Heroin is an incredibly addictive substance that is responsible for many thousands of fatal overdoses in the U.S. each year. As an illicit opioid, heroin is a significant contributor to our nation’s current opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, many people who use heroin won’t get the heroin addiction treatment they need before severe consequences occur. With the prevalence of heroin abuse and addiction today, the increased need for heroin abuse prevention and awareness campaigns is undeniable. As part of that endeavor, education about the signs of a heroin overdose is vital.
Access to affordable heroin addiction treatment is the best way to help people overcome their addiction and avoid the risk of overdose. At Blueprint Recovery Center, we are committed to helping people transform their lives. If you or someone you know might benefit from heroin addiction treatment, contact Blueprint Recovery Center online or at 833.654.1004 today.
What Are the Risks of Heroin Abuse?
Heroin is a derivative of morphine. When a person ingests the drug, it travels through the bloodstream and binds to neurotransmitters in the brain’s reward center, which is the area that regulates pain and feelings of well-being.
Simply put, heroin causes an increased release of dopamine, which in turn creates a sensation of intense pleasure or euphoria. This effect is what keeps a person seeking more of the drug. But those feelings of pleasure will soon become the only thing a person wants as they develop an addiction to the substance.
Side Effects of Prolonged Heroin Use Abuse
In addition to the risk of overdose, long-term heroin abuse can cause a range of mental and physical side effects, such as:
- Infections of the heart lining and valves
- Collapsed veins
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Kidney or liver disease
- Pulmonary complications
- Diminished cognitive abilities
In many cases, some of these side effects may be irreversible. Heroin abuse is also associated with infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV, which can be transmitted from shared needles. Illicit heroin may be laced with other deadly drugs or chemicals such as fentanyl. This dangerous combination puts unsuspecting buyers at a higher risk of overdose or death.
How to Recognize a Heroin Overdose
Would you know if someone is in the early stages of a heroin overdose? You should be aware that the warning signs can progress quickly, thus requiring immediate medical intervention. If you know someone using heroin, familiarize yourself with the warning signs of a heroin overdose. This knowledge may help save a person’s life.
Signs of heroin overdose may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pale skin with blue-tinged lips or nails
- Difficulty breathing or gasping for breath
- Weak pulse
- Pinprick pupils
- Confusion and poor coordination
Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you suspect a heroin overdose. If the person is unresponsive, try to turn them on their right side. This position will prevent them from aspirating if they vomit while unconscious. You should stay until help arrives, but don’t slap, shout, or douse them with cold water to rouse them. When the EMTs arrive, they will administer overdose reversal drugs and transport the person to the hospital. After leaving the hospital, anyone who has recovered from a heroin overdose should enter a detox and drug rehab program right away.
Explore Heroin Addiction Treatment at Blueprint Recovery Center
Overcoming heroin addiction requires determination, support, and guidance. At Blueprint Recovery Center, our skilled, compassionate staff will work with you to create a personalized plan for recovery. We will guide and encourage you every step of the way to ensure your success in overcoming a substance use disorder.
Our team offers a variety of programs and services to help you reach your recovery goals, including:
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Outpatient treatment program (OP)
If you’re ready to live drug-free and reach your full potential in life, contact us by filling out our online form or calling 833.654.1004 to learn more about how Blueprint Recovery can help you make it happen.