Thursday, September 27, 2012

Malnutrition & Heroin Addiction

Many of the dangers associated with heroin addiction do not come directly from the drug itself. Of these, perhaps malnutrition is the most concerning. Though heroin use is not the cause of malnutrition, the drug does affect the appetites of its users. Unfortunately, this appetite loss will often lead to malnutrition.


While malnutrition is not a major concern in the larger scope of heroin addiction, it does work to negatively affect other types of complications surrounding the issue. Disease, infection and rheumatological issues may result from extreme malnutrition, as the lack in food nutrients inhibit the body’s immune system’s ability to maintain itself. As such, infection and disease are free to take over the struggling system.


Malnourished addicts will often appear underweight, with digestive issues and poor complexions. Fatigue and muscle aches are also common.


In addition to its effect on the body’s ability to ward off disease and infection, malnutrition can ultimately pose issue with bodily functions. Hair and body will stop growing, women will stop menstruation, and the risk for tooth decay is heightened.


In an effect to counter the damage caused by malnutrition, physicians will provide nutrient-rich supplements to the individual. However, this alone will not address the issue completely. Addicts will continue living with appetite loss until the drug is removed from their system completely. Relapse will likely result in a return to the malnourished state.


Many people hang on to the belief that malnutrition only affects long-term heroin users. However, studies show that that addicts can in fact suffer from the condition after days without food or consuming foods that lack nutritional value.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oxy To Heroin – A Deadly Transition

When the makers of OxyContin - Purdue Pharma – altered their formula in an attempt to inhibit OxyContin abuse, they had no way of knowing the move would ultimately spawn a radical surge in heroin addiction throughout the U.S. Though OxyContin abuse has decreased substantially over the past couple years, heroin use has all but doubled.

Many law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. are reporting large pockets of heroin use in areas previously unknown to the drug.

In a recent study performed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, over 2,500 individuals in 39 U.S. states where questions about their transitions to heroin use.

Less Oxy Abuse

Of the 2,500 patients questioned, the most common response provided by OxyContin users regarding their switch was, “Because of the decrease availability of Oxycontin, I switched to heroin.”


- Heroin users have doubled from 2010 to 2012
- 30 day OxyContin users dropped from just above 47% to 30%
- OxyContin was listed by 36.6% of patients as their primary drug in 2010
- The percentage dropped below 13% by 2012

Overdose More Likely

In an effort to feed their opioid addictions, OxyContin users unable to access the drug shifted towards more powerful pain drugs, or to heroin. With this development lies the all too real danger that users are much more prone to accidental overdose.


Though the pressure is off Purdue Pharma, the repercussions associated with their changes have ultimately resulted in a mass opioid migration. Paved in good intentions, though it may be… the road we’re on does not appear a shortcut to greener pastures. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Long Term Effects Of Heroin Use

Heroin is a drug made from morphine, a natural substance in the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder. Heroin can be injected, smoked or snorted. Heroin abuse is a serious problem in the United States. Major health problems from heroin include miscarriages, heart infections and death from overdose. People who inject the drug also risk infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Regular use of heroin can lead to tolerance. This means users need more and more drug to have the same effect. At higher doses over time, the body becomes dependent on heroin. If dependent users stop heroin, they have withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes.

Snorting, smoking or injecting heroin just once is bad enough, but using the drug repeatedly over an extended period of time creates a number of serious physical and psychological problems.

One of the most common, and serious, health problems associated with long term heroin use is heart disease.  The drug creates and infections and malfunctions in the areas surrounding the heart which, consequently, can lead to a high incidence of heart failure and pulmonary complications. Especially susceptible are those with a family history of heart disease.

Kidney failure occurs after prolonged stress on the system due to heroin use.  Loss of a function kidney puts the heroin user at greater risk of serious illness or death. Kidney disease is one of the less talked about consequences of heroin use, but remains a great risk for those who use the drug over months and years.

Those who inject heroin into their veins using a syringe need to be VERY careful.  Sharing needles with other users is the quickest way to contract HIV (which can lead to full-blown AIDS) or Hepatitis B or C. This is a very serious problem. Studies have shown that high percentages of HIV and Hepatitis cases come from shared needle use.

Heroin use affects the immune system, and consequently, the body’s ability to fight disease.  Combine that with the generally unhealthy lifestyle of the long term heroin user and you’ve got a breeding ground for serious viral illnesses such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

If you use heroin and want to avoid any of these long term effects, then today is your lucky day.  Above It All Treatment and Recovery Center can set you up on a program designed for you to break your addiction and lead a drug free life.  Contact us today to begin your relapse free recovery.

Monday, September 3, 2012

What Is The Heroin Addiction Rate

The rate of heroin addiction in the general population has always been difficult to gauge. People who use heroin are typically more mobile (thus more difficult to track), may or may not exhibit signs of heroin addiction and due to the illicit nature of their addiction, more apt to lie or omit the truth of their addiction. As a result, nationwide figures tend to underestimate the scope of heroin addiction. Nonetheless, even conservative estimates point to a large and growing problem.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is published each year and offers a conservative yet largely accepted picture of drug use in the U.S. According to the 2009 report, the number of persons who were dependent on or abused heroin jumped from 213,000 in 2007 to 399,000 in 2009.

The 2009 NSDUH also produced statistics indicating that first-time heroin use increased. Between 2002 and 2008, the average annual number of heroin initiates was slightly over 100,000. In 2009 the number increased significantly: 180,000 persons over the age of 12 injected, snorted, smoked or inhaled heroin for the first time. The average age of new users was 25.5, tracking with previous years.

Injection—into a blood vein or muscle—continues to be the most prevalent method for using heroin. Rates of inhalation have fluctuated over the past few years, mirroring the availability of low-cost, high-purity heroin. New and more affluent users continue to favor non-injection routes of administration, but as usage continues, injection, which offers the most potent high and quickest onset, tends to become the preferred method. All routes of administration are equally addictive.

Whether you are a newbie to the world of heroin addiction and a long time user, Above It All Treatment and Recovery Center has a program that is just for you.  We can help you beat that addiction and become drug free to live a long and happy life. Contact us today.