What Are Opiates/Heroin?
Opiates cover a huge variety of drugs, ranging from legal drugs such as Fentanyl, Codeine and Morphine to illegal drugs such as Heroin and Opium.
Examples of Opiates Include:
- Oxycodone (trade names include: OxyContin and Percocet)
- Hydrocodone (trade names include: Vicodin and Lortab)
You typically hear the term opioid in reference to prescription opiates. Technically, the concept of opiates encompasses drugs naturally derived from the active narcotic components of the opium poppy. The opioid label includes synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs that are modified versions of these opiate building blocks. However, the terms opiates and opioids are often used interchangeably. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that most prescription opioids are safe when prescribed by a doctor and used for a short period of time. The problem occurs when people begin to abuse prescription opioids or modify them.
Heroin is a highly addictive, illegal drug. It is used by millions of addicts around the world who are unable to overcome the urge to continue using the drug every day of their lives—knowing that if they stop, they will face the painful symptoms associated with withdrawal. Heroin, like opium and morphine, is made from the resin of poppy plants. Milky, sap-like opium is first removed from the pod of the poppy flower. This opium is refined to make morphine, then further refined into different forms of heroin. Most heroin is injected, creating additional risks for the user, who faces the danger of AIDS or other infectious diseases on top of the pain of addiction.
Quick Facts About Opiate Addiction
- There are many street names for opium and heroin, including, tar, hop, smack, big O, O.T. and midnight oil
- Three out of four people addicted to heroin begin by using prescription painkillers
- Every hour a baby is born addicted to opiates or suffering severe opium withdrawal symptoms
- Opiate addiction costs nearly $500 billion in the US alone
- Opiate use is correlated to nearly 50% of the crime in major US cities
- Death from opiate overdose often occurs due to cardiac arrest
Signs/Symptoms of Opiate Use
- Continued use despite knowing it is leading to or worsening a psychological problem
- Poor Judgment
- Inability to make decisions
- Inability to Plan
- Poor concentration or attention
- Memory problems
- Cravings for the drug
- Sleepiness or Sedation
- Numbness or inability to feel pain
- Depressed Respiration
- Small Pupils
- Nausea, Vomiting
- Rashes or flushed skin
- Slurred Speech
- The development of tolerance
Desert Mountain Health’s Opiate/Heroin Addiction Treatment
At Desert Mountain Health we understand the devastating impact Heroin and other opiates are causing in our society. The first step for any opiate addict is to safely detox them from the toxins. This can be a very unpleasant experience but is the first step to recovering. Once the client has completed a medical detox there are many therapeutic options for opiate users in treatment.