Heroin addiction has long been a serious problem in Scottsdale, AZ. This drug has become a major player in the opioid crisis, which has claimed thousands of lives in our country. But it is highly addictive, and it can be incredibly hard for people to even gather up enough courage to ask for help.
People who are struggling because of heroin addictions in Scottsdale, Arizona need to know that help is available to them. They do not have to continue to suffer in silence. The right treatment can change everything. They only need to be willing to ask for help.
Heroin is an often-misunderstood drug. People who use it usually believe they are in complete control and can quite anytime they choose. That is the power of the addiction. We want to discuss heroin addiction in more detail, its effects on the body and mind and how people who live in Scottsdale can get the help they need to quit.
Heroin Addiction: The Basics
A hundred years ago, heroin was readily available as an over-the-counter remedy for headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and every other ailment imaginable. Unsurprisingly, this quickly led to a heroin addiction epidemic. The federal government stepped in, and heroin has been banned ever since. This tightly regulated drug remains challenging to access, so users often pay exorbitant dealer fees, even going into debt to gain access to the drug. Thus addiction doesn’t just harm your body and mind; it can also throw you into financial turmoil.
Though heroin can be snorted and smoked, most users go for the most direct route by injecting the drug. This requires significant skill, and an incorrectly formed injection can destroy blood vessels, transmit potentially fatal infections, or even kill its victim with an embolism. These challenges have made heroin one of the most dangerous drugs available. Fully half of heroin addicts admit to an overdose scare within the last year.
Heroin is an opioid narcotic, which means that it slows down activity in your brain, yields feelings of euphoria, and can cause sleepiness. Its effects are relatively long-lasting, especially when injected, so a bad high can last for hours, further endangering an addict.
In the early stages of heroin use, you may experience intense feelings of euphoria and well-being, as well as a rush upon first injecting the drug. Heroin quickly loses its potency as you develop a tolerance, though, causing most addicts to inject more and more of the substance – greatly increasing the risk of an overdose.
Some of the many side effects of heroin use include:
- Brain damage
- Mental illness
- Memory problems
- Skin-picking that leads to deep craters and infections in the skin
- Brain damage
- Personality changes
- Unstable mood
- Loss of teeth, tooth decay, chronic bad breath, and gum infections
- Infertility and sexual dysfunction
- Disruption of the menstrual and ovulatory cycles
- Exposure to infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS; if you inject heroin, your risk of dying due to drug use is much more significant.
- Psychosis, detachment, delusions, and hallucinations
Heroin addiction is quick and intense. Most users become addicted with five or fewer doses of the drug. If you experience intense physical or psychological symptoms when you can’t use, are progressively using more and more of the drug, or have experienced heroin-related health problems, you’re probably an addict.
Here are some other signs that you may be a heroin addict:
- Spending a significant portion of your day high.
- Spending all or most of your time with other heroin addicts.
- Relying on heroin to feel productive or normal.
- Working, driving, watching children, or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of heroin.
- Lying to others about your heroin use.
- Being arrested due to heroin.
- Legal, financial, or relationship problems related to heroin.
- New or worsening mental health symptoms.
- Broken blood vessels or track arks in the arm.
- Not caring about anything except heroin, or neglecting previously beloved activities so you can use heroin.
Heroin Addiction in Arizona: Statistics and Facts
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, statistics show that between June 15, 2017 and July 24, 2020:
- There have been about 6,500 suspected opioid deaths.
- There have been close to 47,000 suspected opioid overdoses.
- More than 2,100 babies have been diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
- There have been close to 89,000 doses of naloxone dispensed.
- More than 27,000 doses of naloxone have been administered.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse also offers some interesting statistics on opioids and heroin in Arizona:
- There were 1,106 opioid-overdose deaths reported in Arizona in 2018.
- This number has been steadily increasing in the state since 2012.
- This is out of a nationwide total of 14,996.
- 352 of those deaths were because of heroin overdoses.
- This rate is relatively the same from the year before, but it is still just as troubling.
Maricopa County has also shared some information regarding overdose deaths in the county. They claim that:
- In 2019. There were a total of 1,078 drug overdose deaths in the county.
- Between October 2018 and September 2019, there were close to 1,400 drug-related overdose deaths.
- Most of them involved alcohol, opioids and/or methamphetamines.
- About 91% of overdose deaths in the county involved more than one drug.
- 92% of them were deemed to be accidental.
- Between October 2018 and September 2019, opioid drugs took the lives of 898 people.
Heroin addiction is a potentially fatal illness that demands prompt medical intervention. Your next use of heroin could be your last; there’s no way to predict a heroin overdose, and the longer you use, the more likely it is that heroin will kill you. It is virtually impossible to get clean on your own, and if you try and fail, you’ve only wasted your time.
Instead, you need comprehensive treatment. Rehab is the gold standard in heroin treatment because you’ll get immediate medical help, break free from the peer pressure of home, and get a chance to remake a life you can love. Here are some of the services you can expect in rehab. If you’re not ready for care, you can also pursue these programs on your own:
- Therapy with a trained addiction expert. In therapy, you’ll gain a better understanding of why you use while working on practical strategies to help you resist temptation.
- Group assistance programs. You may gain access to group therapy, 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, and informal support groups. Networking with other addicts who have faced similar issues to your own is an excellent way to get sober more quickly while benefiting from the hard-won knowledge of other addicts just like you.
- Medical care. Heroin can kill you, destroy your organs, and wreck your mental health. You’ll need a doctor’s help to get back on track. Your doctor can also help you navigate the heroin withdrawal process, which is notoriously difficult. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications to make withdrawal easier, prescribe drugs to help reduce your cravings, or offer you medical treatment for any underlying mental health issues.
Is it Safe to Quit Heroin Cold Turkey in Arizona?
Far too many people choose to attempt to quit using heroin cold turkey, and they do so for a number of reasons. Some may find it hard to get into a quality drug treatment program in Arizona. Others might feel that going to rehab is a waste of their time and they are quite confident they can do it on their own, without support.
Regardless, quitting heroin cold turkey is challenging. In fact, Business Insider reprinted an answer to a Quora question, What happens to heroin addicts when they quit cold turkey, and why is it so unbearable? in the form of an article. The question’s author, Joe Lawson, outlines everything he experienced as he went through heroin withdrawal.
During heroin withdrawal, Joe shares that he encountered:
- Feeling antsy and unable to sit still for any length of time.
- Being unable to focus his attention on anything other than being out of heroin.
- Crawling sensations under his skin.
- Muscle aches and pains.
- Intense nausea.
- Excessive sweating, which persisted for about a week.
- Severe diarrhea, vomiting and pain for about three days.
- Painful cramps in his arms, back and legs.
- Intense cravings for the drug.
- Vivid dreams of heroin use.
Joe stated, “Listing the symptoms or even describing them cannot even begin to convey the pain and fear one experiences while going through this. The poison seems to make a horrid effort to convince you that you will in fact die if you do not get one more fix.”
His experience lasted about two weeks with the last five days being relatively minor. Mentally, he had never experienced anything so excruciating. It took him about two years to no longer feel as though he was a junkie.
But what does that have to do with quitting cold turkey in Arizona?
Arizona is known for its hot, dry heat, and a person who is quitting heroin cold turkey is already at risk for getting dehydrated. Excessive nausea and diarrhea can be extremely dangerous in Arizona because people can get dehydrated much faster than in other climates where the weather is cooler. It is possible to get dangerously dehydrated in as little as a day or two in some cases.
When it comes to quitting the use of heroin, it is always better to be safe than sorry. A quality detoxification program can provide people with all of the medical treatment they need to get off this drug safely.
How to Find an Excellent Heroin Addiction Treatment Program in Arizona
People who have never been to any type of rehab program before may find it very difficult to know what to look for. As we mentioned earlier, the Scottsdale, Arizona area has several options for drug treatment. But of course, they are not all the same, nor are they all going to work well for everyone.
There are a few qualities and characteristics that can help people identify solid heroin rehab programs.
- Make sure the program you choose is accredited by the Joint Commission. This will ensure that you are getting the best quality care available.
- Talk with someone in admissions and find out if they accept your health insurance plan. You want to keep your out-of-pocket costs as low as possible, and many of the best rehab programs are covered in full by many providers.
- You will actually be able to speak with someone at the facility you are interested in attending. Please be wary of any rehab website that doesn’t list a physical location. The site could be operated by a rehab broker, which could be dangerous. Insist on speaking to someone on the phone and verify that they are from the program you are interested in.
- The program should be tailored according to your specific needs. When you go to rehab, you certainly do not want to be lumped in with everyone else. You are an individual with your own needs during your recovery. The staff at the rehab you choose should offer personalized treatment plans to ensure that those needs are being met.
It is a big step to decide to go to rehab. But please take your time and consider all of the above qualities before you make a final decision. Remember, you are investing in your health and well-being.
There are so many people with heroin addictions who also suffer from co-occurring disorders, and many of them do not realize it. A co-occurring disorder is a mental health condition that has either led to the person’s drug use, or happened as a result of it. Most people who abuse this drug have done so in an attempt to self-medicate their psychological symptoms away.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that about half of people who have a mental illness will also have a substance abuse disorder. Research suggests that teens who have substance use disorders will also typically have high rates of co-occurring mental illnesses. More than 60% of them who are in treatment programs meet the criteria for some type of mental illness.
A lot of people who use heroin in Arizona are aware that they suffer from conditions like anxiety and depression. But many of them are not and they have never been diagnosed for any type of mental health issue. Either way, it is so important for these people to get the help they need, which includes going to a drug rehab that offers treatment for co-occurring disorders. This is called dual diagnosis treatment.
Dual diagnosis treatment refers to the treatment of both the addiction and the mental health issue at the same time. In the past, this type of care was not considered the norm. Typically, patients would be sent to the hospital to detox off heroin safely. Once they did that, they were then sent to a psychiatric unit for further treatment.
With this method, the treatment of the two conditions – addiction and mental health – were kept separate. That means it was nearly impossible for the patient to see the connection between the two.
There are a lot of benefits to going to a dual diagnosis treatment program. For instance:
- Dual diagnosis takes into consideration every aspect of what a person needs to recover from addiction. Professionals are able to see the “whole picture” rather than just some of it.
- People who go through dual diagnosis treatment usually have much better long-term recovery rates. This is because during rehab, they are actively dealing with the causes of their addictions. They may finally get the therapy they need or the medication that will help their symptoms. Once they do, their need for their previous drug of choice decreases.
- This is also why the relapse rates are lower for people who go through dual diagnosis treatment.
- People who go through dual diagnosis treatment learn how to take back control of their lives instead of always feeling out of control.
- Knowing that a person has a co-occurring disorder helps them to put a name to something that might have been quite frightening to them when it was unknown. When people have a better understanding of the symptoms they are experiencing, it can make recovering much easier.
What to Expect During Your Arizona Heroin Addiction Treatment Program
A lot of people are nervous about going to rehab in Arizona simply because they are not sure what to expect. Learning the truth about how treatment progresses can really be a big help to them.
Step One – Going through drug detox. Detox is the process by which toxins are removed from the body that are related to the drug the individual was using. Once a person has stopped using heroin, they go through withdrawal and have many of the symptoms we mentioned above. Detox can help them get through this period with minimized symptoms that are easily treated and managed.
Step Two – Moving on to drug rehab. Once the individual’s withdrawal symptoms are under control, it is time to transition to drug rehab. During rehab, people go through a number of different methods of treatment, depending on their needs. They may work with a therapist or psychiatrist, receive medication management services, participate in group therapy and receive other forms of treatment.
Step Three – Continuing care and aftercare. Recovery is not over once a rehab program has come to an end. It is an ongoing proposition, which includes continuing to get help and support for many years down the road. A lot of people do this by going to outpatient rehab or starting to attend Narcotics Anonymous.
Get Help for Heroin Addiction in Arizona Today – Treatment Can Change Everything
At SpringBoard Recovery, we want to help as many people as possible recover from their addictions. We offer quality drug treatment that has already made such a difference in so many people’s lives. Yours could be next.
Would you like to know more about our heroin addiction treatment program in Scottsdale? Please contact us today.