Is Casual Heroin Use Dangerous?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Is There Any Form of Heroin Use That’s Safe?

The use of heroin in the United States has risen since 2007 on the back of the prescription opioid crisis, especially as prescriptions become stricter. In 2016, the reported past-year heroin user base was 948,000 in America alone. Some people are switching from prescription opioids to heroin as their supply runs out while others are trying heroin for the first time. Those users who are new to heroin use may wonder if the casual use of heroin carries the same dangers as someone who has become dependent on it.

In this article, we will discuss casual heroin use, the dangers involved and some of the heroin addiction signs to be aware of.

Recreational Drug Use

While other drugs in the heroin family have been put to good medical use in the form of powerful pain killers, there is no level of recreational heroin use that is considered to be without risk. As is being seen in the current opioid crisis, even when used medically, opioids are highly addictive and it’s only a matter of time before dependence and all the problems associated with an addiction follow.

Those who have a family history of addiction, are in situations where drugs are accessible or have one of the other factors of addiction are at a higher risk of forming an addiction. While some people may not get addicted as quickly as another person would, that doesn’t make them immune to addiction either.

Another dangerous factor to take into account is the risk of overdose. Since there is no way to tell the strength of a particular batch of heroin, a casual user runs the risk of misjudging their dose and overdosing.

Tolerance Paving the Way to Addiction

Heroin use isn’t natural. Just one use of heroin can change a person’s brain chemistry, and some people have reported becoming addicted after just one hit. As one use becomes two, and two becomes three, a tolerance can quickly form. A tolerance is one of the heroin addiction signs as it indicates that the individual’s body has started to adjust to the presence of the drug. When this happens, a user can also expect to have withdrawal symptoms that are best described as the worst flu you’ve ever had.

Avoidance of these severe withdrawal symptoms is a major part of how many addictions start. Along with withdrawal symptoms, people start to experience a strong craving for the drug. The reason why the cravings are so intense is because the adjusted state of the brain is one where dopamine and serotonin levels are low or depleted. We need these chemicals to feel any sense of joy but the only way to solve the problem in the short term for an addict is to take more heroin.

Heroin Addiction Treatment

In order to effectively deal with the cycle of heroin abuse, rehab is the best option.

The purpose of heroin addiction treatment is to asses not just the substance abuse but also the state of the patient’s social, vocational, mental and physical health. Issues are dealt with through the help of a counselor or therapist and better coping skills are taught to help with future relapse prevention.

The severe withdrawal symptoms are overwhelming, but in rehab, a person can be given safe drugs that help to lower the intensity of the symptoms. Certain medications can carry over into long-term treatment as an effective way to prevent relapse by blocking the effects of opioids.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/heroin

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/scope-heroin-use-in-united-states