Heroin and other opiates are powerful pain-killing drugs derived from the opium poppy plant. Most, like Vicodin, OxyContin, and codeine, are manufactured as analgesic pharmaceuticals. Others, like heroin, are used primarily as illicit drugs. The biologically active components of opium are morphine, codeine and papaverine. Morphine is used to produce heroin and other drugs.

Heroin can be administered three ways: smoking, snorting, or shooting (injecting). Because it enters the brain quite quickly, heroin is very addictive. In fact, each time a user administers heroin, more is needed to get the same high. Heroin is one of the most destructive and physically addictive drugs. Similarly, all opiates are physically addictive drugs. Opiate abusers will develop a tolerance, or the need to use larger amounts to obtain the same effects. They become addicted to opiates when they require regular and increasing doses in order to function normally in daily life.

Warm, flushed skin, dry mouth and heavy limbs accompany heroin and opiate users’ initial experiences of euphoria. Next, users alternate between wakeful and drowsy states, at which point nausea and constipation may occur. Occasionally, when consumed in large doses, opiates can suppress breathing to the point of death. Heroin addiction can cause clouded mental functioning, vomiting, drowsiness, pain in the bones, hypothermia, diarrhea and restlessness.

Long-term effects of heroin and opiate use include collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulitis and liver disease. Pulmonary conditions, including various types of pneumonia, often arise due to users’ poor health and suppressed respiration. Other infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, may also result from taking heroin intravenously.

At New Beginnings Lake Charles our treatment program is highly sensitive to the addict’s individual withdrawal symptoms and potential for relapse. Recovery from heroin addiction is achievable with help! After a customized treatment plan has been established, the patient usually begins the medical detoxification process. The primary objective of heroin and opiate detoxification is to bring addicts to drug-free states while managing their withdrawal symptoms and other potential medical complications.

Because detoxing from opiates can be quite difficult and involve severe complications, medical monitoring is recommended. While detoxification alone doesn’t lead to recovery from addiction, it is an important first step in the process: Patients cannot overcome addiction until drugs are out of their systems. Our Professional Medical and Clinical Staff are trained to relieve withdrawal symptoms and to delve into the underlying psychological and physical issues that have initiated the problem.

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