Another common addictive drug used in the UK is heroin. During a heroin high, users may feel a sense of warmth and well-being, plus this opiate essentially works as a powerful painkiller. The effects, which slow the body down, can last for hours at a time. Higher doses can make users feel sleepy and the risks of overdosing are quite high. Overdose of heroin can result in a coma or even death – this risk is even greater when mixed with alcohol and other drugs. The effects of the first hit of heroin can bring on dizziness and vomiting.
If taken on a regular basis, tolerance builds and users need to use more and more to get the same effect, but if stopped for just a few days this tolerance rapidly drops – posing a serious risk of overdose on the next occasion of use. Heroin users become highly addicted and physically dependent very quickly due to changes to their brain’s structure, which drive powerful cravings that can lead to a total dependence on the drug. At this point the user will need to take the drug just to feel normal and avoid uncomfortable and stressful withdrawal symptoms, finding themselves trapped in a heroin addiction cycle. Long-term users may become numb to the effects of the drug and unable to feel any pleasure.
The process of taking heroin is very risky since it’s legal status means it is unregulated and therefore impurities are common. Bad batches of heroin can kill, especially when cut with very dangerous and highly-potent opioids like fentanyl. Heroin is often used by injection, although it can also be smoked. The danger of injecting are high and sharing needles puts users at risk of contracting blood borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C.
Heroin is a class A drug in the UK, known for its powerful physical dependence and strong withdrawal effects. Getting off heroin can be especially challenging because of the high risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, these side effects need correct medical management so that medication can be administered to bring some relief, it is important that the detoxification process takes place in a safe environment.
Once the body is completely clear of heroin, patients will need to take part in rehabilitation to prevent relapse and support them to make a full recovery.
For more information on the treatments services offered by Charterhouse Clinic for drug addiction, please visit our drug addiction treatment page.