Heroin Can Kill You in Different Ways

drug rehab columbus OH

Legacy Freedom is the number one outpatient facility for drug rehab Columbus OH services. We wanted to talk to you today about how using heroin, and opiates, can kill you in lots of different ways, and some may surprise you. Check out these numbers. Based on current numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, painkillers actually kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined but heroin is still one of the top killers of illegal drug users even though only one out of ten heroin overdoses ends in death. Based on 2011 stats from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 4 million Americans over the age of 11 had tried heroin at least once and its use is on the rise. 23% of new heroin users will become addicted, but established addicts die more frequently than new users.

How Is Heroin Used?

When users ingest heroin, it is often either smoked, snorted, or injected. When shooting heroin, or injecting, users often mix the drugs with water and then heat it up in a metal container, or old spoon, and then its placed inside a syringe. Injecting heroin into the bloodstream creates almost an immediate, intense high. Smoking, snorting, or eating destroys some of the drug and mutes its effects producing a less intense high. When heroin enters the body it is transformed into morphine, which has a similar chemical structure to endorphins. Endorphins are the chemicals your brain makes when you get stressed out or feel pain, but they make you feel good. The heroin then tricks your brain by pretending to be endorphins and blocking the receptors from reabsorbing these chemicals which creates the high.

How You Die

Most addicts do not die directly from the heroin itself, but from suffocation instead. A heroin overdose makes the user's body actually forget to breathe. Dr. Karen Drexler is the director of the Addiction Psychiatry Residency Training Program as well as an associate professor at Emory University's Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences department. She said that "Heroin makes someone calm and a little bit sleepy, but if you take too much then you can fall asleep, and when you are asleep your respiratory drive shuts down," and that "Usually when you are sleeping, your body naturally remembers to breathe. In the case of a heroin overdose, you fall asleep and essentially your body forgets."

People also die from heroin because of blood pressure problems and kidney and heart infections. While on heroin, your blood pressure can significantly drop and create a cardiac arrest scenario. Heroin can also be made with lots of toxic contaminants that can harm a user. These toxic ingredients can sometimes kill the users.

Heroin addicts also run a higher risk of death from relapse, and after leaving drug treatment, than newer heroin users. Often long-term heroin users that die from overdoses are likely to have heroin levels no higher than regular users. Sometimes this is based on a drop in tolerance levels since recovering addicts do not compensate for the time they spent being clean. Heroin addicts that have been using for 20 or 30 years, or more, have a much larger risk of death from the drug compared to cocaine and meth users. The studies show that 16% of heroin users have died from the drug, compared with 6.5% of cocaine users and 1.5% of meth users.

Holistic Drug Rehab Columbus OH

If you have an heroin addiction, or other substance abuse problem, please call Legacy Freedom and get the help you deserve. Our expert counselors can show you how to live life without a drug problem holding you back. We do not believe in opiate replacement therapy and only use highly successful alternative treatment plans to help you rebuild your coping skills. Call us today and start your journey to sobriety.

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