Beating Heroin Addiction: Drug Dependence Treatments

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Of all of the illegal street drugs that exist, heroin may be one of the worst. It is estimated that at least twenty-three percent of all people aged twelve and up who try heroin will become addicted to it. That is an alarming number when compared to other street drugs and their addiction rates. If you are addicted to heroin and have tried to kick it on your own, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to because of the nature of the drug and the human brain's natural and biological tendencies toward pleasurable and pain-reducing experiences. If you are truly ready to end your addiction, the following four drug dependence treatments involving specific medications can help. 


This drug is a synthetic opioid. It provides the same pain-killing relief associated with morphine, of which heroin is a derivative. However, buprenorphine is far less addictive because it does not bind to the opioid receptors in the brain in the same way that heroin does. Ergo, it is one of a couple of different medications prescribed to heroin addicts to help them wean off of heroin when "going cold turkey" is definitely not a good option.


Methadone is another synthetic opoid used to wean heroin addicts off of heroin. Because it is relatively cheap to produce and provide to clinics, it is a very common and/or popular choice for heroin addiction treatment. Many outpatient addicts who continue with their treatments outside of an inpatient facility can make trips into a local methadone clinic to receive this medication and help them stay clean and sober. Its accessibility may make it easier for you to kick your habit and stay clean after you have spent some time in a treatment facility.


Naltrexone may be used by itself or in conjunction with methadone or buprenorphine during and after your initial treatment. Unlike buprenorphine and methadone, naltrexone actually blocks the opioid recepters in the brain so that opioid medicines have no pleasurable effects on the brain. Without the sensations of euphoria from heroin or other opioids, you may be far less likely to relapse, or if you do relapse in your treatment, you may find that it has little to no effect. Naltrexone may be given as an extended-release injection in a doctor's office or clinic, but depending on your insurance coverage, you may have to try methadone and/or buprenorphine first.


Naloxone is also an opioid blocker, but it has the added effect of reversing overdose symptoms. It may either be used as an emergency cure for an overdose, or in smaller amounts it may be used in a way similar to naltrexone. Because of the paralytic effects that heroin sometimes has on the body, your doctor may prescribe naloxone if you frequently experience a loss of consciousness or ability to breathe when you are in detox in an approved treatment facility.