Also referred to as big H, horse, hell dust, and smack, heroin is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the nation. As a result of the opioid epidemic, many opioid users have turned to heroin as a cheap alternative to other prescription drugs that are more difficult to obtain. Heroin is taken from the seed pods of opioid poppy plants that are native to Southeast and Southwest Asia, Colombia, and Mexico.1 It can come in the form of a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Not only can it be injected, snorted, or smoked, but users also experiment with dangerous drug interactions like mixing heroin with cocaine, a habit known as speedballing. Because it’s such a commonly abused drug, our drug rehab facility in Delaware is breaking down the myths and truths about heroin.
The truth about heroin addiction is often obscured by Hollywood’s portrayal of this drug and by the general lack of society’s understanding regarding addiction. At Banyan Delaware, we have firsthand experience with treating heroin addiction and we’re aware of the many myths and important facts about heroin.
Myth #1: Smoking or snorting heroin is safer than injecting it
This is a common misconception. Many believe that smoking or snorting heroin isn’t as dangerous or harmful as injecting it. This myth probably stemmed from the fact that injecting heroin is the most cost-efficient way to use it. Other forms of heroin are usually more expensive to obtain because the side effects of snorting it or smoking it tend to be more severe and long-lasting than injecting it.
However, the fact here is that regardless of how you use heroin, it’s dangerous. Whether it’s smoked, snorted, or injected, heroin can still cause side effects like clouded mental function, insomnia, heart disease, abscesses, and mental illness. Heroin can also change the chemical structure of a person’s brain, causing severe psychological dependence. Without a heroin detox, heroin users, regardless of how they used it, struggle to get sober on their own.
Myth #2: Heroin users instantly become addicted
While it’s considered one of the most addictive street drugs on the market, if not the most addictive, users do not usually become dependent on it after one use. For most heroin users, their addiction began with opioid abuse. Eventually, obtaining heroin may have become easier and cheaper than obtaining prescription drugs. As another opioid, heroin also mimics the effects that prescription opioids produce, such as pain relief and euphoria. After long-term use of opioid pills, the individual may turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative. As with most other drugs, users become more tolerant of the effects of heroin as they continue using it. This leads to more frequent use, which then leads to addiction.
Myth #3: No one uses heroin anymore
Another common myth about heroin is that it’s never used nowadays. Heroin was very popular in the 1970s and 1990s, often glorified and exposed through artists’ songs. However, that’s no longer the case. As a result of the opioid epidemic that began in the late 1990s following a surge in prescriptions, more people have begun using heroin as a replacement for their prescription drugs. Despite any regulations that have been made to prescription opioids, heroin has now taken its place for many people.
At Banyan Treatment Centers Delaware, not only do we offer detox for heroin, but we also offer heroin addiction treatment that’s specifically designed for individuals who have become physically and psychologically dependent on this dangerous opioid.
Myth #4: It’s impossible to quit using heroin
Because it’s so addictive, many people believe it’s impossible to stop using heroin. Many movies and tv shows have depicted heroin addiction as an everlasting problem that can never go away or be treated. But once again, that isn’t the case. The truth about heroin is that it’s possible to quit using it and stay clean. As a residential treatment facility in Delaware, we can firmly attest to the fact that people who are dependent on heroin can change their lives with the right help.