Heroin Addiction and Detoxification

Heroin2018-03-17T13:50:23+00:00

Heroin RAPID DETOX UNDER SEDATION

The conventional, common way to detox patients addicted to heroin is the MAT or MMT programs. MAT (medication-assisted treatment) with Subutex, Suboxone, Zubsolv and other buprenorphine-containing opiate medications. MMT (methadone medication treatment) with Methadone is used as replacement therapy for the heroin-dependent patient. Since Methadone and Buprenorphine are opiates, the patient is still dependent on opioids with this replacement therapy. Once in the program, patients feel like they are locked in, not able to stop, and have to commit to driving daily to get their dose. Basically, it is trading one opiate for the other. Consequently, the patient will still be dependent on the opiates Buprenorphine and Methadone and will go through withdrawals when it is discontinued. Withdrawals are very painful and can last weeks after stopping Buprenorphine or even months after the last dose of Methadone (the most extended acting of all the opiates which also collects in your bones and tissues).

Patients wanting to be totally opiate free reach out to us. We detox all opiates, rather than substituting one opiate with another opiate. Rapid detox under sedation is a medical detoxification treatment offered by All Opiates Detox for patients dependent on Heroin. It consists of sedating the patient and removing Heroin from the brain receptor while the patient is sleeping. Acute withdrawals are precipitated with an opiate blocker. These withdrawals will pass during the sedation period. Once the withdrawals are over and the brain receptors are free of the opiate Heroin, a blocker is placed to prevent any opiates from getting back into the brain receptor. The Naltrexone blocker will reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

Of all the opiates that are abused, Heroin is the most difficult to give up due to the cravings. All Opiates Detox under sedation is the only program that uses a Naltrexone blocker as soon as patients are free of opiates, thereby preventing cravings and blocking any opioids from getting back into the brain receptors.

The blocker of choice used at All Opiates Detox is an implant. Dr. George prefers the Naltrexone implant blocker for several reasons. First, the Naltrexone implant lasts approximately 2 months, as opposed to Vivitrol (lasts about 28 days) or tablets (have to be taken daily). Another reason our physicians prefer the implant over the injection is for patients that may not be able to tolerate Naltrexone due to side effects, sensitivity or allergies. The implant can be removed from under the skin, whereas the injection stays in the body for about 28 days and therefore cannot be removed once it is administered. It is recommended to remain on Naltrexone maintenance therapy for at least one year to allow the brain to heal from the damage caused by the drug use and abuse.

Our success rate is near 100% for helping patients detox off opiates without the excruciating pain and discomfort of the withdrawals. Aftercare consisting of the Naltrexone opiate blocker, psychotherapy, and 12 step programs are recommended to ensure long-term abstinence and success.

Heroin DETAILS

Heroin is an illegal opiate obtained off the street. Heroin was first made in the lab in 1874 from Morphine, which is an alkaloid that is extracted from the opium in poppy seed and is grown in Asia, Mexico, Afganistan, and Colombia. About 65% of the opium is produced in Afghanistan. 75% of the world’s heroin is consumed in the United States.

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Heroin SIDE EFFECTS

There are side effects from injecting heroin, especially when sharing needles. These include hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and HIV. At the site of injection, abscesses might develop. With intravenous use bacteria could be administered into the bloodstream. Such bacteria could vegetate in the heart valves resulting in damage which might also lead to congestive heart failure requiring emergency heart surgery.

Heroin WITHDRAWALS

Heroin withdrawal syndrome could start a few hours after missing a dose since it is a short-acting opioid. Withdrawals would begin with sniffles, anxiety, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, agitation, jerking, shaking and hallucinations. These withdrawals will lead the user to seek heroin again or other opiates or drugs to get rid of these withdrawals.

Heroin OVERDOSE

The first heroin injection will lead to a very high euphoric feeling. With subsequent use, that perception is diminished with each dose, and other stress factors start building up in the brain which ultimately result in tolerance. Tolerance will result in raising the heroin dose to chase that first high. It is this behavior that will lead to overdose. Overdose will result in somnolence, shallow breathing, poor responsiveness and if not rescued will lead to death. To interrupt this overdose that could lead to death Narcan, a short-acting opiate blocker is the rescue medicine used to wake up the user and get them to start breathing so they can then be transported to the hospital. Narcan is available without prescription at the pharmacies so that family members can intervene and prevent death of their loved ones.

Heroin ABUSE

Heroin is a potent opioid. Heroin users experience the best high for the very first time use. This high euphoric effect will lead to continued use to chasing what is called “the first high.” Consequently, that will lead to tolerance, then dependence, which will ultimately result in addiction. Less than 70% of heroin is injected intravenously, about 24% is taken nasally, and the rest is smoked. Since Heroin is a short-acting opiate, it is used more frequently than other opiates.

Improper use and abuse of Heroin can lead to dependence, tolerance, and addiction.

Opiates can be habit forming, causing not only physical, but also psychological dependence. Withdrawals may occur if the dose of the opiates is reduced or discontinued after long term use.

Using opiates for an extended period of time can lead to tolerance, where the user needs to increase the dosage of their opiates to achieve the desired effect, whether the desired effect is pain control or euphoria.

Once the patient develops a tolerance, it becomes even more difficult to stop using due to the withdrawals. Symptoms of withdrawals are an indication of physical dependence and addiction to the opiate Heroin. Most patients describe withdrawals as the worst, most frightening experience one will ever encounter. One can only imagine the excruciating pain when the opiate user says that they’d rather die than go through the withdrawals. Heroin physical dependence symptoms, such as withdrawals, lead to psychological dependence. That is when addiction takes over the mind and life of the Heroin opiate user.

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