and because of this, many people turn back to heroin to alleviate these symptoms. This is known as a relapse.

Relapse can be common among drug users and should not deter their recovery efforts. Many times, people will go through a cycle of quitting and relapsing. This cycle can go several times before they finally decide they have had enough and finally quit for the last time. Sadly, that “one last time” use could be fatal, especially for heroin users. This is due to the drug tolerance level changing in their body. Unfortunately, many accidental overdoses happen during these cycles. When a person relapses, they use the amount of the drug they were previously using but their body’s tolerance for the drug is lower, and cannot handle it. This becomes a fatal error.

People who are addicted to heroin will be safer and more successful if they recover in a treatment facility. There, they will have help from professionals to get them through withdrawal.

Signs of a Heroin Overdose

If someone is suspected of overdosing on heroin, this is a medical emergency. This is something that will not go away on its own and needs immediate medical attention. Call 911 right away if a person is showing signs of a heroin overdose.

The following are signs of an opioid overdose:

  • Skin that is clammy when touched
  • Pale face
  • Limp body
  • Blue or purple fingernails and/or lips
  • Vomiting
  • Gurgling noises that could indicate choking
  • Unconsciousness
  • Inability to speak
  • Breathing that has slowed down or stopped
  • A heart rate that has slowed down or stopped

Gilbert Heroin Rehabilitation Facilities

There is help available in Gilbert for anyone who struggles with heroin addiction. There are different kinds of rehab programs with varying levels of care in the local area. Not all programs will be suitable for every person.

  • Heroin Detox: Detox is the process of removing harmful toxins from the body. This is a vital first step for anyone recovering from heroin addiction. Detox treatment can help lessen and even prevent many of the severe withdrawal symptoms that have already been discussed.
  • Inpatient Rehab: This rehab program is one where the person checks into a facility and stays there for around 28 days. While there, they will begin therapy and receive around-the-clock care.
  • Long-Term Rehab: This is needed by some people, depending on their circumstances. If the 28-day inpatient rehab is not successful, this rehab might be helpful. Long-term rehab can last for a period of several months, if necessary.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs: Intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs, are outpatient programs that provide a high level of care. This program will usually run for around 12 weeks and the person will attend evening appointments, generally 3 to 5 times a week. The popularity of IOPs has waned in recent years because of their flexibility.
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs: Partial hospitalization programs, or PHPs, are very similar to IOPs. The main differences are these are more extreme and the person will attend appointments during the day. They could spend several hours up to five times a week at their appointments.
  • Traditional Outpatient Rehab: This is usually a form of follow-up rehab. The person attends individual therapy sessions 1-3 times a week for continued work on recovery. This is not recommended for a person who is addicted to heroin and has not experienced rehab before.

Why Aftercare is Important After Rehab

People who attend a rehab program are learning a new way to live. They have to learn how to do everything without heroin. This is something that they may master while in rehab, but then they have to go out in the world where stressors, triggers and temptation exists. Inpatient rehab will help a person plan for life after rehab.

Some things that could be explored when planning for aftercare could be:

  • Temptation: Helping to identify and resist temptation
  • Triggers: Helping a person learn their triggers and how to avoid them
  • Cravings: learning to be strategic in managing cravings
  • Learning how to talk about the addiction
  • How to handle relapse

An important part of aftercare is follow-up treatment. Aside from the outpatient treatment mentioned above, a person can choose to attend a support group. Two good options are Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery.

Is Inpatient Heroin Detox and Rehab Paid for by Insurance?

Many people who need heroin addiction treatment are concerned with how they will pay for rehab. It is one of the biggest reasons people choose not to seek out the help they need. If the correct information about this is not given, they may assume they cannot get the help they need because it can be unaffordable to pay out-of-pocket.

 For those who have health insurance, which most people do, their insurance will cover the cost of addiction treatment. This is a requirement under the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010. Some of these policies may cover the full amount of rehab.

Everyone’s insurance coverage is different. It is important for a person to contact their insurance company to see exactly what will be covered. Thankfully, rehab is more affordable and more people can go because of this.

About the Inpatient Rehab Program at SpringBoard Arizona

At SpringBoard Arizona, we have an excellent inpatient program for the Gilbert community. This program offers detox for different types of addictions. We have a well-trained, knowledgeable staff who all have the same goal: to help people reach their goal of recovery.

Our belief is that every person has their own recovery journey. Everyone has their own unique needs, even if they have the same addictions. We have specific treatment plans to give patients the therapy and treatment they need and deserve.

Learn More About Heroin Addiction and Inpatient Rehab Near Gilbert, Arizona

At SpringBoard Arizona, we have seen a number of people in Gilbert who have a hard time recovering from heroin addiction. They may have decided that there is nothing left to hope for and there is no help for them. We want to let them know that there is help available to them.

Do you struggle with heroin addiction? Do you live in Gilbert and need resources for heroin addiction treatment? We would like to talk to you about how inpatient treatment can help you recover from your addiction.

If you have questions about going to an inpatient heroin rehab in Gilbert, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us today.


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