There has been a rise in the number of people with a heroin addiction, especially in suburban areas like Tempe, AZ. Fortunately, there are many rehab options available locally. Heroin is a dangerous drug that came to the forefront of the war on drugs with the opioid epidemic over the past few years. Addiction to this drug can happen quickly and can end in a fatal overdose.
People who use heroin often get their start by using prescription opioids beforehand. Opioids are generally prescribed to treat pain after an accident or surgery. Heroin is a continued problem for communities all over. It is important for people to have proper information about how risky the use and abuse of this drug is.
For someone who is addicted to heroin, entering rehab is the best step to take. During rehab, the root of the addiction can be revealed. This will help rehabilitate both the psychological and the physical aspects of the addiction. Arizona has many treatment options available for anyone who wants it. As an inpatient facility near Tempe, we want people to have the correct information about this drug and what to expect when they go to treatment.
Tempe Statistics for Heroin Abuse and Addiction
- In 2019, Maricopa County had 1,078 deaths due to drug overdose.
- It was reported that most of these deaths involved an opioid, including heroin.
- Most of the people who overdosed-91%-took more than one drug.
- Most of the overdoses-92%-were accidental. This was determined by the medical examiner.
- Between October 2018-September 2019 898 people died because of opioids. This number includes heroin and opioids obtained by prescription.
- Of the overdose deaths, 66% involved at least one opioid.
- A report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse said that in Arizona, doctors wrote 50.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people. This is important to look at because many heroin addicts used opioids before heroin.
There is a big need for treatment in the Tempe area. There are a variety of options for help available to people who struggle with heroin addiction.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is classified as an opioid. It is derived from morphine. This is made naturally from poppy seed plants. These can be found in many places around the world but primarily come from Southern Asia, Columbia, and Mexico. Most of the time, heroin is made and sold as a brown or white powder. The least pure form of heroin is called black tar heroin, which is black and tarry.
There are several methods people can choose when they abuse heroin. These methods are to snort, sniff, inject or smoke the drug. Drugmakers and dealers also mix heroin with other drugs. For example, when mixed with cocaine, this is called a speedball.
Bayer pharmaceutical company was the first to produce heroin, in 1898. They found that heroin helped those who had physical pain and respiratory problems. This was more helpful than morphine or codeine. Because of this, it became very popular, but it was very addictive. Heroin was classified as an illegal drug in 1924, and it became a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it has no approved medical use and has a high risk for abuse.
Although heroin can be ordered through the dark web, dealers primarily sell it on the streets. It is an illegal drug and buyers and sellers have had to use many different street names for heroin. These can include:
- Hell Dust
- Black Tar
- Big H
What are the Effects of Heroin?
Heroin is a drug that affects the brain. It does this by binding to the mu-opioid receptors and then activating them. Neurotransmitters in the brain connect to the mu-opioid receptors naturally, without drugs. This helps the body in the regulation of pain and in feeling satisfied. Dopamine gets released when these receptors are activated causing the sensation of pleasure. When a person is on heroin, the drug binding to the mu-opioid causes an excessive amount of dopamine to be released into the brain.
Heroin can cause many side effects on the user, short and long term. When they are using it, they feel the strong euphoria it causes and this is stronger during usage than many of the potential side effects.
Some short-term side effects of heroin abuse can include:
- Arms and legs that feel weighed down
- Severe drowsiness lasting for many hours after usage
- Flushed skin
- A slowed heart rate
- Severe itching
- A rushed feeling; suddenly feeling pleasure
- Mental function that is impaired or cloudy: brain fog
- Difficulties with breathing including breathing that slows down and can be life-threatening. This can lead to a coma and/or cause brain damage.
- Relief from pain
Repetitive use of heroin can cause some serious, harmful side effects. Long-term, the neuronal and hormonal systems can become imbalanced because of this. This cannot easily be reversed.
Other long-term effects of heroin use can include:
- Withdrawal symptoms after stopping use
- Difficulties controlling behavior
- Difficulties in decision-making
- Difficulties responding to stressful situations
- Nasal tissue damage (after snorting or sniffing)
- Liver and/or kidney disease
- Lung complications, including pneumonia
- Increased chance of hepatitis B and C, HIV and other infections diseases
- Excessive tolerance or dependence
- Infections in the lining and/or valves of the heart
- Collapsed veins (from injection)
- Mental disorders
- Constipation and stomach cramping
From Opioids to Heroin
The reason for starting heroin is different for all users. Tempe residents should have a good understanding of why some people start using heroin. As previously stated, many heroin addicts started using an opioid pain reliever before they tried heroin. A lot of this can be attributed to prescription opioid usage.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that the opioid epidemic began in the 1990s. Big pharmaceutical companies had painkillers and convinced the medical community that people would not become addicted to them. Doctors and healthcare providers started prescribing them on a greater scale, leading to extensive misuse, abuse and addiction. This became a growing problem.
Painkillers were made harder to get when it was realized how addictive they are, though it was a little late for that as heroin addiction opioid addiction had grown so much. There were many people who had already developed an addiction to their painkillers and looked for a way to get that high. Heroin not only gave them that but was also cheaper and easier to get while also taking care of any lingering pain they may have had.
There is a strong connection between prescription opioid abuse and heroin addiction. Many studies have been done to relate these two drugs. One study found that of the heroin users interviewed, 86% said they were using prescription opioids before they were started using heroin.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
There are many things to look for to know if someone has a heroin addiction. Signs of heroin addiction can include the following:
- Feeling sleepy or feeling like they are dreaming
- Thinking or moving slower than usual
- For those who inject, track marks on the arms
- Very small pupils (the black circle in the middle of the eye)
- Withdrawal symptoms when it wears off, which can include:
- Muscle and/or bone pain
- Itchy skin
There are other signs of addiction that may also be present including:
- Sacrificing or stopping activities or hobbies that the person previously enjoyed
- Withdrawal kicking in as soon as the drug wears off
- Isolating themselves from people who love them
- Keeping heroin on hand in unexpected places at all times
- Taking risks in an effort to get or use the drug
- Becoming tolerant to heroin. This means they continually need more of it to experience the same effect.
What Withdrawal Symptoms Occur When Heroin is Stopped?
Getting addicted to heroin causes a person to become dependent on it. Cutting back or stopping it will cause uncomfortable symptoms to occur. This is when withdrawal starts and most people cannot manage these symptoms on their own.
The following are some common opioid withdrawal symptoms:
- Stomach cramps
- Dilated pupils
- Excessive yawning
- Feeling agitated and/or anxious
- Muscle pain
- Sleep difficulties
- Runny nose
- Excessive sweating
Can People Quit Heroin Without Treatment?
Some people have been able to stop using heroin without treatment but this is not the norm as it is very difficult. Trying to quit without help can become dangerous because withdrawal symptoms can be severe. This can cause people to relapse, which is going back to heroin to stop the symptoms of withdrawal.
Although relapse is common for those in recovery, they should not let it stop them. There is often a quitting and relapsing cycle they will go through until they decide they have had enough. Unfortunately for some people, the last-time use could be a fatal one. This can be especially true for heroin users. This is attributed to changing tolerance levels in their body. This is the picture of an accidental overdose. A person who relapses likely goes back to using the same amount of the drug they were using prior to stopping but their body’s tolerance level has decreased and cannot take that amount of the drug. This is a fatal mistake.
Those who have an addiction to heroin are likely to be safer and more successful if they receive treatment from a rehab program. During this time, they can have professional help getting through the tough withdrawal symptoms.
Heroin Overdose Signs
Overdosing from heroin is a medical emergency. It will not stop or go away by itself and it needs immediate medical treatment. Call 911 right away if a person is showing signs of a heroin overdose.
- Fingernails and/or lips that are blue or purple
- Unable to talk
- Clammy skin
- Pale skin, especially the face
- Slowing or stopped heart rate
- Slowing or stopped breathing
- Limp body
- Gurgling noises. This could indicate choking
Heroin Rehabilitation Facilities in Tempe
Tempe has several options available to help those with heroin addiction. The various rehab programs offer different levels of care depending on what a person needs. Not every program will suit every person’s needs.
- Heroin Detox: When a person uses a drug for any amount of time, it releases harmful toxins into their body. Detox removes these toxins and will be the important first step in recovering from heroin addiction. Detox lessens withdrawal symptoms and can even help prevent some of them from coming.
- Inpatient Rehab: This is when a person will stay at a facility for rehab for a period of time, typically around 28 days. This is an important step as they receive a high level of care and will begin therapy while there.
- Long-Term Rehab: This is a rehab for people who need to stay longer than the traditional 28-day inpatient program. Some circumstances may make it difficult for someone to be successful with the shorter stay and this gives them a longer program. This can last for several months if needed.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs: Intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs, provide the same high level of care as an inpatient program on an outpatient basis. Patients will attend 3 to 5 evening appointments per week for approximately 12 weeks. IOPs are not as popular as they once were because they are not as flexible as other programs.
- Partial Hospitalization Programs: Partial hospitalization programs, or PHPs, are another outpatient program, similar to an IOP. These are more extreme with daytime appointments. These appointments are often five days a week and can last for several hours each day.
- Gilbert Traditional Outpatient Rehab: This program is a follow-up rehab. The patient is expected to attend therapy appointments 1 to 3 times per week to continue their recovery. Someone with a heroin addiction who has not been to rehab before will not be recommended to this program.
Heroin Addiction Treatment Aftercare
When someone starts a rehab program, they have to learn how to live without heroin. They have to adjust their way of living and make new habits. They will learn a lot of this from rehab but face a lot of things in the world after rehab that can be difficult for them during recovery. An inpatient rehab program will help a person learn how to handle life after rehab.
The following are some of the things that aftercare education can help a person plan for:
- Temptations: Learning to pinpoint and resist their temptations.
- Triggers: Learning their personal triggers and the best ways to stay away from them.
- Cravings: Learning to manage their desire for heroin.
- Learning the best way to discuss their addiction with friends and loved ones.
- Learning how to address relapse
Follow-up treatment is a vital part of aftercare. The outpatient treatment mentioned above is a good option. Another one is a support group. Two choices are Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery.
Does Insurance Pay for Heroin Detox and Rehab?
The cost of heroin addiction treatment can be a concern for many people. They may wonder how they will pay for it. Many people choose not to look into help because this is a big concern for them. Giving the correct information about this is important so people know that they may not have to pay for the bulk of treatment out-of-pocket.
A majority of people in the US have health insurance and this is good news because insurance does cover the cost of addiction treatment. In 2010, under the Affordable Care Act law, this is a requirement. Some policies even cover the complete cost of rehab.
We recommend for each person to contact their insurance company to ask what their coverage is. Everyone’s policy is different and they may have different coverage, copays or deductibles. Rehab is more affordable than ever and this makes it a little bit easier for someone to go.
SpringBoard Arizona’s Inpatient Rehab Program
We have an excellent inpatient program at SpringBoard Arizona. We have detox programs for various kinds of drug addictions. Our staff is knowledgeable and well-trained, all with the same goal: to assist those who want to recover and reach their goal of getting and staying clean.
We believe that everyone has to go on their own journey to recovery. With individual needs and individual addictions, the treatment plans we have are designed for individuals. They will get the therapy and treatment they need to overcome.
More Information About Heroin Addiction and Inpatient Rehab in Tempe, Arizona
At SpringBoard Arizona, we know that recovering from heroin addiction is difficult. There are people in the Tempe area who may have given up. We want to let them know that we are here to help.
Do you or someone you love struggle with heroin addiction? Are you in Tempe and want heroin addiction treatment resources? We would like to tell you about how helpful inpatient addiction treatment can be for you.
If you have questions about going to an inpatient heroin rehab in Tempe, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us today.