Heroin use and addiction is the greatest its ever been in Alachua County, and nationwide. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2014, there were more than 10,500 heroin-related overdose fatalities. Also, 80% of new heroin addicts say they began using after first abusing prescription painkillers.
Between 2000-2013, heroin overdose fatalities increased by nearly 400%. From 2010-2013, the rate of death increase was 37% per year. In a 2014 survey, 94% of treatment patients said that they began using heroin because prescription opioids were more expensive and not as easy attainable.
Indeed, the heroin crisis is believed to be brought on by the excessive prescribing of prescription opioids which began in the 1990’s. However, many patients were eventually cut off from their prescriptions, or could no longer afford them. When they were not able to obtain their drug of choice, they fell into street drugs, such as heroin.
Heroin detoxification is notorious for its unpleasantness. It can be so terrible, that the term “dope sick” was originally invented for heroin particularly. Fortunately, heroin withdrawal is not typically fatal. But unfortunately, users who abruptly detox often face severe depression, anxiety, and pain. This may cause the person to have suicidal feelings, or to simply give up and relapse when they can no longer stand the withdrawal effects
The worst physical manifestations of withdrawal often abate in just a few days. However, in extreme cases, mental and emotional effects, including anxiety and insomnia, may much longer.
Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms Include:
- Irritability and/or agitation
- Insomnia/sleep difficulties
- Runny nose, watery eyes
- Hot and cold sensations, sweats
- Muscle aches and pains
- Stomach cramping
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
What to Expect from a Medical Detox for Heroin in Alachua County
Detoxing in a clinical environment is, without a doubt, the safest and most comfortable means of heroin withdrawal. Additional mental illness or substance use issues can also be evaluated and addressed at this time.
During the process, experienced medical staff monitor patient vital signs and increase patient comfort by rendering medications as applicable. Medications indicated for heroin withdrawal, such as naltrexone, can substantially relieve symptoms and bolster stability. For particularly severe addictions, Suboxone replacement may be required.
Also, in medical detox, relapse is essentially impossible, and patients have access to both mental and physical care around-the-clock.
If heroin has been injected, wound care is also available. Medications can be administered for infection or inflammation if present.
Many patients who complete medical detox then participate in an intensive outpatient or residential inpatient program.