About Heroin

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Sobriety.ca Foundation is a riverside addiction treatment facility found in beautiful rural Canada. Here, individuals struggling with heroin addiction have access to multiple evidence-based treatment options. Our facility provides a comprehensive rehabilitation treatment plan catered towards everyone’s needs and desires. We offer the following treatment services:

  • Detoxification from heroin
  • Treatment for heroin in residential settings
  • Interventions for heroin use
  • Rehabilitation from heroin
  • SMART Recovery

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is, by far, one of the most addictive substances on the planet. This also makes it one of the hardest addictions to quit. Recovery can be a long, hard road to travel, but, with Sobriety Home at your side, you don’t have to do it alone.

With our years of experience and unique approach to drug addiction treatment, Sobriety Home is the perfect partner.

If you’re ready to take the first step down the road to recovery, call us.

The Cycle of Heroin Addiction

Addiction is a cycle of anxiety, stress, anger, depression, guilt, and substance abuse. One seems to always lead to the next, until you are so entangled, it’s hard to see where one begins and the other ends.

Do you use because of your feelings? Or are your feelings because you use?

Break the cycle once and for all. Set yourself free and discover life without your heroin addiction.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Program: Detox & More

We believe in a holistic approach to addiction treatment—treating the whole of you. As part of this, we believe that the most successful treatment program is a program that is designed for you specifically, to meet all of your needs.

At the same time, our Heroin Addiction Treatment Program is specifically designed for this particular drug addition.

The first step of our Heroin Addiction Treatment Program is detoxification. With heroin, this first stage of your treatment can be particularly long, painful, and difficult. However, our detoxification center staff helps you through the physical withdrawal, relieving symptoms in a safe environment.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Program: Traditional and Non-Traditional Approaches

The drug addiction treatment that follows detox will vary from individual to individual, according to your needs. Sobriety Home’s staff of therapists will work with you to design the best program for you, suiting your needs and addressing your problems.

Cognitive therapy, though, sits at the very center of our Heroin Addiction Treatment Program, proving very successful. Individual therapy, with group therapy sessions, is the tenet of all our Addiction Treatment Programs. With cognitive therapy, we work to modify thinking, expectancies, negative perceptions, disserving behaviours, and poor coping mechanisms. Other psychotherapeutic approaches are available and may be recommended to you.

As a holistic residential alcohol and drug rehab center, we also believe in the value of a varied addiction treatment program that includes therapies from non-traditional approaches. At Sobriety Home, you can take advantage of yoga sessions, creative arts therapy, recreational activities, and more in order to learn about yourself from a different perspective, deepening your commitment to sobriety.

What is Heroin?

In the late 19th century, heroin was thought to be a viable substitute of morphine for treating pain in patients. However, it wasn’t long until reports of tolerance and addiction began to surface. Despite that, the American Medical Association approved it for medical use and this coincided with increases in recreational heroin-use and -related morbidities. Thus, leading to its eventual recall from the healthcare setting.

Indeed, this drug is part of the opioid family. Typically, it can be identified as a white, odorless powder when in its pure form. However, like other drugs, it is oftentimes cut with other substances and can be pink, beige or brown. In fact, in North American, most heroin is only 50% pure- other constituents usually include sugar, starch, or poison (e.g., strychnine).

Heroin can be snorted, smoked, or injected. Although, injection is the most common route of administration. This is done by dissolving the drug in water and injecting it intravenously. As it happens, recent reports indicate that roughly 75 000 – 125 000 people inject drugs in Canada (Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse, 2018). In Montréal, between 5000 and 15 000 of these incidences contained heroin (Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse, 2018).

What is Heroin Addiction?

Like other opioids, addiction to this drug is largely contingent on symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance. Individuals who use heroin are often avoiding the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal associated with the drug (e.g., nausea, depression, shaking, etc.). Generally, the higher the dosage- the worse the symptoms of withdrawal. This is the conundrum of this drug. Individuals build tolerance to the drug with chronic use. Therefore, in the long-term, they require more of the drug to achieve the effects of the drug. In turn, this worsens their withdrawal symptoms.

In addition to physiological influences, contextual-cues play a role in heroin-use. Individuals who use the drug are heavily influenced by environmental or contextual stimuli associated with the drug (e.g., people, places, needles, etc.). The sight of associated stimuli can activate craving pathways within the brain and drive subsequent drug-seeking behavior. Indeed, these feelings of craving are quite powerful. Oftentimes, this may cause individuals who have abstained from usage to relapse.

Short-Term Effects and Risks

Individuals usually notice the effects of heroin within 7 to 8 seconds following injection and then symptoms can last four to five hours. Symptoms can include:

  • Euphoria
  • Feelings of warmth
  • Tranquility (aka: on the node)
  • Emotional self-containment
  • Need for socialization
  • Semi-consciousness (with high dosage)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe itch
  • Possible overdose

Long-Term Effects and Overdose

The long-term effects of this drug vary. Most often, individuals report tolerance to the drug which, like other opioids, drives their addiction. Additionally, individuals who chronically consume this drug are at risk for collapsed veins, infections related to needle injections (e.g., HIV/AIDS), liver disease, complications of the lungs, diarrhea, gooseflesh (i.e., pimply skin), and insomnia.

Symptoms of overdose include difficulty walking, talking, and staying awake. Some individuals’ lips may turn blue, accompanied by dizziness and confusion. Others may report cold, clammy skin and/or choking. Oftentimes, those who overdose are unable to be woken up despite being shaken or shouted at. In the event of an overdose, Naloxone can be administered to temporarily reverse the effects.

Pharmacology – How does it work?

Heroin is lipid soluble. This consequently allows it to pass the blood-brain barrier and act rapidly on its sites of action. In fact, it is faster acting than morphine. Although, once heroin passes the blood-brain barrier, it is hydrolyzed into 6-MAM and morphine. Therefore, most of the effects of the drug are caused by the previously mentioned metabolites rather than heroin itself.

6-MAM and morphine mimic the actions of endorphins at the brain’s mu-opioid-receptors. In turn, this provides relief from pain, and respiratory and cardiovascular depression. In addition, these metabolites interact with the brain’s limbic system- which contains a high density of opioid receptors as well. It is the activation of this region that is credited for feelings of euphoria, calmness, and fearlessness.