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The recent opioid problem has transformed into a heroin epidemic, claiming more lives than at almost any other point in the drug’s long and storied history. What is heroin, and why is heroin addiction so prevalent? Learn this, and more, then contact the heroin addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL.


What is Heroin?

It’s a highly addictive analgesic and central nervous system depressant that’s derived from the seed pod of the opium poppy. The first two major epidemics in the US occurred during the late 40s to mid-50s and in the 1970s after the end of the Vietnam War. Morphine is the base for heroin. Doctors used it as a potent battlefield pain reliever. Heroin was first distilled in 1874 and was manufactured, packaged, and sold by the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company from 1898 until the medical community re-classified and criminalized it in the early 20th century.

The jump from recreational use to dependence and addiction is quick, and recovery is a life-long struggle for many. This heroin epidemic may not be the first to hit our country, but hopefully, with better education and access to treatment options, it will be the last.

What Does Heroin Look Like?

Heroin usually is a water-soluble powder that’s white or tan. However, varieties such as the notorious and deadly Black Tar from Mexico can be dark brown and sludgy like resin. People manufacture it by transforming the milk obtained from the seed pod into morphine, treating it, and cooking it down until it forms a thick, powdery paste.

It’s diluted and remixed numerous times along the supply chain with whatever kind of powder is on hand, including sugar, baby powder, and other drugs. That means the purity and strength can vary from batch to batch, making it even more dangerous. One of the darkest recent trends is the combination of heroin and fentanyl, a very potent opiate that’s up to 100 times the potency of heroin alone. Street names for heroin include boy, horse, smack, junk, skag, and the colorful monikers Chine White or Mexican Brown.

How Do People Use Heroin?

Not everyone who abuses heroin injects the drug. Many users snort heroin, especially in the beginning. For a while, people used it as a cost-effective “cut” for cocaine. It’s also common to smoke heroin with marijuana, either added to a joint or sprinkled on a bowl of the weed. However, injecting heroin, which is called “shooting up” in the street vernacular, is the most common way to use the drug. Many who are addicted find their way to the needle eventually. The needle has led to a concurrent rise in blood-borne infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV.

An Overview of the Heroin Epidemic

There are two possible causes for the current epidemic of heroin addiction. While the first two waves seemed to have their roots in the aftermath of war, the current uptick in abuse rates is occurring alongside the opioid epidemic. National heroin abuse statistics bear this out; 80 percent of those in treatment for heroin addiction began by abusing legal prescriptions for pain medications.

In the early 2000s, drug companies introduced a new crop of strong, opioid-based medications. Doctors were encouraged to prescribe them for pain management after accidents and to treat chronic pain disorders. Once the medical community realized there was a significant problem with opioid addiction, dependent patients were cut off from their legal medications. From there, they turned to illegal ways to obtain drugs. Methods included practices like doctor shopping and diverting prescription meds from friends and family. Eventually, cheap, widely available heroin became the drug of choice for many.

The price and quantity of the drug made it easy to get and cost-effective for dealers to use as an additive to cocaine. This led to a rise in overdose deaths from mixing drugs and increased the number of heroin addicts. A combination of recreational users and patients transitioning from legally prescribed medications to heroin has swollen the ranks of people needing addiction treatment.

Heroin Abuse Statistics

How widespread is heroin addiction? One need only look at the statistics to find the answer. A National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) conducted in 2016 found that approximately 948,000 people over the age of 12 used heroin the previous year. That’s up from 214,000 reported by the same agency in 2002. Admissions for treatment to overcome heroin use disorder rose from 11 percent in 2008 to nearly 26 percent just a few years later.

The demographics of heroin use have also changed. It was once considered an inner-city, urban problem. However, now, just as many of those seeking treatment come from suburbs and rural areas. There is no differentiation in social class, either, although poverty is a risk factor for abuse.

How to Tell if Someone is Using Heroin

There are two types of heroin abuser, those who are dependent on the drug and those who are addicted. That may sound like the same thing, and one often follows the other, but there are a few distinctions. Someone dependent on the drug builds up a tolerance to it and needs to take more to experience the same effect.

When someone is addicted to heroin, they develop an uncontrollable craving that leads them to seek out the drug regardless of any negative consequences. Dependence can sometimes be eliminated by gradually reducing the dosage until it’s no longer needed. Addiction requires detox and a rehabilitation program. Withdrawal symptoms, signs of use, and treatments overlap.

Some people can hide their dependence and lead functional lives. Others become hooked and lose everything when the addiction takes over. Observant friends, family members, and employers can detect heroin abuse by watching for a few signs. The symptoms can be physical and psychological, and they include:

  • Possessing paraphernalia like syringes, baggies, and pipes
  • Changes in behavior and habits, like hanging out with a different crowd
  • Avoiding old friends and family, becoming secretive
  • Losing money, jobs, and/or housing
  • Neglecting family, school, or work responsibilities
  • Strange marks on arms or between fingers and toes
  • Mood swings or personality changes

It’s possible to detect use when the withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction appear. These can include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting and stomach cramps
  • Profuse sweating
  • Diarrhea

Over the long-term, more severe symptoms like severe weight loss, skin ulcerations, and heart, liver, or respiratory distress develop. If the person’s lips begin to turn blue, they’re unresponsive, and their breathing is shallow, these are symptoms of overdose that require immediate medical attention.

Without treatment, chronic use leads to health problems. Death is a serious possibility every time you use, especially when you mix heroin with other drugs. It is imperative that if you see these symptoms, you encourage the person to enroll in the heroin addiction program in Jacksonville, FL.

Is Heroin Addiction Treatable?

Despite its deadly reputation and high relapse rates, heroin addiction is treatable with a heroin addiction treatment program in Jacksonville, FL. Everyone’s substance use story is personal, so an individualized approach to treatment in a supervised setting offers the best hope for lasting recovery.

In 2017, approximately 15,000 people died from a heroin overdose, which is five times the number of heroin overdose deaths in 2010. As the opioid crisis continues, death by heroin overdose will continue to be a public health crisis. The good news is that we offer hope for recovery, no matter how long you’ve been addicted to heroin or the severity of your heroin abuse.

What to Expect From the Heroin Addiction Treatment Center in Jacksonville, FL

The prospect of sober living is probably one of the scariest thoughts you’ll have in the days leading up to entering a program. But, if you’re considering the heroin addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL, you know deep down that you have a problem that needs treatment.

People close to you have already witnessed changes in you. They’ve been rooting for your recovery for a long time. The only people who don’t want you well and healthy are the people you use with and your dealer.

The biggest fear you’re experiencing is likely to be fear of the unknown. You don’t know what to expect from heroin addiction treatment, or what your life will be like during recovery. The pain of withdrawal is something you know about, and that is very real. It’s part of what keeps you using.

Our goal is to provide you with an overview of what a heroin addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL is like on a day-to-day basis, and how the Stepping Stone Center for Recovery can help. When you’re ready to talk to someone about the At our heroin addiction treatment program in Jacksonville, FL, our helpline is open 24/7. Just contact us by calling 866.957.4960, and one of our counselors will talk to you about your options.

Treatment Options for Heroin Addiction

Recovery from heroin addiction usually begins with medically supervised detox. Whether you decide to remain in residential rehab or receive outpatient care depends on your circumstances and the severity of your addiction. Regardless of which avenue you choose, the initial detox should take place in a safe facility with qualified medical support.

At our heroin addiction treatment program Jacksonville, FL, medical professionals will monitor you for any concurrent health problems, and to help you cope with the discomfort of heroin withdrawal. Experts recommend at least 30 days of in-patient care. However, we know this is impossible for some due to work or family obligations.

Are you a candidate for outpatient treatment? Maybe, if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have a mild or short-term addiction,
  • You’ve never been in a drug treatment program before,
  • You have no concurrent mental health issues,
  • You have a stable living or economic situation and family support,
  • You’re unable to take a leave of absence from your job or school, and/or
  • You have family obligations and no backup.

Before you decide that outpatient treatment is for you, consider two things:

  1. Your ability to be effective at your job, studies, or parenting while you’re going through the recovery process
  2. The fact that nearly 60 percent of patients relapse before completing longer-term inpatient heroin treatment. Very few people can quit for good – or for long – without removing themselves temporarily from their current environment.

Let’s take at least one of these concerns off the table. Heroin addiction treatment, when conducted by qualified medical personnel who have experience treating addiction to heroin, is approved and protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). That means your job can’t fire you for getting help for your substance use disorder. However, if you fear the stigma of being in recovery or repercussions at work, rest assured that our services are confidential. Everyone at our facility will protect your privacy.

What Makes the Heroin Addiction Treatment Center in Jacksonville, FL Unique?

We offer a comprehensive heroin addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL that we designed to help you recover from heroin addiction. We will treat any health and mental health problems, teach you to identify and cope with triggers that led you to heroin abuse and work with you to map out a plan to prevent a relapse. It just takes a call to 866.957.4960 to get started.

Heroin addiction treatment is more effective if we take it in steps. The first step is heroin detox using Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT). We start this process in our facility under the supervision of a licensed doctor who has experience treating heroin addiction. Medical support is also important so we can treat any medical problems that accompany heroin use.

There are several drugs that doctors use to ease withdrawal symptoms and address anxiety or physical distress. The most traditional drug used for medical detox during heroin addiction treatment is Methadone. It’s an opiate that binds to the same receptors that react with heroin use, but it doesn’t get you high. Newer drugs include buprenorphine, which pharmacists manufacture under the brand name Suboxone, and Naltrexone, which doctors also use to treat alcohol addiction. Both of these drugs work in the same way as Methadone, but they have a lower risk of addiction and abuse.

Other drugs used during detox include medications to control anxiety, antidepressants, and clonidine, which helps ease stomach cramps, nausea, and muscle pain. Since withdrawing from heroin also causes diarrhea and vomiting, our medical staff will work to keep you hydrated.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal is one thing that keeps heroin abusers using long after they cease to gain any enjoyment from taking the drug. They can range from mild, flu-like symptoms to extremely painful cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can lead to severe dehydration and even death.

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Seizures

Heroin detox can last anywhere from one to two weeks, with the peak symptoms occurring after two to three days. Once you’ve successfully completed MAT at our heroin addiction treatment program Jacksonville, FL, your mind and body will be stronger. Then, your educational period will begin.

During this phase of treatment, which lasts about two weeks, you’ll have a case manager assigned to assess your need for psychotherapy to diagnose and address any undisclosed mental health problems.

Assessments performed at our facility include:

  • GAD-7 screening for anxiety disorder
  • PHQ-9 screening for depression
  • MDQ screening for bipolar disorder
  • Diagnosis for follow up care before leaving the facility

During attendance at our psychological education sessions, 12-step group support, and expressive therapies, you’ll learn about the roots of your addiction and gain new coping skills to keep you from self-medicating with heroin or abusing other drugs. Once you’re stabilized and your case manager is confident that you’re ready to face the world again sober, we’ll work with you to devise an individualized aftercare plan.

We personalize each aftercare plan to support your long-term recovery needs. We will use the insight we gained during your therapeutic sessions. Before you leave our facility, we’ll assign you a certified recovery coach. You’ll have access to our alumni program of others who have successfully completed and maintained their recovery. We’ll also offer support in other areas of your life in order to offer you some stability and lessen the chances of relapse.

We can help you with facilitating:

  • Sober living housing
  • Family and marital counseling services
  • Educational training
  • Work or education assistance
  • Transitional programs for Intensive Outpatient Rehab or live-in care
  • Psychiatric services
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Medical maintenance programs
  • Health care services

What Happens if You Relapse?

We’ve focused on creating and offering some of the best options for long-term recovery, but we also realize the insidious nature of addiction. Recovery is hard, and it’s a life-long struggle that not everyone can overcome, even after treatment. While we hope to give you the tools and confidence to live a sober, productive life, the reality is that some of our former residents need additional assistance.

That’s why we’ve created our Relapse Recovery Program. This portion of the treatment is more intensive. You’ll dive into the deeper work of discovering what led you to abuse heroin in the first place and get to the root of why you relapsed. It’s a two-week residential program we designed to help you get back on track with your recovery.

The program involves group therapyprivate one-on-one sessions with a licensed clinician, and all of the other benefits you enjoyed during your initial stay in a heroin addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL. However, the work is more focused and geared toward dealing with severe or long-standing issues.

The curriculum covers:

  • Relapse triggers and warning signs
  • How to ask for help before you relapse again
  • Dealing with drug cravings
  • Working on character issues
  • Life after recovery

We’ll also discuss some of the reasons people relapse. Heroin is one of the most difficult drugs to overcome, so there’s no shame in slipping. Almost 60 percent of people struggling with addiction to heroin have setbacks.

Contributing Factors For Relapse Include:

  • Lack of support systems at home
  • Financial or employment issues
  • Returning to a negative environment
  • Not understanding how cravings and triggers can catch you off guard
  • Difficulty adjusting to life after treatment

Your sobriety is the reason we’re in this business. We want to assure you that the heroin addiction treatment program in Jacksonville, FL is here for the long haul. We’re not just as a stop-gap solution. You’ll also remain eligible for our complete aftercare program, including alumni access and a personal recovery coach.

Paying for Heroin Addiction Treatment

Fear of how to pay for rehab shouldn’t keep you from seeking heroin treatment for your addiction. As a response to the national opioid crisis, funding has been set aside to cover substance abuse recovery. That means heroin addiction treatment is mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most major medical plans should pay for at least part of your treatment. The admissions specialist at our heroin addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL, can help you with this part during intake, but you should talk with a representative from your health insurance company. Heroin treatment is also covered under Medicaid and Medicare in some circumstances.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

We realize that you have options for heroin treatment in Northern Florida, but few offer what you’ll experience at the Stepping Stone Center of Recovery. At our facility, we work toward healing the mind, body, and spirit. Recovery is a long journey, not a destination. Our goal is to ensure that you’re safe and comfortable during the early stages of detox and rehabilitation and that you have the skills you need after treatment to make a full and successful recovery.

When you’re ready to take that first step by entering the heroin addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL, our intake specialist is standing by to guide you through the admissions process. Don’t hesitate to contact our 24/7 confidential helpline at 866.957.4960 whenever you need to talk to someone about your heroin addiction. We’re here to provide you with all of the help and support you need.

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