Heroin is a powerful opioid that is also highly addictive. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that more than 4 million Americans have used heroin at least once. NIDA also estimates that one out of every four individuals who try heroin end up addicted to it. Breaking a heroin addiction can be a long process, sometimes lasting for years. During this process, an individual may relapse, return to heroin use, and then return to being drug-free. For some recovering heroin users, they may go through this cycle several times before finally breaking their heroin habit.
The Dangers of Heroin
The dangers of heroin addiction are many. Heroin use can cause health problems such as liver disease, pulmonary conditions like pneumonia, or infection of the heart’s lining. The risk of contracting diseases such as hepatitis C or HIV through needle sharing is another real danger. The most serious danger of heroin use is death by accidental overdose. Having a loved one who is caught up in heroin abuse is frightening, especially when one is aware of these dangers.
The Connection Between Drug Treatment and Abstinence
A strong correlation has been shown between drug treatment programs and a heroin user’s recovery. In an Australian study done on 507 regular heroin users, drug treatment was shown to be a major factor in an individual’s ability to remain free of heroin abuse. During the yearlong study, 14 percent of the participants were able to continually abstain from using heroin. The duration of treatment played a role as well; those spending more time in a treatment program had a stronger ability to stay away from heroin. Follow-up care after treatment was also cited as playing a large role in their abstinence.
Factors Influencing Recovery From Heroin Addiction
Research has shown that multiple factors influence a person’s decision to stop using heroin. In a study of 107 heroin users done at the University of Birmingham in England, participants were asked to list reasons why they were able to break their heroin habit. One of the top reasons listed was becoming weary of the lifestyle associated with heroin use.
The study also outlined several crucial components that aided the participants in their journey out of heroin addiction:
- Social factors: Refusing to continue associating with active drug users and seeking support from family and friends not involved in drug abuse
- Practical components: Provision of a sober living arrangement and helping the individual to become gainfully employed
- Religion and spirituality: Reliance on a higher power, a search for deeper meaning in life, and/or religious practices such as prayer and meditation
- Support groups: Peer groups such as 12-step programs or similar forms of group support
Freedom From Heroin
Curing someone from heroin addiction is not possible. The best you can do is introduce them to a life-altering treatment program. From there, it’s up to them.
Getting your loved one into a substance abuse program like the one here at Alta Mira is one of the first steps towards a new life without heroin. Our professional counselors and trained staff can give your family member the support and care they need to break the grip of heroin. Don’t wait to help them take this first, critical step. Call us at Alta Mira today.