Heroin Addiction and Treatment

Heroin Addiction treatments we provide in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba

What is heroin? Street names: junk, H, smack, horse, skag, dope

Heroin is a dangerous and illegal drug with a high addictive potential. It is also an effective painkiller. Heroin belongs to the opioid family of drugs. Also in the opioid family are the “opiates,” such as morphine and codeine, which are natural compounds found in the opium poppy; and “synthetic” opioids, such as Demerol (meperidine) and methadone, which are chemically manufactured. Heroin is a “semi-synthetic” opioid: it is made from morphine that has been chemically processed. It enters the brain quickly and produces a more immediate effect. Heroin is converted back into morphine in the brain.

Heroin produces a “chilled” effect that produces feelings of relaxation. This is characterized by a rush of euphoria for a couple of minutes, followed by hours of subsequent drowsiness. It slows respiration and can increase the risk of serious infectious diseases, especially when taken intravenously.

Millions of addicts worldwide continue to use this drug daily, and are unable to overcome the craving, as they are too horrified by the withdrawal. Heroin can be injected, inhaled (snorting), or smoked. The drug is delivered to the brain very quickly, which contributes to the addictive nature and danger of use. Heroin addiction is characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking to get a “fix”, no matter what the consequences are.

How Heroin affects the brain?

Heroin blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain. Regular heroin use changes the functioning of the brain, causing tolerance and dependence. Other opioid drugs include morphine, OxyContin®, Vicodin® and Percodan®, which have legitimate medical uses; however, using them in ways other than prescribed (or using them without a prescription) can result in the same harmful consequences as heroin use. Heroin addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, and the withdrawal can be extremely painful. Heroin will quickly destroy the user’s immune system. Heroin addiction can leave one constantly sick, scary thin and bony, and, ultimately, dead.



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