There are many people in Phoenix, Arizona who are struggling with heroin addiction, and a lot of them need treatment. This drug has been a major part of the opioid crisis, which began several years ago. It can lead to quick addictions, and it has led to countless overdoses all over the state; not to mention the country.
Heroin is very dangerous; though it may not appear to be to a person who has been abusing prescription painkillers. This drug has grown to be a big problem in Phoenix and people need to know the risks involved with continuing to abuse it.
As an inpatient heroin rehab facility in Arizona, we know that going to rehab can be a life-changing decision. It can help people heal from both the physical and psychological aspects of their substance abuse problem. Treatment is available for people who live in Phoenix, and on this page we want to discuss what to expect as well as provide some helpful information about this drug.
Heroin Abuse and Addiction Statistics in Phoenix
- In 2019, there were 1078 drug overdose deaths in Maricopa County.
- The majority of those deaths included opioids, and many of them involved heroin.
- That year, 91% of the overdose deaths involved the use of more than one drug.
- 92% of the deaths were found to be accidental.
- Between October 2018 and September 2019, opioid drugs – including prescription painkillers and heroin – took the lives of almost 900 people.
- In 2019, 66% of all drug overdose deaths involved at least one opioid drug.
Clearly, there are a lot of people living in Phoenix who are suffering because of their addictions to heroin. They need to know that help is available for them for recovery.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug that is a Schedule I substance according to the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it has no accepted medical use and that there is a high potential for misuse. But this drug was not always illegal. In fact, at one point in time, it was considered a “wonder drug.”
The Bayer pharmaceutical company first began producing heroin in 1898. It was found to be more helpful than codeine and morphine at treating respiratory problems and physical pain. Its use became widespread very quickly, and before long, the addictive properties of heroin were discovered. As a result, this drug was made illegal in 1924.
Heroin is made from morphine, which is a substance that comes from the seed pod of opium poppy plants. These plants are mostly grown in Mexico, Columbia and Southeast and Southwest Asia. It may have the appearance of a white or brown powder. One form of heroin – known as black tar heroin – is black in color and it has a sticky consistency that is similar to roofing tar. This is the least pure form of the drug.
On the street, heroin may be known under several street names, such as:
- Big H
- Black Tar
- Hell Dust
What are the Effects of Heroin?
Heroin produces its euphoric effects because of the way it binds to and activates the brain’s mu-opioid receptors. Without the drug, the human body has neurotransmitters that will attach to these receptors to help regulate pain, release hormones and produce feelings of well-being. Dopamine is released, which causes pleasurable sensations. But when heroin is used, it will bind to the mu-opioid receptors instead, resulting in a flood of dopamine into the brain.
Heroin does have side effects that can affect people in both the short and long-term. People are often unaware of what they are because they are more concerned about the drug’s euphoric effects.
The short-term effects of abusing heroin include:
- Feeling a rush of euphoria.
- Breathing difficulties, which can cause coma and even permanent brain damage.
- Brain fog and mental function impairment.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Pain relief.
- Dry mouth.
- Flushed skin.
- Severe itching all over the body.
- A heaviness in the arms and legs.
- Feelings of drowsiness that may persist for several hours.
- Slower heart function than normal.
The longer a person abuses heroin, the more serious the side effects can become. Many people do not realize that repeatedly abusing this drug can cause physiological changes in the structure of the brain. This can result in serious long-term imbalances in the neurons and hormones, and those changes are sometimes irreversible.
Some additional long-term effects of heroin include:
- Problems making decisions.
- An inability to regulate one’s behavior.
- Withdrawal symptoms once the drug is out of the body.
- An increased risk of infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B and C and HIV.
- Collapsed veins.
- A risk of bacterial infections.
- An infection in the lining of the heart and valves.
- Liver and kidney disease.
- Arthritis and similar issues.
Why do People Abuse Heroin?
It is important for Phoenix residents to understand why a person might feel the need to abuse heroin. For most people, their introduction to this drug is a gradual one that first begins with opioid pain relievers.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers tremendous insight into the opioid epidemic and how it came to pass. In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies told the medical community that their patients would not get addicted to prescription painkillers. With that reassurance, doctors began prescribing them at much higher rates. More prescriptions meant more chances for diversion and drug abuse, and those numbers started to climb.
Once it became clear that these drugs were causing people to get addicted, prescription painkillers became harder to get. As a result, people turned to heroin, which offered a way to get their “medicine” at a cheaper price and it was more widely available.
Today, it is a well-known fact that prescription opioid abuse is a risk factor for heroin abuse and addiction. In one study, 86% of heroin addicts admitted to prior painkiller abuse before ever using the harder drug.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
There are several signs that people can look for to help determine if a loved one is abusing or addicted to heroin. They include:
- Moving more slowly than they usually do.
- Track marks on the arms because of needles.
- Frequently feeling sleepy, as though they are in a dream state.
- Extremely small pupil sizes.
- Complaining of pain, chills or an upset stomach because of withdrawal symptoms.
Other signs of addiction can include:
- Becoming isolated from loved ones and preferring to use the drug alone.
- Making sure enough heroin is on-hand at all times.
- Taking risks to obtain the drug and use it.
- Going through withdrawal when the effects of the drug begin to wear off.
- Losing interest in any activities that were once felt to be enjoyable.
- Forming a tolerance, which means that more of the drug needs to be used in order to experience the same effects.
Does Stopping the Use of Heroin Result in Withdrawal Symptoms?
When a person has gotten addicted to heroin, they typically go into withdrawal when the drug is stopped. Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be extremely difficult to manage without treatment. They can quickly become severe, and may include:
- Achy muscles
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dilated pupils
- Stomach cramps
- Excessive sweating
- Insomnia and other sleep disturbances
- Feelings of anxiety
- Getting agitated or annoyed easily
- A runny nose
Can People Quit Heroin Cold Turkey?
There are some people who quit using heroin on their own successfully, but those stories are few and far between. Attempting to quit cold turkey, or to even wean oneself off this drug is very dangerous. This is because of how severe withdrawal can become, which can cause people to go back to using. This is also called having a relapse.
Addiction is a relapsing disease, and some people will relapse many times before they finally stop using successfully. But in the case of someone who is addicted to heroin, even one relapse can be fatal. This is because of changing drug tolerance levels in the body. A lot of accidental overdoses occur because the user misjudged the appropriate dose when they went back to using heroin. As a result, they take too much, and doing so becomes fatal.
It is much safer to recover from heroin addiction in a facility where people can get the help they need.
Signs of a Heroin Overdose
Overdosing on heroin is a medical emergency. The victim will not just sleep off the effects of the drug. They need immediate medical attention, so please dial 911 right away.
The signs of an opioid overdose include:
- A pale face.
- Skin that feels clammy to the touch.
- A body that goes limp.
- A purple or blue color on the lips and/or fingertips.
- Vomiting or gurgling sounds, which could mean they are choking.
- Unconsciousness and unable to wake up.
- The inability to speak.
- Slowed or stopped breathing.
- A slower or stopped heart rate.
Types of Heroin Rehabilitation Facilities in Phoenix
Fortunately, there are rehab programs in Phoenix that can help people who have heroin addictions. There are different levels of care, but some may not work well for people who have never been to any type of treatment before.
- Heroin Detox Facilities in Phoenix: Going through the detoxification process is an important part of recovering from heroin addiction. As we mentioned previously, this drug causes severe withdrawal when it is stopped. The right treatment can prevent many withdrawal symptoms and lessen the severity of others.
- Phoenix Inpatient Rehab Programs: Inpatient rehab involves staying at a facility for about 28 days while receiving treatment. Patients participate in various types of therapeutic activities and receive therapy while they are there.
- Long-Term Rehab Centers in Phoenix: Long-term rehab programs are necessary for some people, depending on their unique needs. People who have not been successful with inpatient care before may need to be in treatment for a longer period of time. With long-term rehab, patients can stay for several months at a time, if necessary.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs in Phoenix: Intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs, provide a higher level of care on an outpatient basis. IOPs usually run for about 12 weeks and clients come to appointments during the evening. Their flexibility has caused them to become very popular.
- Phoenix Partial Hospitalization Programs: Partial hospitalization programs, or PHPs, are almost the same as IOPs. But they tend to be even more intensive and appointments take place during the day. Clients come to the program and spend several hours there as often as 5 times per week.
- Traditional Outpatient Rehab in Phoenix: Outpatient rehab and therapy can be a great form of follow-up treatment. But it is usually not right for someone who is addicted to heroin and who has never been to rehab before. It involves working one-on-one with a therapist during appointments 1-3 times per week.
What are the Benefits of Going to an Inpatient Rehab Facility?
A lot of experts agree that most heroin addicts should begin with inpatient rehab. This is actually considered the Gold Standard of care by a lot of experts in the addiction treatment field. Inpatient programs offer a lot of benefits, such as:
- More structure in the patients’ lives. Most people come to rehab without much in the way of structure. Going to an inpatient program can help them create a new, healthier mindset. They will learn how to eat the right foods, get enough exercise, have more positive thoughts and much more.
- Going to an inpatient program in Phoenix allows people to take the time to focus on themselves and their needs. Without any outside interference from loved ones, patients can get to know who they are and address some very serious health concerns.
- Inpatient rehab centers in Phoenix provide a lot of medical support. Patients can feel secure in knowing that any medical emergencies may be avoided or treated right away if they arise.
- Family therapy is typically offered during a patient’s inpatient stay in Phoenix. This can help to heal deep wounds that have been caused by the addiction and it fosters better relationships with the patient’s support system.
- Learning how to live life without substance abuse. Many people simply do not know how to manage their lives without heroin. Going to an inpatient program in Phoenix can help people form new habits, identify and avoid triggers and make solid plans to stay clean afterward.
Will Health Insurance Pay for Inpatient Heroin Detox and Rehab?
Paying for inpatient rehab is frequently a concern for people who are in need of heroin addiction treatment in Phoenix. In fact, it is often the reason why people do not seek help. They may assume that they will need to cover the cost of rehabilitation on their own. But this is simply not the case.
Most people have health insurance, and every health insurance company is required to provide addiction treatment benefits. Some policies may even cover it in full. This was made possible by the Affordable Care Act, which became law in 2010.
Every policy is different as far as what it covered. But any co-insurance amounts or copays should be relatively small. This has made going to rehab a lot more affordable and attainable.
About SpringBoard Arizona’s Inpatient Recovery Program
At SpringBoard Arizona we offer an excellent inpatient rehab program that includes detox services for people in the Phoenix area. Our staff is highly knowledgeable and we work hard to help make our patients feel comfortable.
We believe that addiction recovery should always be a personal experience. All of our patients have very different needs, and no two addictions are the same; even if the same drug is involved. Our targeted treatment plans aim to provide every patient with the types of therapy and treatment that will work best for them.
Learn More About Heroin Addiction and Inpatient Rehab in Phoenix, Arizona
At SpringBoard Arizona, we know that there are many people in Phoenix who are struggling with heroin addiction. Many of them have lost hope, and they feel they have nowhere to turn. We want them to know that is not true, and help is available that will meet them right where they are.
Have you been putting off going to heroin rehab? If you live in Phoenix, there are so many great resources available to you. We would love the opportunity to talk with you about how inpatient treatment can help you be successful in the long term.
If you have questions about going to an inpatient heroin rehab in Phoenix, we would be happy to get you some answers. Please contact us today.