Diamorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid derived partially from morphine. In 1898, the Bayer pharmacuetical company marketed the drug as a non-addictive alternative to morphine. Used as a cough suppressant, the new drug named Heroin was sold for about twelve years until it was discovered that heroin is essentially a faster-acting form of morphine. Since then, heroin has become the most popular drug amongst opioid addicts.
Heroin Facts and Statistics
Heroin is one of the most addictive substances available, and it is estimated that about one out of every four people who try heroin become dependent. About one percent of high school students report using heroin in the twelve months prior to the survey, and twenty percent of high school seniors report heroin as being “fairly easy” to obtain. These heroin statistics were found by the Monitoring the Future survey, an annual survey published by the University of Michigan.
Heroin can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Intravenous injection is the fastest acting route of administration, and the most popular choice amongst chronic addicts. The facts about heroin addiction are frightening, although most addicts fail to see them. Intravenous administration may result in overdose, which could cause slow and shallow breathing, dry mouth, weak pulse, stomach and muscle spasms, and coma. Because of the illegal status of heroin, its contents are not regulated, and overdose may occur as the user cannot be sure how pure the heroin is. Another danger of intravenous heroin use is the spread of infection, most notably HIV.
Heroin Addiction is a rapidly developing, debilitating disease. In recent years, studies have shown that more people are snorting and smoking heroin rather than injecting it, with the idea that it is less dangerous and they will not develop a dependency. Heroin addiction statistics have shown that users who snort or smoke may still develop an addiction, and as the addiction grows, they usually turn to intravenous use. Intravenous use is the cheapest way to use heroin, and therefore the method of choice for those deep in their addiction. As tolerance builds, the user begins to require more and more heroin to achieve the same high, and a physical and psychological dependence develops.
Dependency upon a substance means that the user must ingest it in order to feel normal. When a person becomes dependent upon heroin, they may begin to notice some common symptoms such as loss of interest in normally exciting activities, illegal behavior, and preoccupation with getting high. When heroin addiction takes over the individual, acquisition of the drug and its high become the most important motivating factors in their life. Other principles that once seemed important may quickly lose their importance.
The first step of Heroin Treatment is often a heroin detox center. At heroin detox centers, the individual goes through the withdrawal process in a medically supervised environment. The common symptoms of nausea, irritability, and restlessness are subdued a bit, and medications may be prescribed in order to help this.
After detox, there are a plethora of treatment options, including residential treatment centers, outpatient clinics, twelve step support groups, and transitional living houses. As heroin is highly addictive, it requires continual care to treat. Detox alone will not keep an addict from using again.