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Heroin Addiction Intervention and Treatment in California



Heroin addiction intervention and treatment in California is the best option for any family with a loved one struggling with heroin addiction. In California are many options for families to access effective drug rehab for heroin addiction. Heroin abuse is a common problem in California and, unfortunately, has led to countless overdose deaths across the state. The rehabilitation process for heroin addiction involves medical detox to manage withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal pain associated with heroin detox is painful and uncomfortable. Medically supervised detox or medication-assisted treatment is a common option. Following drug detox, the next phase of drug rehab involves attending inpatient or outpatient drug rehab in California. Typically, an addiction assessment would help a family or addict determine what drug rehab methods are the best option to treat heroin addiction.


What is Heroin, and How is it Used?

Heroin addiction in California impacts countless peoples, and drug rehab centers in California routinely treat people addicted to heroin. Heroin is a highly addictive drug processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance from certain poppy plant varieties. The drug is typically sold as a white or brown powder and often cut with sugars, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Pure heroin is usually a white powder with a bitter taste, and highly pure heroin can be snorted or smoked. However, the most common method of using heroin is intravenous or injection. Black tar heroin is a sticky roofing tar or hard like coal, and the dark color is associated with the crude processing methods. Impure heroin is usually dissolved, diluted, and injected into veins, muscles, or under the skin. The euphoric short-term effects are immediate, causing the user to chase these effects continually.


What are Common Street Names for Heroin

There are many different street names for heroin, and these include Tar, Dope, Smack, Junk, Brown Sugar, Mexican Mud, Skunk, Thunder, Chiva, Black Pearl, and Mexican Tar. Heroin comes in several forms and originates from Mexico, South America, Southeast Asia, and Southwest Asia. Within the United States, Heroin is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means it has a high potential for abuse. There are no accepted medical uses in treatment in the United States for heroin.


What Causes Heroin Addiction?

Within the human body are naturally occurring neurotransmitters that bind to natural opioid receptors throughout the brain and body to regulate pain, hormone release, and feelings of well-being. Heroin binds to and activates specific opioid receptors in the reward center of the brain. When this occurs, it stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, reinforcing drug-taking behavior. Once heroin enters the bloodstream and brain, it is converted to morphine immediately and binds rapidly to the opioid receptors. The euphoric effect of heroin is one part of what causes addiction. Heroin, like any other opioids, causes a tolerance to develop, physical and psychological dependence, and addiction. A dependence on heroin results in withdrawal symptoms, which is why medical drug detox in California is important.

Long-term use of heroin increased the risk of overdose. Heroin depresses breathing by changing neurochemical activity in the brain stem. In addition, opioids reinforce drug-taking behavior and block pain messages transmitted through the spinal cord from the body. Overall, repeated heroin use changes the physical structure and physiology of the brain. The changes result in long-term imbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems that are not easily reversed. Addiction to heroin occurs quite easily and quickly because of the intense euphoric effects. However, the drug user is continually chasing the same effects because the body develops a tolerance to heroin.


Heroin Addiction Treatment and Detox in California

Heroin addiction treatment and detox in California involve multiple steps. The first step in treating heroin addiction is a drug detox. Heroin produces profound degrees of tolerance and physical dependence, requiring a medically supervised drug detox. Withdrawal symptoms may occur within a few hours after the last time the drug is taken. Common withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, and leg movements. Typically, most withdrawal symptoms peak within 24 to 48 hours after the last dose. Drug detox should not be considered the only approach to manage heroin addiction.

The next phase of drug rehab involves attending a residential or outpatient drug rehab center in California. Behavioral therapies are the most successful form of rehabilitation for heroin addiction. However, no single form of drug rehab is right for every person. Some addicts benefit from faith-based drug rehab in California or holistic drug rehab in combination with behavioral therapies. Behavioral therapy involves cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, 12-step facilitation, and family-based counseling. Overall, long-term residential drug rehab is the best solution because more is offered to the addict in the way of therapy and counseling.


Family Intervention for Heroin Addiction in California

Heroin addiction in California is a devasting problem, and convincing someone addicted to heroin they need drug rehab is not easy. Most families organize a professional drug intervention with the help of a certified interventionist. A professional family intervention motivates a heroin addict to get the drug rehab they need. Family intervention is a carefully planned process involving family members, friends, and an interventionist. The drug-addicted family member has two options, and that is to accept drug rehab or face the consequences. The consequences are determined during the intervention planning and are meant to motivate the addict to accept drug rehab and begin treatment for heroin addiction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in California, an estimated 45% of drug overdose deaths involved opioids in 2018. Deaths involving heroin continued to rise to 778 reported in 2018. Deaths involving opioids continued a downward trend at that time, reaching 1,084 in 2018. Among opioid-involved deaths in California, the largest increase involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl, with more than a 60% increased from 2017 to 2018.



NIDA. “Overview.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 13 May. 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/overview

NIDA. “California: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3 Apr. 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/california-opioid-involved-deaths-related-harms