Heroin Addiction


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What is Heroin?

Heroin is an illegal drug that is made from morphine, a natural substance extracted from the seed of the opium poppy plant. Heroin is considered an opiate, but delivers a much stronger effect than morphine or opium. Heroin is a highly addictive drug used as an analgesic and recreational drug. It can be snorted, sniffed, smoked, or injected.

In 1898, Bayer, a German pharmaceutical company, was able to produce a drug 1.5 to 2 times stronger than morphine. The head of Bayer’s research department reputedly coined the new name heroin based on the German word “heroisch” which means “strong and heroic.” While they may not have been the first people to make heroin, Bayer was the company that led the commercialization of the drug.

Heroin was first marketed as a non-addictive treatment for tuberculosis and morphine addiction. Ironically, morphine was used to treat opium addiction in the 1850s. When people started to get addicted to morphine, heroin was introduced. It didn’t take long to discover that heroin was even more addictive than morphine.


What are the other names of heroin?

Heroin is also known by the following names:

  • Diacetylmorphine
  • Diacetylmorphine hydrochloride
  • Diagesil
  • Diamorf
  • Diamorphine
  • Heroin hydrochloride
  • Hydrochloride, Diacetylmorphine
  • Hydrochloride, Heroin
  • Min-I-Jet Morphine Sulphate

What are the street names of heroin?

There are many street names for heroin, depending on the area and what it is mixed with.

  • Big H
  • Birdie powder
  • Black
  • Black eagle
  • Black pearl
  • Black stuff
  • Black tar
  • Boy
  • Brown
  • Brown crystal
  • Brown rhine
  • Brown sugar
  • Brown tape
  • Chiba
  • Chieva
  • China white
  • Chiva
  • Dope
  • Dragon
  • H
  • He
  • Hera
  • Hero
  • Heron
  • Herone
  • Horse
  • Junk
  • Mexican brown
  • Mexican horse
  • Mexican mud
  • Mud
  • Number 2
  • Number 3
  • Number 4
  • Number 8
  • Pluto
  • Sack
  • Scag
  • Scat
  • Skag
  • Skunk
  • Smack
  • Snow
  • Snowball
  • Tar
  • White
  • White boy
  • White girl
  • White horse
  • White lady
  • White nurse
  • White stuff
  • Witch hazel

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    Spanish words for the drug include:

    • Bombita
    • Brea
    • Blanco
    • Bonita
    • Caballo
    • Calbo
    • Carga
    • Carne
    • Chapopote
    • Chatarra
    • Chicle
    • Cocofan
    • Gato heroina
    • La buena
    • La chiva
    • Polvo
    • Tecata
    • Tigre
    • Tigre blanco
    • Tigre del norte
    • Vidrio
    • Zoquete

    What does heroin look like?

    Pure heroin looks like a white powder with a bitter taste. It is often mixed or cut with other substances such as starch, sugars, quinine or powdered milk. It can also be brownish in hue.

    Heroin can also appear black, which is popularly referred to as black tar heroin. Black tar can be sticky or hard as coal. The black color is a result of crude processing methods that leaves impurities in the drug. When heroin is not pure, it is usually diluted and injected into the body.

    What is heroin used for?

    Heroin has been used as a recreational drug for many years. Heroin use in the United States has dramatically increased, especially due to the opioid crisis. 80% of new heroin users admit that they started drug use with prescription opioids. When the price of prescription painkillers increased, many opioid addicts switched to heroin, which is a much cheaper and stronger alternative.

    Like other types of opioids, heroin is a painkiller. It is considered a Schedule I drug in the United States, meaning it has no accepted medical use. Historically, it was used to alleviate acute pain including chronic pain, severe physical trauma, post-surgical pain or pain caused by end-stage cancer or terminal illnesses.

    How does heroin work?

    Heroin rapidly enters the brain and binds to the opioid receptors on cells. It activates the release of the neurotransmitter/hormone dopamine, sometimes called “the pleasure hormone.” This is why heroin use, like other opioids, gives a feeling of well-being. Heroin users report a surge of pleasure immediately after taking the drug. However, this pleasure is accompanied by feelings of drowsiness or mental confusion for several hours.

    How strong is heroin?

    Heroin is two to five times stronger than morphine. It enters the bloodstream very quickly, especially when it is snorted or injected, making its effect almost instantaneous.

    Compared to other prescription opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone, the effect of heroin is much stronger. Opioid addicts switch to heroin because they can get a much stronger high at a cheaper cost.

    How does heroin use affect the brain and body?

    Being a strong painkiller, heroin provides similar effects as other opioids, albeit much stronger. Heroin can have different effects on each person depending on the dose and what it is mixed with.

    A small dose of heroin can produce a warm and fuzzy feeling while a larger dose can make you relaxed or feel drowsy. For some people, the first dose of heroin can make them dizzy or cause them to vomit.

    What are the short and long-term effects of heroin?

    Aside from the painkiller effect and feelings of pleasure, there are other short-term and long-term effects associated with heroin use.

    Short-term effects:

    • Dry mouth
    • Severe itching
    • Warm flushing of the skin
    • Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Clouded mental functioning

    Long-term effects:

    • Abscesses
    • Collapsed or clogged veins
    • Constipation and stomach cramping
    • Damaged nasal tissue if the drug is sniffed or snorted
    • Digestive issues
    • Heart or circulatory infections
    • Hypoxia – low oxygen in the blood
    • Infection of the heart lining and valves
    • Insomnia
    • Irregular menstrual cycles for women
    • Liver damage and disease
    • Lung complications, including pneumonia
    • Mental cloudiness or cognitive damage
    • Mental and antisocial personality disorder
    • Sexual dysfunction for men
    • Sleep disorders and fatigue

    How does one get addicted to heroin?

    Because of its powerful effects, heroin is considered a highly addictive drug. Repeated use of heroin can lead to dependence and addiction. The brain and body becomes chemically dependent on the high heroin causes and experiences severe withdrawal symptoms without the drug.

    How long does heroin stay in your system?

    • Saliva test: 5 Hours
    • Blood test: 6 Hours
    • Urine test: 2-7 Days
    • Hair test: 90 Days

    Why is heroin dangerous?

    Heroin is a very dangerous drug because an overdose can lead to respiratory failure, coma, and even death. If it is taken with other drugs or alcohol, the risk of overdose is higher. In recent years, there have been a rise in overdose deaths.

    Another danger is that heroin is being made much stronger than before. While it has always been mixed with other substances to stretch out the supply of the product and squeeze more profits out of users, many heroin manufacturers are now focusing on making the heroin itself stronger. Heroin sold in the streets is often mixed with fentanyl or carfentanil, both very powerful drugs. Fentanyl is fifty times stronger than heroin while carfentanil is a hundred times stronger. Carfentanil is actually used as tranquilizers for large animals like elephants

    What causes a heroin overdose?

    Large doses of heroin can lead to overdose and even death. When you acquire heroin from the streets, you can’t sure of what you’re getting and how strong the effect will be on your body. Furthermore, if the heroin you took was laced with other drugs like fentanyl, it can be so strong that it’ll lead to an instant overdose.

    Regular users of heroin can develop tolerance to the drug. This leads them to seek a higher dose to get the same feeling of euphoria as before.

    What are the signs of heroin overdose?

    When someone is suffering from a heroin overdose, respiratory failure can occur. Breathing can slow down or even stop. Other symptoms include:

    • Blue lips and fingernails
    • Coma
    • Delirium
    • Disorientation
    • Drowsiness
    • Dry mouth
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Tiny pupils
    • Weak pulse and low blood pressure

    How is heroin overdose treated?

    Like other opioid overdose scenarios, a heroin overdose can be treated by administering Naloxene right away. Naloxene blocks the effects of heroin and other opioids. It is available as a nasal spray, injectable, or hand-held auto injector. While Naloxene is a good first-aid treatment, a person experiencing an overdose must be brought to the emergency room for additional medical support.

    What are the withdrawal symptoms from heroin?

    After heroin use, withdrawal symptoms may begin within a few hours, peaking 24 to 48 hours after the last use. These symptoms may last for a week, but some users may continue to experience symptoms months later.

    Withdrawal symptoms may include:

    • Cold Flashes
    • Diarrhea
    • Insomnia
    • Muscle and bone pain
    • Restlessness
    • Vomiting

    If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, seek professional help. Contact Nova Vitae Treatment Center today to learn about safe and effective ways to recover from heroin abuse. We are happy to provide a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced treatment advisors.

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    Step 2
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    Treatment Programs

    10 Week program

    “Inpatient” then means that the patient needs to be admitted to an addiction treatment center for therapy and detox, typically because he/she needs to be closely monitored.

    8 Week program

    Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are treatment programs used to address addictions, depression, eating disorders, or other dependencies that do not require detoxification or round-the-clock supervision.

    6 Week program

    Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD) and can help some people to sustain recovery.

    8 Week program

    Outpatient rehab is a form of alcohol or drug rehabilitation that allows patients to live at home (or in another safe and therapeutic environment, such as sober living)

    6 Week program

    Partial hospitalization provides a structured program of outpatient psychiatric services as an alternative to inpatient psychiatric care.

    8 Week program

    Sober living houses (SLHs) are alcohol and drug free living environments for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs

    6 Week program

    A men’s rehab program is dedicated to helping men overcome drug and alcohol addiction.

    8 Week program

    Through gender-specific treatment, Redemption Addiction Treatment Center helps address key issues and obstacles that women face in their early recovery.

    We Accept Insurance

    Our rehabilition services

    Alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder associated with compulsive alcohol drinking.

    Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior.

    Some people are apprehensive to quit drinking due to withdrawal symptoms, but alcohol detox is the first step in treating alcoholism.

    A dual diagnosis treatment center helps people get treatment for mental illness and an addiction at the same time.

    Home Detox Services for those who would prefer to avoid treatment in a hospital or clinic.

    Mental health programs should include case management, rehabilitation, housing programs, and other support services.

    Our Clients Say About Heroin Addiction

    Based on 26 reviews
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    05:22 25 Oct 23
    Best detox I’ve received. Almost no withdrawals. Finally back to reality.
    Melissa PerezMelissa Perez
    21:49 16 Oct 23
    For the first time my brother completed a program and is now clean!!
    Steven WeisenbergSteven Weisenberg
    08:20 01 Oct 23
    Thank you for saving my brothers life. We had lost all hope after so many attempts to help him. He is now employed and back to being a loving father and husband. Our family will forever be grateful for the motivation you gave him to change his life around. I will recommend you guys to anyone who needs help. God bless you all!
    andrew albarianandrew albarian
    06:03 01 May 22
    Debbie HallesDebbie Halles
    21:56 14 Aug 20
    Nova Vitae saved my life. I have been clean and sober for five months. I took part in inpatient detox at one of their beautiful homes. I continue to participate in outpatient treatment and never, ever have I had a more wonderful experience (above all the others I have tried). Allen and Anna are Godsends to me and others trapped in the beast of addiction. Every Nova staff member I have encountered at Nova has been excellent and they deeply care about their patients’ recovery. They have provided endless support, resources, guidance, and love to get me to where I am today. I am strong and confident in sobriety, which I never thought was possible for me. If you’re ready to get sober, this is the place - Nova VitaeI Pick up that heavy phone and make the call; they will be there for you all the way! From a grateful sober woman and Nova patient, Debbie H.
    Vesper AnghaVesper Angha
    18:59 13 Aug 20
    This center is one of the most amazing I’ve been to, ( and yes I’ve been to MANY) the program director Allen is so easy to get along with and even easier to trust, which is something that is very difficult for me. They stuck by me even when I tried to pull away and fight back and they believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. I would recommend this center over any other center I’ve been too- and that’s a big deal because I DONT write reviews but I felt like this place deserved to be recognized.
    Jordan HodgesJordan Hodges
    19:38 01 Sep 19
    I’ve been in and out of rehab from the age of 16 I was a heroin addict. I thought nothing could help me and no one could save me from this addiction. I was at a point where I just wanted to end my life. On my 22nd birthday I woke up dope sick and just needed some suboxene to get well my mom looked up suboxene clinics and randomly found Nova Vitae it was a weekend nothing else was open. They had me come right in. Checked me out and I met Allen and Anna the owners here. Allen talked to me and everything he said was relatable and for once I felt like I had hope just talking with him, how he was just like me and figured out a way to get sober. They gave me suboxene and told me to come in the following Monday for more but his words and talking with Anna made me realize I wanted to change I told them I’m not gonna make it till Monday I’m gonna use again and the cycle will keep going. They said we have an inpatient and I was reluctant at first but new that I was ready to get sober and over feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. So they took me right to there inpatient. Without even calling my insurance and they didn’t even get a hold of them for a week but Ana and Allen just care about the patients it’s not about money with them like other places. They scholarshipped me for this place. And it was the first place since I was 16 that I’ve stayed the longest in, that I’ve gotten so much out of this program. I’m still sober today and owe it all to them and this place. Nova Vitae means New Life and that’s what I got out of this program was a new life. Right when I was about to give up I randomly found this treatment place and god had a plan for me and it saved my life. I wish I could send all my friends here and people that are still in addiction because I’ve been to probably every rehab in California and even multiple out of state and nothing worked but Nova Vitae!!!! Thank you so much!!!
    Hi FreevlyHi Freevly
    23:26 07 Jan 19
    My brother was struggling with opioid addiction. Our family is forever grateful to Nova Vitae. They helped to literally turned his life around. He’s now over a year completely sober and volunteering to help others suffering from addiction. I highly recommend that if you have a loved one who’s going through this you take immediate action.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Heroin Addiction

    Depending on several factors including physical health, drug of choice, history of use, and other evaluations,… the shortest detoxification program is 3 days. On average, most patients will complete detox in a very short 5-7 days.

    No, our treatments can be completed at our office and at your home, making it easy to adjust around family and work schedules, and to custom tailor a program that meets your needs.

    Yes we do. Your intake coordination will include obtaining your insurance information and verifying eligibility and coverage benefits.

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