Of the many addictive opiates, heroin is probably the most infamous, not just because it is so highly addictive, but because it has been known about and used for so long. Because it is so highly addictive, detoxification of the substance is often needed before being placed in addiction therapy.
Here at Free by the Sea, we have excellent relationships with detox facilities in the Pacific Northwest and surrounding areas. We are able to assist you with detox placement should you or your loved one require this service prior to entering our drug addiction treatment program.
Heroin is a drug made from the poppy plant that affects the central nervous system. When injected, heroin creates a euphoric rush for the user, usually followed by hours of drowsiness. Other methods of taking the drug, such as smoking or snorting, may not produce the same intensity of the rush but will produce the drowsiness, sometimes known as nodding off.
Like morphine, codeine, and other opium derivatives, heroin binds to the brain’s pain receptors and acts as a painkiller. But the immediate euphoric rush from heroin makes addiction to the drug easy and fast. People who believe that their heroin use is under control can quickly build up a tolerance to the drug, causing them to need more and more of it to experience the same kind of high. As the need for the drug increases, the addict also feels the increasing need to continue to use to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
In its purest form, heroin is a white powdery substance that can be smoked, snorted, injected, eaten, or used in a suppository. The pure form is often combined with substances such as sugar or powdered milk before being sold. At the “street” sales level, it may even be cut or “stepped on” with poisons such as strychnine. Heroin can be a white, brown, or dark brown powder, or it can be in the form of a sticky substance called black tar.
Detoxification is the process of slowly removing the abused substance from the addicted individual’s body. It is an extremely dangerous process for heroin addicts because, without medication supervision, the symptoms could become fatal. Even if the symptoms aren’t a serious health risk, they can be extremely painful. This is why it is so important to perform heroin detox in a professional setting because the patient is a lot less likely to relapse during the process.
Other opiates are often used to help complete the heroin detox. The most commonly used are Suboxone and Subutex, and they help manage the pain from withdrawal symptoms that a patient may be going through. The detox normally takes about 5 to 7 days, but it can last even longer if the addiction was more severe.
Individuals looking for a way to stop this addiction may feel like they are facing an insurmountable challenge, beginning with the fear of the agonizing withdrawal process and stretching to the worry about how to remain sober. This is why our staff at Free by the Sea is here to step in and ease the negative thoughts that may be running through our patient’s minds. We pride ourselves on being able to provide reliable facilities to complete the detox treatment if needed.
Suboxone and Subutex can both be used in withdrawal and recovery to help an addict quit heroin and remain free of it. The two drugs are slightly different in chemical composition, but both drugs block the effect of heroin on the brain and allow an addict to avoid the suffering that usually comes with withdrawal from opiates.
The main difference between the two drugs is that Suboxone contains naloxone, which protects the patient from misusing the drug. Subutex is often used when treatment begins, while Suboxone is generally used when the patient has reached the maintenance stage of treatment. When they are used in conjunction with a treatment plan, both Suboxone and Subutex can help a heroin addict manage withdrawal symptoms and begin to experience a sober life.
Suboxone and Subutex are currently the only FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of opioid addiction. The active ingredient in both drugs is buprenorphine. While buprenorphine is also an opioid, its effects are not as severe as the ones associated with heroin. Because of this, it is used to help minimize the pain of withdrawal.
Without the help of Suboxone and Subutex, it is very difficult for someone experiencing withdrawal symptoms from heroin to cope with the pain that they bring. Both substances are key factors in allowing the addict to be slowly weaned off of the substance. Otherwise, their bodies could possibly go into shock from the absence of heroin and shut down completely.
Withdrawing from heroin is dreaded by users who know it can cause extreme physical discomfort. The onset of withdrawal symptoms may begin after just a few hours, but it is more common for them to start somewhere between 24 and 48 hours after the last use. Mental function is impaired, breathing is weakened, and the patient may experience various physical symptoms when withdrawing from heroin.
Completing heroin detox is an extremely honorable feat that most patients believe they will not be able to do when initially starting treatment. We understand how important this process is because the confidence this gives our patients will ultimately set them up for success in other therapies once they have been transferred back to our treatment center at Free by the Sea.
When you choose Free by the Sea for rehabilitation, you are choosing a staff that will treat you with dignity and respect. Our licensed therapists, chemical dependency professionals, and educators work with our patients to get to the root of their addictions like possible past trauma, coexisting disorders, and environmental factors. We also provide recreational therapy, an excellent meal plan, and a relaxing environment, so our patients can get the most out of being at our facility.
While outpatient treatment is offered, we encourage most of our heroin addiction patients to be enrolled in our long-term inpatient level of care because of how easy it is to relapse on the substance. We monitor our residents 24 hours a day to ensure that they stay on the path to a full recovery after completing their detox. We are also able to treat coexisting mental disorders through our dual-diagnosis program if needed.
By providing many different types of therapy, we hope to appeal to a large demographic. We focus on helping our patients relearn valuable life skills and coping mechanisms to help them develop healthier habits.
Once inpatient treatment has been completed, we often recommend going through our intensive outpatient program afterward. This program is designed to help our clients make a clean transition back into their everyday lives, and unlike a lot of other facilities, our staff maintains contact with our clients after they have completed their time in our programs.
Our beautiful campus is located on 5 acres of beachfront property in Ocean Park, WA. We strive to provide a safe and relaxing environment for our patient’s mental and physical wellbeing, so they can make a full recovery from their heroin addiction.
The consequences of heroin addiction ripple outward to affect far more people than just the user. Heroin addiction can take a terrible toll on your relationship with family and friends, your job, and possible future opportunities. Although it is one of the most addictive substances, there is hope for your heroin addiction.
Free by the Sea, a recovery center in the state of Washington that is recognized for its compassionate drug and alcohol treatment programs, is here to help you relearn how to live a healthy, non-addicted life. If you are ready to start a new chapter that is addiction-free, contact Free by the Sea for information about our programs and how you can be placed into a heroin detox center to start your recovery process. Give us the chance to help you break away from the prison of heroin addiction and regain control of your life.
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.