Heroin Addiction

Heroin Addiction Treatment at The Source

The Source family of treatment centers is the top-rated heroin rehab center in Florida. We are a group of rehabilitation centers for addiction treatment that treat each patient as family, prioritizing client care over profits, and leaving no person behind. At The Source Addiction Treatment Center, we offer flexible Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) that can be extended as needed, so if you are suffering from post-acute withdrawal cravings and symptoms you will have the care and support you need, for as long as you need it.

Individualized Treatment for Heroin Addiction

We believe that any person who is dealing with an opioid addiction deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and if you contact our team, we will do all we can to help you, whether it be through our services or by referring you to a more appropriate local program.

At The Source addiction treatment center, we offer flexible Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) that can be extended as needed, so if you are suffering from post-acute withdrawal cravings and symptoms you will have the care and support you need, for as long as you need it.

Treatments and types of therapy offered at The Source may include:

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Group Therapy including trauma processing and shame resolution groups
  • Individual (one-on-one) Therapy
  • Brain Mapping
  • Biosound Healing
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA)
  • Relapse Prevention Counseling
  • Meditation
  • 12-Step Programs

Heroin Addiction Statistics

Heroin use and deaths due to heroin overdoses have increased dramatically over the past decade, mostly due to the prescription opioid crisis in the United States. People will be prescribed prescription painkillers that contain opioid drugs in them (like Vicodin or Oxycontin), become addicted either by abusing these medications or sometimes even when they use them as prescribed by their doctors, and then find that heroin produces similar effects, but is cheaper and easier to get and switch to illicit drug use.

  • Only about one-third of heroin users started out with heroin, with two-thirds starting by misusing prescription pills.
  • The number of heroin users in the United States has risen steadily since 2007, with the heroin death rate rising nearly 400% between 2010 and 2017. Many deaths are due to the rise in Fentanyl-laced heroin and other drugs in America.
  • In 2011, 4.2 million Americans (1.6% of the population) reported having used heroin at least once in their life, with approximately 23% of those people having become dependent on it.
  • In 2016, 626,000 Americans had a heroin use disorder, with 152,000 of those people between the ages of 18 to 25.
  • Nearly 75% of the people who start using heroin do so because of a co-occurring mental illness, or as a way to deal with PTSD, anxiety, and stress, suggesting that treating mental health issues is an important step in drug and alcohol rehabilitation and recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Program for Heroin Addiction at The Source

Our Partial Hospitalization Program is an intensive, full-time treatment program that lasts for one to three months. The PHP program at The Source provides the option of staying in our luxury, single-family residences during treatment. Treatment addresses the underlying trauma, pain, and strong emotions that come with addiction. Our PHP program includes:

  • A minimum of 25 hours of therapy 
  • Other activities including going to the gym, massage therapy, AA meetings, and plenty of relaxation time
  • Weekend activities and special events
  • Provides close monitoring of your progress 7 days a week

Outpatient Programs for Heroin Addiction Treatment at The Source

Our Intensive Outpatient Program:

  • Allows you to return to your everyday life, living at home or in a halfway house, while still having nine hours per week of therapy and groups
  • Learn relapse prevention skills and tools to handle triggers and urges as they come up
  • Learn relaxation techniques and skills to handle stress
  • Have access to people and community programs to help you if times become difficult

Our Outpatient Program:

  • Lasts for several weeks to several months
  • Is best for those who no longer require intensive medical or psychiatric care
  • Is three hours per week of group therapy, with one hour per week minimum of one-on-one therapy
  • Includes substance abuse education, relapse prevention techniques, and life-skills programs
  • Facilitates your entry into 12-step programs and alumni groups

Once the OP is complete, there is an alumni program you can join if you wish, that will keep you connected to our welcoming, sober community for as long as you want. You may also be teamed up with a peer mentor, so you have somebody on your side who knows what you have been through in your drug use and addiction rehab. 

All the people on our team, from administrative staff to doctors and therapists are non-judgmental, caring, and welcoming people. We believe in compassion, unconditional love and support, and building and maintaining trust through trauma-informed practices. We are always here for you, no matter what you are going through. If you need help with a substance use disorder like heroin addiction, you can call us at any time, and we will help you get the treatment you need.

What Is Heroin and Why Is It So Addictive?

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug that is derived from the seed pod of the opium poppy, a flower that usually grows in Asia, Mexico, and South America. Heroin looks like a white or brown powder, or a sticky black, tarry-like substance that can be injected, snorted, and smoked.

It is an illicit (illegal) drug in the United States due to its addictiveness, and its dangerous effects, including overdose. Sometimes heroin is used with other drugs like alcohol or cocaine (speedball), making it especially dangerous, as it raises the risk of overdosing.

Heroin is a drug that, like other opioid drugs including morphine, codeine, hydrocodone or oxycodone, quickly binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and in the body, affecting the parts of the brain that control pain, pleasure, heart rate, breathing, and sleeping. It may induce vomiting and nausea, dry mouth, itching of the skin, and cloudy mental function, but the reason people use this drug is that it produces a pleasurable feeling of euphoria due to a flooding of dopamine in the brain. When heroin enters the brain, it may feel like you are in a dream, and you may have trouble stopping using heroin after only one or two uses.

Heroin paraphernalia may look like:

  • Small tubes or cut up straws
  • Needles
  • Small balloons
  • Small pieces of foil or spoons with burn marks on them
  • Lighters
  • Shoelaces or rubber bands
  • Small containers or portable lock boxes for storage

Heroin use is sometimes called “chasing the dragon”, “skin popping”, and “speed balling”. Some street names for heroin are:

  • H or Big H
  • Brown Sugar
  • Dope
  • Horse
  • Junk
  • China white
  • Black tar
  • White
  • Smack

Why is Heroin So Addictive?

Heroin feels good, like joy with an overall sense of well-being, and it blocks your body from getting pain messages. The drug also slows your heart rate and breathing down, creating a relaxing feeling in the body. If these processes slow down too much due to overdose you may go into a coma and die. Knowing this, many people still continue to use heroin, because they are addicted.

Heroin is an incredibly strong opioid drug that rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier, making changes to your brain’s reward system, which creates chemical changes that lead to tolerance, then physical dependency.
It does not matter how you use it (smoking, injecting, or snorting), because the chemical properties of heroin are such that they get into the brain quickly, making changes that can make it hard to stop using it again, even after just a couple uses. You will develop a tolerance to the drug, and the same small amount you started out using will not have the same effectiveness anymore, so you will use more to achieve the same high.

Once the changes in your brain happen, you will feel like you need the drug just to feel normal and to be able to get through a typical day without experiencing uncomfortable, painful, and distressing opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These feelings will make you change your behaviors over time, prioritizing finding and using heroin over anything else, while developing a psychological addiction, believing that you cannot function without heroin. You will begin to display uncontrollable drug-seeking behaviors that take over your daily life, even when there are negative consequences. This is opioid use disorder, also known as addiction.

Signs of Heroin Abuse

When a person becomes addicted to heroin, they will begin to display signs of drug use. Their life will begin to revolve around the drug, as they put work, school, friendships, family and relationships on the back burner. They may become more secretive and avoid family functions or meet-ups with friends in favor of drug use. Heroin users may also have a wide variety of physical health issues that can be very serious. Possession of burned spoons, needles, syringes, glass pipes, and missing shoelaces is also a clue that a person is using heroin.

An important issue to remember when you are dealing with somebody who you suspect is using heroin is to know what to look for when it comes to an overdose. Because heroin use includes the slowing down of breathing, it can become so slow and shallow that the person experiences hypoxia, with the body and the brain not receiving enough oxygen to survive.

Symptoms of a heroin or opiate overdose are:

  • Snoring
  • Weak pulse or slow pulse
  • Limp body
  • Pale or clammy face, and cold damp skin
  • Shaking
  • Blue or purple fingertips and lips in lighter-skinned people
  • Blue or purple inner lips in darker-skinned people
  • Blue or purple fingernails
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Slow or shallow breathing, or no breath at all

If you suspect a person is overdosing on heroin, always call an ambulance right away. Urgent medical treatment is extremely important. There is a drug called Naloxone that may help prevent death due to overdose if given in time. It comes as a nasal spray or an autoinjector and can reverse the effects of opioid drugs for a short period of time.

It is crucial that you call emergency help right away even if you provide Naloxone treatment on them and they regain consciousness, because the effects of heroin may last longer than the Naloxone does, resulting in the overdose reoccurring. Heroin overdose can lead to coma and death if it is not treated properly in a safe, professional, medical environment. The faster proper medical care is provided, the more likely they will be to avoid brain damage or death.

Physical Signs of Heroin Abuse

It may or may not be obvious if your loved one is using drugs. Some of the physical signs of heroin abuse that you may want to look for include:

  • Weight loss
  • Unkempt, dirty appearance
  • Increased sleeping
  • Decreased attention to personal hygiene
  • Slurred speech
  • Shortness of breath or shallow breathing
  • Tremors
  • Drowsiness for hours
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Dry mouth
  • Track marks on arms and legs
  • Extreme itching
  • Constricted pupils for four to five hours at a time
  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Slowed heart rate after an initial rush
  • Nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, or diarrhea
  • Clouded thinking and disorientation
  • Arms and legs feeling heavy
  • A temporary feeling of intense joy or pleasure
  • Being “on the nod” – alternating between being semi-conscious and conscious
  • Coma or a deep state of unconsciousness

Psychological Signs of Heroin Abuse

Heroin use can cause various psychological issues in people, and these may range from a high euphoria at the time of use to a deep depression when in withdrawal. This may make it difficult to tell whether a person is feeling the way they are due to drug use, but can be one of many signs.

Other psychological signs of heroin abuse are:

  • Agitation, irritability, and sudden mood swings seeming spaced-out one moment, then having angry outbursts the next
  • Delusions and paranoia, seeming fearful or anxious for no reason
  • Unexplained changes in personality, or attitude changes, including neglecting responsibilities and displaying a disregard for consequences to themselves or others when drugs are involved
  • A loss of control over their own actions, including drug abuse, struggling with limits, having trouble following even the rules they set out for themselves
  • Changes in sleep habits, as heroin alters the hormones that are responsible for tiredness and wakefulness, while also causing tiredness at unusual times.
  • Experiencing obsessive thoughts or displaying obsessive actions to do with heroin
  • Apathy and lack of motivation, losing interest in hobbies, or other interests they used to take pride in
  • Being in denial about addiction and preferring to blame their actions on anything but themselves
  • Becoming uncharacteristically secretive, hiding drug abuse, beginning to become involved in criminal activities, or exhausting financial resources

Social Signs of Heroin Abuse

Some of the ways heroin addiction affects a person socially include:

  • Secretive behavior like locking bedroom doors, having secret locked boxes or closets, and not sharing details about who they hang out with or where they are going
  • Avoiding loved ones, sending extended periods in their room or alone
  • Acting defensive and shutting down if the conversation turns to drug use, hostility
  • Lying about drug use, who they spend time with or what they have been doing
  • Displaying erratic behavior, including dangerous or reckless actions like driving while high, stealing, or sharing needles with others. Withdrawal from heroin may cause different types of erratic behavior including acting out in violence or experiencing emotional distress
  • Wearing long pants and shirts to hide track marks from friends and family
  • Getting into legal trouble, or having other serious issues like trouble at work or at home due to heroin use or issues involving heroin use
  • Forced, pressured speech, trying hard but failing to keep up with social interactions, even going “on the nod” or “nodding out” mid-conversation
  • Speaking in street slang, using street words that are related heroin when talking to friends
  • Missing valuables or money, turning to illegal activities like stealing, robbery, or drug dealing to pay for their habit
  • Amplified mental health disorders or other co-occurring conditions like depression or anxiety
  • Withdrawing from friends and social events, or having new friends who show physical signs of heroin use

When a person is addicted to heroin, their entire life will begin to revolve around the drug, creating real, observable changes in their lives, alerting concerned individuals that they may need professional help in a drug rehab facility.

The person’s daily activities and routines will become disrupted, and over time, they may feel like an unrecognizable person to loved ones. These types of issues in people who struggle with heroin use are difficult to spot unless you truly know the person using heroin, so it is usually the close friends, coworkers, and family who will notice something “off”, because they are most familiar with the addicted person’s habits, personality, and typical behavior.

Long Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

Along with addiction and overdose, heroin can cause other serious problems, with long-term health issues due to heroin use including:

  • Damaged nasal passages and nose tissue from snorting heroin
  • Abscesses, infections, and collapsed veins from injecting heroin
  • Lung problems like pneumonia from smoking heroin
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Heart issues, including infections in the heart valves and lining
  • Serious stomach issues and constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Increase in risk of communicable diseases like HIV or Hepatitis B and C
  • Worsening mental health issues
  • Blood clots that can lead to stroke, pulmonary embolism or heart attack
  • Clouded mental functioning
  • Seizures
  • Pregnancy complications, including giving birth to a baby addicted to heroin
  • Accidental overdose, leading to coma or death

Along with these long-term issues that may arise from using heroin, illicit drug use also puts people at risk of accidentally putting other drugs or chemicals into their system if the dealer puts additives in with the heroin to increase their own profits. Even seemingly innocuous substances like starch, powdered milk, or sugar can cause permanent internal damage to your blood vessels and organs if injected, smoked, or snorted.

Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

If a person is addicted to heroin, they may:

  • Experience strong cravings for heroin and feeling obsessed with getting and using heroin, resulting in compulsive drug seeking actions
  • Not be able to quit or even cut down on heroin use even when they really want to
  • Spend a great deal of time obtaining, planning for, using, and recovering from heroin
  • Have stashes of heroin and other opiate drugs or paraphernalia around
  • Need to use more heroin as time goes on because of an increased tolerance
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms if they do not use heroin or a closely related substance
  • Begin to fall behind in school, miss work, or other obligations due to drug use
  • Have social, financial, psychological, health, and family problems due to heroin use, but continue using it anyway
  • Begin to take risks and stop caring about consequences, including legal consequences or risks

Heroin Withdrawal Explained

When a person has a physical and psychological addiction to heroin, quitting can cause very uncomfortable and distressing withdrawal symptoms to occur, making it feel nearly impossible to quit. These symptoms can be so painful that people who want to quit will continue opioid drugs for years just to avoid having to go through the withdrawal process.

Symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Cramping in the limbs, and muscle aches and bone pains
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Anxiety, restlessness, and agitation
  • Depression or dysphoria
  • Nausea, stomach pain and vomiting
  • Hallucinations or paranoia
  • Chills or sweating with goosebumps, fever
  • Insomnia
  • Crying jags
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Intense cravings for heroin

Most people benefit greatly from a medically assisted detox, with an integrated system that combines medical care and medications with therapy and other treatments, ensuring their safety and comfort as they begin to work on the root of their addiction.

Most heroin withdrawal symptoms are short-term (called acute heroin withdrawal), lasting under two weeks, but some people experience recurring bouts of withdrawal symptoms (post-acute withdrawal), including cravings and flu-like symptoms months or even years after detoxing from heroin. For this reason, it is especially beneficial for people who are quitting heroin to enter a longer-term inpatient rehab, followed by outpatient treatments, getting to the underlying causes of substance abuse and addiction, and learning relapse-prevention techniques and coping skills so relapse does not occur.

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We truly believe that each client is an individual with unique life circumstances. We help the client recognize and correct the dysfunctional behavior patterns that have overtaken their existence and ultimately heal the pain of the past, so they can lead a healthy, addiction-free life.