In 2016, about 948,000 Americans reported using heroin within the past year.1 Not only is this drug one of the several opioids that have contributed to the epidemic wracking the nation, but it’s also one of the most abused drugs in Massachusetts. In 2018, there were 14,996 heroin-involved deaths in the United States, a rate of 4.7%. Despite the harm this drug causes, those hooked on it will continue to use it because of its addictive qualities. Continuous use of heroin can develop into dependence and addiction, making it nearly impossible to quit without help. Fortunately, Our rehab in Massachusetts offers heroin treatment for addiction designed to help people with this drug use disorder regain their health and sobriety.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid that can produce pleasurable side effects. This drug is a derivative of morphine, which is a naturally occurring opioid that’s extracted from different types of opium poppy plants. Morphine is usually used in medical settings for intense pain relief or to make people in hospice more comfortable.

How Heroin Works

What makes heroin so addictive is the way it affects the brain. When someone uses heroin, it attaches to opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) and brain, activating regions of the brain linked to dopamine.

Dopamine is a chemical used by nerve cells to relay messages to each other, particularly signals of pleasure and euphoria. When this happens, heroin users experience a euphoric high. After a while of use, heroin users begin mentally and physically associating pleasure with heroin, making it difficult to avoid using it.

Heroin Trafficking & Distribution in the U.S.

Although poppy plants are grown in Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, Columbia, and Mexico, drug trafficking distributes opioids to virtually every area in the United States. Specifically, in Massachusetts, international drug distribution is done by way of seaports in Boston. Drug trafficking operations in New York also contribute greatly to heroin abuse in Massachusetts.

Heroin has many street names, including H, horse, smack, and hell dust. It’s commonly manufactured and sold in either white or brown powders or as a black sticky substance called black tar heroin. It can be smoked, sniffed, snorted, or mixed with liquid solutions to be injected.

Drug dealers often “cut” or lace heroin with other substances ranging from baby powder and cornstarch to paint thinner or fentanyl to make it weightier and more addicting and to increase their profit by selling less of the actual drug. Fentanyl-laced heroin is especially common on the streets and comes with a high risk of overdose and death. It’s these additional substances that often contribute to overdose and many other heroin side effects.

Long-term abuse of heroin often leads to various physical problems and a severe drug use disorder that requires medical detox and treatment. In addition to medically assisted detox, our heroin rehab center in Massachusetts incorporates therapy and aftercare support to help clients with this disease physically and psychologically recover from the side effects of substance abuse.

How to Know if You Need Heroin Addiction Treatment

Various signs can indicate the need for a heroin rehab program. Some of these signs and symptoms are physical, while others are more emotional and behavioral. The most common signs of heroin use include:

  • Strong cravings for heroin
  • Inability to stop using heroin
  • Continuing to use heroin despite the repercussions
  • Experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when you reduce or stop heroin use
  • Stealing money to pay for heroin
  • Small “pinpoint” pupils
  • Constantly nodding off (in and out of sleep)
  • Track marks, scabs, or sores on the skin from injecting heroin intravenously
  • Frequent nosebleeds from snorting heroin
  • Constant coughing or respiratory problems from smoking heroin

Long-time heroin abusers may also experience unhealthy weight loss and malnutrition, which are usually visibly noticeable. Addicts often get so caught up in using drugs that they neglect their basic needs, like hygiene and eating. These individuals may also display secretive behavior and may become defensive when confronted about their drug problem.

Even so, there is such a thing as a high-functioning addict. These are individuals who can appear perfectly healthy and stable despite battling a drug or alcohol use disorder. For a while, they may be able to balance their addiction, relationships, career, and school until they hit a point where their drug use takes priority over all other things.

If you recognize these signs of heroin addiction in yourself or someone you love, don’t wait to reach out to our heroin rehab in Massachusetts.   

Our Rehab for Heroin Addiction

Heroin treatment centers often begin the treatment process with medically supervised detox. At our Baldwinville facility, we do this to help manage withdrawal symptoms and stabilize patients in early recovery. After completing detox, patients then move on to more long-term forms of treatment, such as our residential treatment program.

Our heroin addiction treatment in Massachusetts is conducted in an inpatient level of care to separate patients from any outside distractions or temptations, which may include unsupportive family and friends, old drinking or drug buddies, or a stressful job or home life. However, as structured as our treatment programs at Clearbrook are, they’re also adaptable to the patient’s needs.   

Also offered at our rehab for heroin abuse are several psychotherapy services for substance use rehabilitation, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Biofeedback. These are evidence-based methods meant to supplement our substance-specific rehab programs by addressing the emotional and behavioral aspects of addiction. Heroin rehab centers that provide a variety of treatment options for their patients increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety.

What’s more, because mental illness is often linked to addiction, our Massachusetts rehab also offers residential mental health care that addresses disorders like depression, anxiety, and more. This treatment could further support your recovery or that of a loved one.

Our Massachusetts facility is only one of several heroin rehab centers in the Clearbrook family. Contact Clearbrook Treatment Centers today to learn how our team of experts can help you or a loved one experience a successful heroin recovery.