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Heroin Addiction Facts and Statistics

by | Last updated Oct 2, 2020 at 1:33PM | Published on Jul 25, 2014 | Drug Addiction, Opioid Addiction

Heroin Addiction Facts and Statistics

There’s no doubt that heroin is known as one of the most addictive drugs out there. It gives users an instant warmth, comfortable feeling, that can be challenging to get from something else. While in recent years, the opioid epidemic has shed some light on heroin, we still need to learn about shocking heroin addiction facts to understand this disease. 

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive drug made from morphine. The substance is available in the seed pop of opium poppy plants. Heroin enters the brain at lightning speed and binds to opioid receptors, especially those involved with pain and pleasure feelings. Heroin instantly affects things like heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.

Types of Heroin

Heroin is available in various presentations. Heroin can be a white or brown powder and a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Because of this, people inject, sniff, snort, or even smoke heroin. The versatility of the drug makes it perfect for mixing with other substances like crack cocaine, which is what addicts call speedballing. 

Heroin has many street names that people use to identify the drug, including:

  • Big H
  • Horse
  • Hell Dust
  • Smack
  • Black Tar
  • Chiva
  • Negra
  • Thunder

5 Interesting Heroin Addiction Facts You Should Know

There are many misconceptions about who abuses heroin and how it affects the body. But, when you analyze the research and check heroin addiction facts, it’s impossible to dismiss the impact heroin misuse and abuse can have on someone’s health and lifestyle. 

1. Most Heroin Users Start with Prescription Opioids

Many people start experimenting with drugs through opioid pain medicines. However, many of these have effects similar to heroin. Around 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids move to heroin, and close to 80 percent of heroin users say they misused prescription opioids first. More data suggest that heroin is one of the first opioid people misuses, with almost one-third of those checking into treatment saying heroin was the first opioid they regularly used to get high.

2. Track Marks Can Be Life-Threatening

A lot of heroin users will turn to injections because these offer the most immediate effect. However, chronic injection use can cause collapsed veins, bacterial infections, and soft-tissue infections. Also known as track marks, these collapsed veins can result in blood clogs that lead to the liver, kidneys, lungs, or the brain, which can potentially cause death. 

3. Health Consequences Can Be Severe

Beyond the track marks, no matter how someone ingests the drug, chronic heroin users experience many health consequences. Some of these include constipation, insomnia, lung complications, and more. Many of them also struggle with mental health conditions like depression and antisocial personality disorder. Other health consequences include sexual dysfunction, and nasal septum perforations, for those who snort heroin. 

4. Heroin Users Have Higher Risk of HIV and Hepatitis

People who inject heroin are the highest-risk group for exposing themselves to viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Generally, this is because they’re in contact with infected blood and other body fluids. It’s important to note that even those who snort or smoke heroin are also at risk. People under the influence of drugs generally engage in risky behavior that exposes them to these diseases.

5. Heroin Addiction Happens Quickly 

While it doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t take too long for someone to become addicted to heroin. People who use heroin regularly can soon develop tolerance. A substance use disorder starts when someone continues to use a drug, regardless of health problems, failures to meet responsibilities, and even when it’s disrupting work and among family members. Heroin doesn’t stay in the body for too long, making people use more doses, and before they notice, they’ll be struggling with an addiction. 

Heroin Addiction Statistics

Heroin Addiction Statistics

The devastation and consequences of heroin cannot be unseen. When you look at heroin addiction statistics or heroin addiction facts and their impact on society, it is impossible not to be shocked. Here are some of the latest numbers about heroin addiction in the United States:

  • Heroin roughly accounts for 18% of the admissions for drug and alcohol treatment in the US.
  • In 2016 close to 948,000 Americans reported using heroin in the past year.
  • The number of people using heroin for the first time is high, with 170,000 people starting heroin use in 2016, nearly double the number of people in 2006.
  • Young people 18-29 and mid-life individuals 30-44 are more likely to use heroin than older people.
  • Men are more likely than women to overdose, with deaths due to heroin overdose four times more likely in men than in women.

Treatment Options for Heroin Addiction

While heroin is incredibly addictive, those who are willing to break the addiction cycle can seek treatment. Because cutting cold-turkey can be incredibly dangerous, it’s best to start with a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and heroin detox process to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms.

Speaking with an addiction treatment specialist as soon as possible is the best way to start seeking help for benzo addiction. Especially because medication-assisted therapies can help people move away from heroin. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our drug addiction recovery programs include:

Heroin Medical Detox: A clinically supervised detox process to ensure the patient’s safety and make the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Often, people who misuse benzos mix it with alcohol, struggle with opioids misuse, or have co-occurring mental health illnesses. A dual diagnosis treatment plan collectively and holistically treats the various ailments. 

Medication-Assisted Therapy: Because heroin is highly addictive, most people need medication-assisted therapy, which turns to FDA-approved medications to tamper off the effects of heroin and help people move away from the substance. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs: A form of drug rehab that offers more flexibility to patients looking to seek addiction treatment while maintaining daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving. These programs incorporate cognitive-behavioral therapy to change addictive behaviors in people that struggle with substance abuse. 

Long-term Recovery Programs: It’s easy to relapse after treatment, with long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety. 

Get Help Today

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug abuse, seek help immediately. Contact Lighthouse Recovery Institute today and speak with our addiction specialists to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs.

We believe in treating each patient in a case-by-case scenario because no two addiction stories are alike. Start walking towards your recovery, and we’ll be here supporting you and your family every step of the way. Please don’t wait another day to start addiction treatment, primarily when your life depends on it.

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine Orentas

Geraldine is Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s Digital Marketing Manager. She has a Bachelor’s in Journalism and experience in the digital media industry. Geraldine’s writing allows her to share valuable information about mental health, wellness, and drug addiction facts, hoping to shed light on the importance of therapy and ending the stigma.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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