Why Does Vicodin Lead to Heroin Addiction?

One of the things that can be confusing about addiction and the way it progresses is that there is a link between certain drugs. There are many people who laugh when they hear the term “gateway drug,” but gateway drugs do exist in a certain capacity. Vicodin is one of them. Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs on the market, and Vicodin can absolutely lead the way to heroin abuse. But how does this happen? Here’s a rundown of how Vicodin leads to heroin addiction.



As it turns out, Vicodin is a part of the opioid class of drugs, as is Heroin. Opioids are chemicals that can interface with opioid receptors in the brain, digestive tract, and spinal column. Chemically and medically, they’re used mainly for pain relief, but like other pain relievers and chemicals can be, opioids are addictive. Whether you take something prescribed by a doctor, like OxyContin or Vicodin, or something clearly illegal like heroin, each of these chemicals are opioids, and addict the body in similar ways.


Increasing Tolerance

One thing that is different about the opioids, though, is that each has a different strength. The body has the ability to adapt to chemicals and poisons, decreasing their influence on the body over time through a process called tolerance. While this doesn’t stem off addiction, it does make the body receive less benefit the more a chemical is used, because having that chemical becomes the body’s new normal. So if someone is popping Vicodin pills for their high, it won’t last forever. Eventually, the only way to get a high like before would be to take a stronger drug. Hence, Vicodin can lead the way to heroin, a higher-strength opioid.


If you or someone you know are looking to head off the rock bottom by getting heroin drug treatment, our Broward County addiction facility has plenty of options for detox and rehab. Contact us to learn more.


Increase Your Chances to Successfully Detox

Detoxification is easily one of the hardest parts of breaking free from the grip of addiction. It is facing withdrawal head on and pushing past it, instead of retreating back to the temporary comfort that the addictive substance provides. As such, it is very important to know what you’re up against, and the difficulties involved in beating addiction. While there are various places around the state to detox, Broward County and other southern Florida counties have plenty of resources to make detoxification a success.


Be In A Safe Environment

One of the most critical things in detoxification is being in an environment where the recovering addict is safe. One of the safer places to recover is in a rehab facility, but that won’t be practical for everyone. When we talk about safety, there’s two major things: first, there should be no risk that someone in an addiction can injure themselves, either accidentally or otherwise, and second, there should be little temptation to give up on the detox process. Sometimes, this can involve staying away from their current living situation and detoxing somewhere else.


Have Medical Help Available

While there are options for stay-in detox facilities, for some people this will not be feasible, either for personal reasons or because of waiting lists or distance, or any number of other things. However, just because an addict isn’t able to detox in a medical facility, that doesn’t mean they have to go without medical care. General practitioners, medical clinics, and rehab clinics all have resources available to help people who need medical help in the detox process. The drugs leaving the system will often cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and having medical care will make the symptoms more manageable, will provide experience that knows if the symptoms are potentially dangerous, and will keep a recovering addict safe in case things get really bad.


If you or someone you love is in need of detox in Broward County, please contact First Step today.