Street Names for Heroin

Street Names for Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Heroin is a potent, highly-addictive illegal opiate drug that has powerful effects which can profoundly depress the central nervous system (CNS) to the point of becoming life-threatening.

Some street names for heroin include the following:

  • Smack
  • H
  • Big H
  • Tar
  • Dope
  • Hell dust
  • Horse
  • Junk
  • Chiba
  • Brown sugar
  • Brown crystal
  • Mud
  • Mexican brown
  • Mexican mud
  • China White
  • White
  • White nurse
  • White lady
  • White horse
  • White girl
  • White boy
  • White stuff
  • Boy
  • Snow
  • Snowball
  • Skunk
  • Thunder

There are several different forms of heroin, including white and brown powders and black tar.

Black tar heroin also has several street names, including the following:

  • Black tar
  • Black pearl
  • Chiva
  • Mexican black tar
  • Mexican tar
  • Negra

Street names for heroin use include:

  • Chasing the dragon
  • Daytime and evening
  • Dip and dab
  • Jolly pop
  • Paper boy
  • Channel swimmer

What Does Heroin Look Like?

In the purest form, heroin is a fine white powder, but it can appear in other colors. When additives, such as sugar, are laced in to dilute the heroin, it can take on different shades ranging from brown, gray or even black.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) describes three main types of heroin:

  • White heroin, which is light-colored and powdery.
  • Brown heroin, which is brown or tan, less pure than white heroin, and often used for smoking rather than injecting.
  • Black tar heroin, which, in solid form, looks like black tar and is tacky and gooey, and, in powder form, looks like ashes.

Signs of Heroin Use

Street Names for Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

After someone snorts or injects heroin, they will experience an initial euphoric rush, which may or may not be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and skin flushing. The euphoria of heroin typically lasts for only a few minutes and is then followed by several hours of drowsiness.

Other noticeable physical signs of heroin use include:

  • Disorientation
  • Impaired coordination
  • Itching
  • Constricted pupils
  • Impaired mental functioning
  • Slurred, slowed or incoherent speech

Because heroin is a CNS depressant, many users enter a hazy, in-and-out of consciousness state known as being “on the nod.” An individual who is on the nod may appear alert one second and then fade out of consciousness. People who are nodding off experience reduced breathing and heart rates. Some heroin users have described being on the nod as a semi-hypnotic state hanging on the edge of consciousness.

Signs of a Heroin Overdose

A heroin overdose is a medical emergency and can rapidly result in coma and death. Being able to recognize the signs of a heroin overdose and respond urgently can a save a life.

Signs of a heroin overdose include very slow, labored, and shallow breathing, stopped breathing, pinpoint pupils and cold, clammy skin. The person may have perilously low blood pressure and a weak pulse and may fall into a coma. Other signs of a heroin overdose include bluish-colored lips and nails, discolored tongue, delirium, drowsiness, and uncontrolled muscle movements.

If you suspect that you or someone you love is experiencing a heroin overdose, call 911 immediately. If you have the anti-overdose drug Narcan (naloxone) available, administer it following the directions provided.

Signs of Long-Term Use

Repeated heroin use may result in many noticeable changes in an individual’s behavior, health, and mental well-being. Heroin addiction can happen rapidly, and as a person becomes increasingly absorbed with their addiction, they may neglect personal grooming and hygiene and begin to look disheveled and unkempt.

Other physical warning signs of chronic heroin use may include the following:

  • Damaged or collapsed veins
  • Bruising or “track marks”
  • Scabs and sores on skin
  • Nausea and stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Sores on nostrils or lips
  • Sniffling and nose bleeds

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), chronic heroin users can also experience a myriad of serious medical complications, including abscesses and bacterial infections of the heart lining and valves. Heroin users can also develop lung, liver, and kidney disease, as well as arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. And because many heroin users administer the drug intravenously, they are also at a heightened risk of contracting bloodborne infections such as hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS.

Behavioral Signs of Heroin Use

As with any addiction, heroin use can dramatically alter a person’s behavior.

Behavioral signs of heroin abuse include the following:

  • Social isolation
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Lack of motivation
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Financial and legal problems
  • Lying and stealing
  • Secretive or suspicious behavior
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Decreased interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Conflicts with friends, family, or co-workers
  • Socializing with new friends of questionable standards
  • Moodiness and poor emotional regulation

Heroin Paraphernalia

Street Names for Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

If someone you know is using heroin, you may find items they use contain or consume the drug. Heroin is often sold in glass or plastic vials or small, tightly wrapped plastic bags or colored balloons. Since many users inject the drug, syringes, or needles are a huge red flag for heroin abuse.

Other items associated with heroin injection include the following:

  • Shoelaces, bandanas, rubber hosing or other items that serve as makeshift tourniquets to help better expose veins for injection
  • Cotton balls, sometimes used as filters to screen out the chunks or impurities in liquid heroin
  • Spoons, sometimes with bent handles or burn marks
  • Lighters, candles and burnt matches used to heat drugs to prepare for injection
  • Black smudges on clothing, carpet, door knobs, light switches, and furniture
  • Small orange caps used to cover a needle tip on syringes
  • Bloody tissues used to clean injection sites

If user smokes heroin, he or she will often have aluminum foil, lighters, candles, and other objects, such as straws or pipes through which they can inhale the smoke.

There may also be small pieces of balled up tinfoil or gum wrappers that have traces of white or brown powder and burn marks. They are used for heating the heroin prior to inhalation. Individuals who snort heroin may have limited drug paraphernalia, such as straws, rolled up dollar bills or paper, a hollowed out ink pen, or other hollow tubes.

Most heroin users will own a container or “tool kit,” in which they keep drug-related paraphernalia. Users have been known to be very creative in hiding their drugs and equipment and may use everyday household items such as cereal boxes or stuffed animals for optimal concealment.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction tends to be a chronic, devastating, and potentially life-threatening disease. Fortunately, it is very treatable, and if you or someone you love is abusing heroin, professional help is always available.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is a highly-specialized treatment center that offers evidence-based services and support in partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. All programs include behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, medication-assisted treatment, aftercare planning, and much more.

Addiction does not have to be a life sentence. We are dedicating to help people break free from this vicious cycle by providing them with the resources, tools, and support they need to empower themselves and experience a long-lasting, complete recovery.

Contact us today to find out how we help people suffering from addictions to drug or alcohol achieve abstinence and foster healthier, more fulfilling lives for themselves!

Heroin Side Effects and Signs of Use

Heroin Side Effects and Signs of Use | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Heroin (diamorphine) is an opioid drug synthesized from the opium poppy, a flower native to Asia and South America. As a Schedule I narcotic in the U.S., heroin has no approved medical purpose but remains a popular recreational drug due to the euphoric effects it induces.

Relatively pure heroin comes in the form of a fine white powder, although it is also frequently found as a dark brown powder or a black sticky substance (black tar heroin).

How Heroin Works

Heroin and other opioids are effective painkillers and central nervous system (CNS) depressants. When an injury occurs, nerve cells around the site of the injury send a warning signal to the brain. In response, the brain enters survival mode and begins to regulate concentrations of painkilling hormones (beta-endorphins) at opioid receptors throughout the body.

Heroin and other opioids/opiates also activate beta-endorphins as a means to relieve pain. Subsequently, heroin dramatically increases dopamine concentrations in the CNS and promotes feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

The region of the brain with the most dopamine activity is referred to as ‘the reward center.’ These neural circuits are the catalysts for the pleasure people experience during rewarding activities, such as eating, sex, business or social successes, or nearly anything that furthers our biological survival.

Short-Term Heroin Side Effects

The feeling of euphoria caused by a heroin injection is incredibly intense and overpowering. Some heroin users report experiencing a deep sense of calm and warmth that eliminates stress and negative thoughts and feelings.

A powerful high that can last up to five hours will follow the initial rush. In many cases, a user will be considered to be “on the nod” as if fluctuating between a warm, drowsy but relatively alert state and sleeping.

In addition to the rush of euphoria, there are several short-term heroin side effects, including the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Heaviness in extremities
  • Clouded thinking and impaired judgment

Heroin Addiction

Unlike the constant, balanced ebb and flow of reward chemicals that motivate behavior during daily life, the brain’s reaction to heroin exposure is profound. Heroin produces a surge of dopamine that is excessive relative to the user’s circumstances. Indeed, some studies have suggested that heroin use can increase neuronal dopamine concentrations as much as tenfold.

This oversaturation interrupts and alters otherwise healthy patterns of chemical neurotransmission, and prolonged use adversely reconfigures the entire brain. In addition to this drug-induced physiological change comes a corresponding disruption in behavior.

Heroin use causes sensations of false reward so intense that the mind becomes destructively one-tracked and hell-bent on sustaining the high. The self-sabotaging nature of this obsession with the drug is what makes heroin so addictive and so remarkably tragic.

A heroin addict may often contemplate and rationalize reasons why they need to quit as a matter of moral responsibility to themselves and others. And yet, the physical experience of heroin cravings is much more real and urgent and is thus prioritized accordingly.

Heroin Side Effects and Signs of Use | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Long-Term Heroin Side Effects

Heroin use has profound long-term effects that compromise the brain’s ability to carry out essential bodily functions, including the following:

  • Respiration
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rhythm
  • Consciousness

Other long-term physical effects may include the following:

  • Pneumonia
  • Collapsed veins
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Track marks from injecting and infected abscesses
  • Infection of the heart valves and lining
  • Severe constipation

What’s more, because heroin is frequently adulterated with other substances, there is a myriad of potentially serious complications that can arise. For example, heroin abuse has been associated with a degeneration of white matter in the brain, which is partly responsible for decision-making abilities, behavioral control, and stress management.

Intravenous heroin use comes with an increased risk of contracting diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, and sharing unsterile needles increases this risk significantly. If left unaddressed, hepatitis B and C can impair liver function or result in liver failure, and HIV can progress to AIDS.

Heroin Overdose

As a CNS depressant, heroin impacts the brain’s ability to regulate breathing. Due to this fact, oxygen deprivation in the brain (hypoxia) can occur and lead to irreversible brain damage or coma.

Signs of a heroin overdose typically include the following:

  • Slow, labored, or shallow breathing
  • Unresponsiveness and unconsciousness
  • Bluing of the lips, fingers, or other extremities (cyanosis)
  • Gurgling sounds (death rattle)

If you suspect someone you know has been using heroin and displays any of these signs, seek emergency medical immediately. Medical personnel can administer Narcan (naloxone) to reverse the effects of opioids at the opioid receptors, which could save a life.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction treatment usually begins with a clinically-supervised detox in which the patient is monitored and may be administered medication to relieve withdrawal symptoms. After detox, patients are urged to enter an intensive substance abuse treatment program.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers an integrated, research-based and customized approach to addiction treatment that includes psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, peer group support, and aftercare planning services.

Recovery is a lifelong effort, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can provide you with the tools and support you need to reclaim your life!

What Are the Risks and Effects of Smoking Heroin?

Smoking Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Smoking heroin is extremely hazardous, and the notion that it is safer than other methods of consumption is a dangerous myth. Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from the opium alkaloid morphine, a narcotic that is commonly used to treat pain. Heroin is usually found in powder form in colors ranging from white to brown and also as a dark tacky substance, aptly referred to as black tar heroin.

Heroin is abused for the “rush” that occurs soon after use. This intense feeling of pleasure tends to lead to additional use, as the person attempts to replicate the initial experience. After heroin reaches the brain, it is converted back into morphine and thus produces a comparable effect.

Heroin can be administered in a variety of ways, the most common methods being smoking, snorting, and through intravenous injection. To smoke heroin, users burn it then inhale the smoke into the lungs, usually through a makeshift tube or straw.

Some people erroneously believe that smoking or snorting heroin is not as dangerous or addictive as injecting it. Unfortunately, heroin is very addictive no matter the method of administration, and it can have severe effects on the body, in both the short- and the long-term.

Effects of Smoking Heroin on the Body

The initial rush is what usually drives most people to continue using heroin. This surge of euphoric feeling is often accompanied by a sensation of warmth and a heavy feeling in the limbs. Heroin tends to make users feel as if things around them have slowed down, and they often feel sleepy as a result.

These short-term effects are often experienced about 10-15 minutes after smoking heroin. Following the initial euphoric rush, effects typically last a few hours, a period often referred to as being “on the nod,” a back-and-forth state of being conscious and semiconscious.

Not all of the short-term effects of heroin are pleasant. Mental functioning becomes impaired, and breathing can be reduced to a dangerous level. There have been many cases of respiratory failure following the use of heroin, highlighting the danger of this particular substance.

According to research published in 2015, the ingesting of heroin via smoking specifically has been linked to emphysema.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is extremely addictive and widely available, which makes it a significant problem drug in the U.S. Heroin users can develop a chemical dependence on heroin, and withdrawal symptoms are often experienced in a relatively short period. While many people may initiate heroin use by smoking or snorting, they usually begin to inject the drug later since it provides the most direct method of administration and the most intense high.

In a recent alarming trend, prescription opioids have become a sort of gateway to heroin abuse. Becoming dependent on medications such as OxyContin that have similar effects to heroin could compel people to try heroin. Almost 80% of heroin users in the U.S. report abusing some type of prescription opioid before their initial use of heroin.

Heroin Withdrawal

Smoking Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Heroin withdrawal can be a profoundly difficult process for a user, regardless of how the drug has been most recently administered. Physiological dependence will only grow with continued use as the user needs to smoke an increasing amount of the drug as time wears on.

Withdrawal symptoms usually become the most intense between 24-48 hours following the last use and can last up to a week.

Common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Cold flashes/chills
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting

During professional addiction treatment, opioid replacement medications are often used to lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms and support long-term recovery.

Can You Overdose from Smoking Heroin?

Although injection is the most dangerous form of administration regarding the potential for overdose, it is a myth that a person cannot overdose by snorting or smoking heroin. A user can most definitely overdose by snorting or smoking heroin, though probably not as quickly as by injecting it.

The following symptoms are characteristic of a heroin overdose:

  • Shallow, labored, or lack of breathing
  • Bluish tint to nails and lips (cyanosis)
  • Weak pulse
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Disorientation
  • Delirium
  • Unconsciousness

In the event of a heroin overdose, emergency medical help must be contacted as soon as possible, as an overdose can lead to death and other serious medical issues. First responders should be carrying Narcan (naloxone) an opioid antagonist that effectively reduces the effects of an opioid overdose in progress.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Treatment for heroin addiction usually begins with a clinical detox, a process in which the patient is monitored for several days while the body eliminates heroin and other toxic substances. During this time, medications such as suboxone can be administrated to minimize cravings and the symptoms of withdrawal.

After detox, patients should immediately transition to an addiction treatment program at Midwood Addiction Treatment. We offer partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, each of which includes individual and group therapy, family and individual counseling, group support, and holistic activities such as yoga, art, and music therapy.

You can reclaim your life and experience the happiness and wellness that you deserve! Contact us today to find out how we can help you overcome addiction indefinitely!

Heroin Detox and Withdrawal Timeline

Heroin Detox | Midwood Addiction Treatment

A medically-assisted heroin detox is a process that chronic heroin users undergo in a clinical setting under 24/7 medical supervision. During this process, patients are monitored and medication is administered to prevent complications and mitigate the adverse effects of cessation, also known as withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms occur because heroin has a high potential for dependency. Dependency occurs because of the brain’s propensity to adapt to the presence of additive substances like heroin and gradually become unable to function normally without it.

Heroin causes dependency because of its addictive properties. Moreover, when the user’s brain is exposed to heroin, it is influenced by the overproduction of neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of intense pleasure.

Under normal circumstances, these chemicals, such as dopamine, are released as the brain’s response to everyday rewards needed for survival, such as eating and sex. But when a psychoactive substance such as heroin activates neurotransmitters in the brain’s reward system, over time the user can become chemically-addicted.

Once dependency develops as a product of this addiction, withdrawal symptoms and cravings occur and often compel the person to continue using despite the negative consequences they experience as a result of their addiction.

Symptoms of a Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin Detox | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can differ depending on the person experiencing them, but there are certain core symptoms experienced by almost everyone, as well as some that are overwhelmingly common. The severity of heroin withdrawal symptoms is determined by how long an addiction has been occurring, how frequently the substances was abused, and how large a dose was consumed each time.

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

For those trying to quit heroin, the physical withdrawal symptoms may be challenging to endure but fortunately, are very limited in duration. Such symptoms will peak then begin to subside throughout the detox process, dissipating altogether by the time the addiction treatment program is completed. Some physical withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Severe cramping
  • Joint pain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches and spasms
  • Uncontrollable tremors
  • Labored breathing
  • Hypertension

These side effects, while thoroughly undesirable, indicate that the body is detoxing—ridding itself of the substance and readjusting. Such symptoms likewise signal that recovery is underway. Moreover, these physical symptoms are often quite formidable at the outset but become increasingly more manageable as time goes on.

Typically, the most intense interval for withdrawal symptoms is between the second and fifth day after the last dose has worn off. A medically-assisted detox, which replaces heroin with an opioid such as Suboxone, may help to minimize withdrawal symptoms by blunting the otherwise sharp and intense adjustment in brain chemistry.

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Compared to physical symptoms, the psychological symptoms induced by a heroin withdrawal may be more difficult to cope with as they are a long-term undertaking. In contrast to the physical withdrawals from heroin, which will subside in the short-term, some psychological symptoms may be endured for years. In addition, a recovering heroin user may suffer psychological withdrawals at random long after the detox process is completed.

Some psychological side effects associated with heroin withdrawal include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of focus
  • Strained concentration
  • Extreme heroin cravings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Complete incapacity to experience pleasure

Heroin’s psychological side effects customarily last much longer than their physical counterparts. This is because heroin abuse itself often precipitates psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, which are then exacerbated by the bodily transformation that occurs after a user gets clean again.

Intense, persistent cravings are only natural while in the process of detox. However, many recovering addicts experience random heroin cravings on occasion long after they become clean. Unfortunately, these unwelcome cravings are normal and should be expected.

Some psychological ailments, like anxiety and depression, are often side effects of the heroin addiction itself. Because of this, many recovering addicts dedicate years to battle and ultimately overcome psychological problems, and random, invasive cravings threaten to sabotage all of it.

Thus, it is crucial for people pursuing sobriety to learn strategies that help conquer these temptations and prevent relapse. These techniques can be learned through comprehensive, evidence-based approaches that include behavioral therapy and can be bolstered through other aspects of long-term intensive treatment, such as counseling and group support.

How Long Is a Heroin Detox?

The time it takes for a medically-assisted heroin detox to complete is dependent on a variety of factors, including the addict’s age, overall health, and the average amount/frequency/duration of heroin use. The entire process can last several days but typically not more than one week.

The First 24-48 Hours

During the first days, possibly as early as just 6-12 hours, the user will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and moodiness. Soon, nausea, diarrhea, and other flu-like symptoms will follow. During these first two days, medication in the form of opioid replacement therapy and anti-diarrheal remedies can be administered during a medical detox to improve the patient’s comfort and well-being significantly.

Day 3-5

After 72 hours or so, the severity of physical symptoms will peak and then begin to decrease in intensity. Cravings, anxiety, and sleeping difficulties may persist, but many of the worst effects will have abated by the fourth or fifth day. Medication is still very beneficial at this time.

Day 6-7

By the end of a week or so, physical symptoms will probably have passed completely, but anxiety may linger, and the user might also begin to feel depressed. It is at this time that patients should be transferred to a residential program where medication can be managed while the patient engages in customized, comprehensive treatment for the next few weeks.

Medication for Heroin Detox and Withdrawals

Heroin Detox | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Our center makes use of opioid replacement therapy in the form of Suboxone, which contains buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist. When combined, these drugs make the detox process easier by lessening withdrawal symptoms and cravings during a time in which patients are especially vulnerable to relapse.

Of note, drugs for opioid replacement therapy that aid in detox should only be used under the supervision of medical personnel on a tapering schedule. This is to ensure that the patient is using the drugs properly as a bridge to total sobriety, and not for purposes that could lead to further abuse.

Next Steps After Detox

Detox is just the first step in the recovery process. After detox, patients are strongly encouraged to participate in a 30-day residential rehab program in which they are supervised around-the-clock while they engage in therapeutic activities such as behavior therapy, counseling, and group support meetings.

After rehab, many patients opt for intensive outpatient therapy, which includes many of the same services as residential rehab, but allows patients to live off-site of the center while they continue their recovery and transition back to society. Outpatients can choose to live at a private residence or in approved local sober living housing.

Our center also provides patients with aftercare planning services. Our coordinators ensure that patients can connect with other local resources outside the center for long-term medical and mental support, such as psychiatrists and counselors. We also host alumni activities for former patients that foster an ongoing team atmosphere and peer support system.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Snorting Heroin

Snorting Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Heroin, or diamorphine hydrochloride, is an illicit drug derived from morphine. The primary methods of heroin use include injecting, smoking, and snorting.

Snorting heroin typically involves inhaling the drug’s powdered form into the nasal cavity, usually with a straw or rolled up paper. Heroin then enters the bloodstream through the nose before it makes its way into the brain.

People who snort heroin face a unique set of risks in addition to the usual set of side effects and complications. These include:

  • Asthma attacks
  • Nosebleeds
  • Breathing issues
  • Viral and bacterial infections in the nasal passage
  • Damage to the sinuses, septum, and surrounding nasal tissu[/su_box]

Snorting Vs. Injection

Snorting heroin is unlikely to result in the intensity of injection – at least at first. When injecting, the user can experience a high within seconds – when snorted, however, it may take up to 15 minutes for the user to feel the initial effects.

After the first rush is over, however, the effects of both delivery methods can be quite similar.

People may choose to snort heroin over injection for a few different reasons. For one, some people don’t like needles and/or are trying to avoid the tell-tale signs of drug use, such as track marks and sores. Two, intravenous drug use faces a greater social stigma than snorting. Three, users may falsely believe that snorting is less addictive or dangerous than injecting.

Snorting Vs. Smoking

Smoking heroin, also known as “chasing the dragon.” To smoke heroin, users burn the drug and inhale the smoke into their lungs. Users who smoke heroin for extended periods face the increased risk of bronchitis, pneumonia, and other infections.

Effects of Snorting Heroin

The intensity and duration of effects associated with snorting heroin will vary depending on individual factors such as tolerance, as well as the purity/potency of the drug, frequency/amount used, and method of administration.

Side effects may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Itchiness
  • Alternating wakefulness and sleepiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in libido (sex drive)
  • Malnutrition, dehydration, and weight loss

Heroin Addiction

Delirium Tremens | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Users who snort heroin face the same risk of addiction as those who smoke or inject it. Addiction is essentially made up of two conditions – tolerance and dependency. Tolerance occurs as the body becomes desensitized to heroin use and more and more of the drug is needed to achieve the desired high.

When dependency occurs, the body has become used to the drug’s presence and can no longer function normally. Dependency also results in withdrawal symptoms when the user tries to quit or cut back.

Snorting Heroin – Withdrawal Symptoms

While rarely fatal, complications from heroin withdrawal (also known as “dope sick” are one of the main factors behind relapse. Highly unpleasant symptoms can start as soon as six hours after the last use, and peak 1-3 days. It can take close to a week for the acute effects of withdrawal to abate.

Typical withdrawal symptoms include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Dysphoria (unpleasant mood)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating and chills
  • Goosebumps
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Increased eye-watering, runny nose
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Increased sensitivity to pain

Snorting Heroin and Overdose

Snorting heroin, just like any other method of delivery can result in an overdose. The number of heroin overdoses has consistently climbed in the United States in the last few years, largely due to the presence of fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar in effect to heroin, but up to 50 times more potent. Because it is easier and less expensive to manufacture than its opiate counterpart, dealers often cut fentanyl into heroin to increase the effects and maximize profits.

Both heroin and fentanyl are powerful central nervous system (CNS) depressants and use frequently results in life-threatening complications.

Symptoms of a heroin/fentanyl overdose include:
  • Shallow breathing
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Weak pulse
  • Small pupils
  • Discolored tongue and dry mouth
  • Bluish lips and nails
  • Stomach or intestine spasms
  • Delirium, disorientation, and confusion.
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Respiratory suppression
  • Unresponsiveness/unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Respiratory arrest (stopped breathing)
  • Death

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is a very dangerous condition that can result in sudden death due to respiratory arrest. Heroin addiction is not curable, but it is treatable using long-term therapeutic approaches to drug dependency.

Treatment begins with a medical detox and continues with an inpatient or intensive outpatient program. Inpatients stay around-the-clock at our treatment center for a recommended minimum of 30 days. Outpatients visit the center a few times per week but reside at a private residence outside of our facility.

Both programs include modern, evidence-based approaches to addiction, such as psychotherapy, individual and group therapy, family counseling, group support, aftercare support, and alternative practices such as meditation and yoga.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

What Is Heroin?

What Is Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

What Is Heroin? – Heroin is an illegal semi-synthetic opiate derived from morphine that acts as both a powerful pain reliever and central nervous system (CNS) depressant. People use heroin primarily as a recreational drug for its desired effects, which include intense euphoria and relaxation.

Heroin, however, has a high potential for addiction and overdose and is responsible for thousands of deaths each year in the United States alone.

Is Heroin a Narcotic?

A narcotic is a substance that affects the mood or behavior of the person who consumes it and is bought/sold/obtained illicitly, often for nonmedical purposes.

Currently, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies heroin as a Schedule I substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and is not considered to have any legitimate medical use.

How Heroin Impacts the Brain and Body

How Heroin Impacts the Brain and BodyHeroin acts on multiple neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for feelings of reward, well-being, and pain relief, and include chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. As a CNS depressant, heroin reduces activity in the central nervous system (CNS) and can result in heavy sedation and profound CNS suppression, characterized in part by potentially life-threatening respiratory distress.

Forms of Heroin and Methods of Delivery

Heroin is usually found in a whitish to brown powder and can be administered intranasally, intravenously (injection), or by inhalation (freebase.) Black tar heroin is a dark, sticky form of heroin that is made using crude processing methods that do not remove impurities.

Heroin is also frequently combined with other illicit drugs, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine.

Side Effects of Heroin

In addition to the extreme high caused by heroin use, individuals can experience a myriad of adverse side effects.

These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Brain fog
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed heart rate

Side effects can vary in duration and intensity based on individual factors such as weight, overall physical health, and tolerance, as well as the amount used and potency of the drug.

Also, using heroin in combination with other drugs or alcohol can enhance or conflict with the effects of all substances involved, and lead to unpredictable complications.

Heroin Overdose

A heroin overdose is a life-threatening medical emergency that can leave the user in an unresponsive, vegetative state. During this state, many problems can occur that could result in death, including suffocation and respiratory arrest.

In the event of an overdose, emergency medical services are needed immediately to perform lifesaving procedures, including the administration of naloxone (Narcan), a drug that reverses the depressant effects of heroin that can lead to respiratory arrest and death.

Heroin Tolerance and Dependence

Heroin tolerance occurs when increasing amounts of the drug are necessary to achieve the user’s desired results. While most psychoactive substances have a potential for tolerance, the use of heroin and other opioids especially can result in rapid tolerance to analgesic (painkilling) effects.

Heroin dependence when the user’s body is no longer able to function normally without the drug’s presence in their system. If a user tries to quit or cut back, highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms occur as the body attempts to regain normality upon the drug’s absence.

Heroin Withdrawal Effects

Withdrawal effects of heroin may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sweating
  • Shaking and nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Muscle spasms
  • Intense drug cravings

Detox and Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Detox and Treatment for Heroin AddictionHeroin withdrawal syndrome is rarely life-threatening. Symptoms can be intense, uncomfortable, and painful, however, and are among the primary causes of relapse. Occasionally, symptoms such as severe depression or anxiety can lead to suicidal thoughts which pose yet another health risk.

Detox can occur in a hospital or addiction treatment facility. Effects of heroin withdrawal can begin within a few hours of the last dose and tend to peak around 2-3 days after use. Acute withdrawal effects usually subside with a week.

Treatment for heroin addiction after detox is highly encouraged. Individuals usually have the choice of either inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment.

Both program structures should offer evidence-based practices such as behavioral therapy, individual and group therapies, holistic practices, counseling, and aftercare options.

Inpatient programs participants reside at a specialized facility 24 hours a day for an extended period, often 30 days or longer. Outpatients attend sessions a few times per week but live at an independent residence and attend to personal responsibilities such as work and family.

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.


Related: Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that affects the human body much like heroin. It is up to 50 times more potent, however, and is frequently found laced into heroin or substituted outright for it in the form of counterfeit pills such as Xanax or Vicodin.

Fentanyl is easy and inexpensive to make and is popular with dealers seeking to maximize profits. While some drug users seek out fentanyl specifically, many are the victim of unintentional overdoses due to fentanyl’s unknown presence in the drug(s) they consumed, often believed to be heroin.