Heroin, a Killer By The Thousands

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

The opioid epidemic is killing people by the thousands every year throughout Florida. It reaches all the way from Broward county to expand into the whole entire world. The crisis that is killing so many in Florida, throughout the United States of America and as the World Health Organization shows, throughout the whole world. 118 thousand people dying due to opioid related matters in 160 thousand is a jaw dropping 74% of the people who died due to a drug related incidents in 2016 who succumbed to death because of opioids.

 

Opioids are a real threat to humanity. For a long time the most commonly talked about, and one of the most dangerous, was heroin. It was a popular drug to start using after prescription opioids lost their luster due to an the way opioids skyrocket someone’s tolerance. After a while someone taking a prescription opioid, especially in cases where the person is misusing the prescription by taking more than they are supposed to or taking them more frequently than they are supposed to be taken will plateau with the medication, meaning the person’s tolerance will outgrow the medication potency.

Opioids are tenacious and brutal in their addictive qualities and withdrawal symptoms, and because a large amount of people who are addicted to opioids suffer from a dual diagnosis or co-occurring mental illness, it is virtually impossible to recover from heroin addiction without seeking help. But because there is such shame attached to the disease, and because mental health disorders and addiction feed one another, people who suffer from heroin addiction, especially those with a dual diagnosis, all too often do not seek treatment, or are unable to get it for whatever reason be it socioeconomic or availability.

Hundreds of thousands of people die every year because of lack of heroin drug treatment. Broward county drug rehab facilities are equipped to deal with heroin addiction and are increasingly affordable to the masses as insurances begin to cover more costs of substance abuse treatment. Florida residents who are suffering from an addiction to heroin should call 1st Step Behavioral Health to learn more about the programs available to help treat physiological addiction as well as psychological drug or alcohol addiction.  

 

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a narcotic analgesic in the opioid family. That means it is a drug that alters the mental state of the person taking it while it works to lessen pain. Usually the drug comes in a brown to white colored powder that people ingest either by snorting, consuming orally, smoking, or mixing with water to inject into the veins. Heroin therefore comes with complications not just from the drug itself but from the way in which the drug is taken. If injected into the veins it can come with a side effect of collapsing veins or blocking the blood vessel, smoking it can lead to a deterioration of pulmonary tissues, and snorting it can cause respiratory issues. Along with the risks of the way the drug is consumed,there is the possible danger of what the drug is composed of. Heroin is often cut by the drug dealer in order to make the drug stretch, therefore making more money from the stash. Heroin that is cut with more additives is less white and lends itself toward the more off white to brown coloration. Consequently, if the drug is cut with something the effects of the opioid will in fact be less potent. This however does not take away any of the danger because heroin is often cut with truly terrifying substances. Some more alarming than others, however, all there to accompany heroin which in and of itself is a brutal killer.

 

Heroin is usually cut with:

  • Talcum powder
  • Rat poison
  • Baking soda
  • Caffeine
  • Flour
  • Fentanyl
  • Laundry Detergent

 

You would think that being frequently cut with substances such as rat poison, laundry detergent, etc would be enough reason for this drug to stop being of interest to the drug scene, however it is still responsible for a substantial number of deaths every year.

 

Heroin vs. Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a true super villain of the opioid family, killing enormous amounts of people every year. It is really lapping heroin in the news these days as far as the opioid epidemic goes. Fentanyl is so scary that the United States Department Justice Department created and sent out an informational video telling first responders just how to react and manage in the face of a fentanyl exposure. Some first responders have come into contact with the drug on an emergency scene due to an overdose or a crime scene in which the drug played a part. Some of those respondents complained of symptoms or side effects from the exposure such as tingling, and respiratory issues. One group of prison guards and inmates were admitted to the hospital after they breathed in an airborne combination of heroin and fentanyl.

 

Fentanyl is even more deadly and potent than heroin and was recently used for the first time in carrying out one of the first government sanctioned death sentences in the state of Nebraska. Not only was it the first time Fentanyl was used for this purpose but it was the first death sentence carried out in Nebraska for years. There has been a lot of controversy over the last decade about how deaths are carried out in states that still allow the death penalty concerning the drugs used for lethal injection. Fentanyl appears to have quelled those concerns – at least in that state. The power of the drug is shown in its effortless effectiveness in this matter. And that power is especially disconcerting when you take into consideration that fentanyl was originally developed for the purpose of getting rid of someone’s pain. It certainly should not be doing that by also getting rid of the user’s life as well. 

 

Even though Fentanyl is having its time in the spotlight, heroin is still in the background with fatal overdose numbers continuing to be devastating. And as prescriptions for opioid painkillers trend upward it is almost sure that the world will see heroin’s fatal overdose numbers climb as well.

 

Treatment is The Only Hope

At 1st Step Behavioral Health we offer a comfortable setting. When a patient’s everyday needs are taken care of and they have no need to worry over the stressors of everyday life, they are more able to focus on their drug or alcohol addiction recovery. 1st Step also employs a talented and experienced group of licensed medical professionals and qualified therapists to work with a patient as they overcome chemical dependency on a substance during medical detox and then throughout rehabilitation as they learn the life skills necessary to start a new way of living.

 

Unlike many other modern rehabilitation centers found throughout the country and especially here in Florida, 1st Step Behavioral Health uses only the most effective methods for ending addictions to all manner of substances and a variety of behaviors.

We will work closely with you to determine the best course of action regarding ending your addiction to drugs or alcohol through a customized rehab program whether it be intensive inpatient addiction control with residential detox or outpatient care with occasional group meetings and cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. We’re ready to help you quit the moment you’re ready to quit. Call us today to see what programs can help you break free from substance abuse.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.