Heroin Addiction Treatment: Heroin Addiction Treatment Success Rates, Types of Treatment, and Statistics.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that around 4.2 million people over the age of twelve have experimented with heroin at some point during their lifetimes. Around one-fourth of people who try heroin develop a crippling addiction to the substance, and there are around 900,000 chronic heroin users in the United States. Heroin is a difficult drug to overcome, but heroin addiction treatment is the first step towards recovery. Several types of treatments can be undertaken to successfully overcome a heroin habit, although heroin addiction treatment success rates vary widely by treatment center or clinic.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin, informally known as smack, horse, H, and black tar, is a sticky brown, black, or white powder that is made from morphine, a substance found naturally in the Asian poppy plant. Heroin users mix the substance with water and inject it into their bodies with a syringe. Heroin can also be snorted up the nose or smoked in a pipe. No matter which route is used to get it into the body, the substance is very addictive.
Why Is Heroin Addictive?
To understand heroin addiction treatment, it is important to understand how heroin affects the brain. When heroin enters the brain, it devolves from its current state back into morphine. Morphine binds to the receptors in the brain that are involved in the perception of pain and reward—opioid receptors. This action causes a sense of euphoria to engulf the user. When the drug wears off, the feeling goes away. It is this longing for the euphoric state induced by heroin that makes it so addictive. This state is described by addicts as a feeling of happiness and well-being. When the body adapts to the presence of the drug, the user will experience symptoms of withdrawal until more of the drug is used.
Many users don’t realize that they have a problem with heroin dependence until they go into withdrawal. Withdrawal from heroin can include bone pain, muscle pain, restlessness, cold flashes, vomiting, and diarrhea. When no heroin is available, users will have severe cravings for it accompanied by symptoms of withdrawal. If you develop an uncontrollable desire for the drug, find it hard to stop using heroin, or continue to use it even though it is causes harm, you may suffer from addiction.
Most heroin addicts realize that they cannot kick the habit on their own, because addiction to opioids is a disease in much the same way diabetes is a disease. Several heroin addiction treatment options can help the heroin addict return to a healthy, normal life. These medications are not used on their own to overcome addiction but are offered in conjunction with counseling and a support network of friends or family when possible. Medications can be given as an inpatient or outpatient treatment, and the type of program that is used can have a big impact on completion and success. When it comes to heroin addiction treatment success rates, as part of an outpatient treatment, medication therapy has a 35 percent completion rate, while the completion rate for a residential program was as high as 65 percent, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Buprenorphine, which is sometimes referred to by its brand names, including Subutex, Zubsolv, or Probuphine, is a popular type of medication that is used to treat heroin addiction. While this medication does not make the user feel high, it tricks the brain into thinking that it is receiving heroin. This keeps symptoms of withdrawal away while reducing cravings for the drug. Another similar medication is Suboxone, which contains not only buprenorphine but also naloxone. Naloxone is an ingredient that will cause symptoms of withdrawal once the drug is injected into the system. This drug is usually taken once daily, or even every other day.
Methadone, also known as Dolophine or Methadose, is a long-acting opioid-agonist medication that is taken orally to dampen the high normally felt by heroin users, because it reaches the brain slowly. Methadone clinics dispense daily doses of the drug to participants. This is an effective medication for managing and overcoming heroin addiction and is often recommended for patients who cannot tolerate other medication-based treatments. Research has shown that this type of medication-assisted treatment for heroin addiction is more effective when combined with a group or individual counseling plan.
Naltrexone, also known as Revia or Depade, is an opioid antagonist that is sometimes preferred over other medication options because it is not addictive and does not act as a sedative or cause physical dependence. Naltrexone is also used for patients who are unable to tolerate an agonist program.
Proven Results with Medication-Based Therapy
In a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in the “New England Journal of Medicine,” it was shown that each of these medication-assisted therapies were effective, at least to some extent, in countering heroin use. There was little difference in the treatment outcomes of those taking high-dose methadone or burprenorphine, with heroin addiction treatment success rates ranging from 72.7 percent for those in the methadone group to 20 percent for those patients on a low-dose of methadone. Those taking burprenorphine and high-dose methadone saw nearly the same outcomes. Overall among all groups, the rate of heroin use decreased by around 90 percent after treatment was started.
Which Heroin Addiction Treatment Works Best?
An addiction counselor or your doctor can be instrumental in helping you determine which heroin addiction treatment option is the best for you and your particular situation. Regardless of which option you choose, statistics show that overcoming heroin addiction is easier when the condition is approached as a chronic disease and treated with both medication and counseling. Having a good support system in place during heroin addiction treatment is also important, including support from family and friends who understand what you’re going through.
Heroin Addiction Treatment Centers
Nearly every drug treatment center can assist with heroin addiction. Typically, it starts with a medically-supervised detoxification.
Bayside Marin, a San-Francisco area drug treatment facility, explains why heroin detox is so difficult without professional assistance:
“One of the reasons that heroin addiction can be so difficult to overcome is that attempting to stop using can result in the rapid onset of painful withdrawal symptoms. Cramping, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and several other quite unpleasant symptoms can occur within just a few hours after a person’s last dose of heroin. The pain of withdrawal, combined with powerful cravings for heroin, can overcome even the strongest desire to stop using the drug.”
During a medically-supervised detoxification, the addict may be given other drugs to reduce the symptoms and, in extreme cases, may find themselves being knocked out with sedatives so that their body is able to get through the symptoms.
The success rates with medical detox are very high. By helping the addict get through with minimal pain, constant psychological guidance, and the strong support team that a drug treatment facility can offer, an addict has an opportunity to overcome this difficult and deadly addiction.
For more statistics on substance abuse you can read 11 Drug & Alcohol Substance Abuse Statistics
Thank you for your comments and your article it is very informative. My loved one has been addicted for four years out of our six year relationship. I love him dearly and try to support and be here for him, but I feel that he needs to go to a rehab. He has made several attempts to getting clean on his own and it works for a couple of days but in a week he is back on it. I just feel it is getting harder for him to get clean and I feel helpless not being able to help. I do agree that if you are trying to get clean you should also give up the alcohol – we have missed several gatherings and feel that we are being isolated from everyone else because of his addiction. I just hope he realize the importance for him and his health to go to treatment before something worse happens.
I got clean from chronic intravenous heroin and crack addiction in the rooms of a 12 step fellowship called cocaine anonymous. If I can do it anyone can. Of myself I’ve no chance but by walking out that spiritual program of action laid out to me through CA I have overcome, thanks be to God. My family love Cocaine Anonymous and they haven’t even been there ?
Thanks for your comment. We wish you and your loved one all the best.
i was helplessly addicted to oxycontin and heroin for 5 years ,everday , very high dosage as i sold dope and money wasnt a prob. i went to detox,succesfully, and stayed clean at the most 30 days before full blown relapse…so i turned to methadone as my last resort as my life had spiraled outta control and i had lost everything, and everyone. i have stayed 100 percent clean for the past 6 years while on methadone, you pretty much have to as you are piss tested but psycologicaly and physicly it is IMMPOSSIBLE to get high on opiates while you are on a high dose of methadone as the m done fills your opiate receptors in your brain making it immposible for the effects of other opiates to be felt. methadone and methadone only saved my life,and continues to. i have to pick it up from the pharm weekly as i have good repor with the dr so call that a hassle if you will but id much rather be dependent on methadone than addicted to heroin. methadone does not get you high,,,,at all, this enables me to live a normal life, work, and live a chaos free life. so ppl are right when they say methadone is harder than heroin to get off of,but my answer to that is …why would i want to get of methadone? its keeping me clean,and in fact keeping me alive. i guess what im saying is if you are an opiate addict ,methadone is a great resource to get your life together, dont be scared off by the stigma that it carries, they are myths . methadone has no unpleasant side effects ,is safe and has kept me 100 percent clean for 6 years, if you can handle going to the doc once a month, peeing in a cup, and picking your meds up weekly then methadone can save your life…it did mine.
I’m talking to YOU Intuitive Alpha!
You should be banned, dipsh!t. I’m a veteran with a chronic disability. I’ve had surgery, and there’s no more surgical option. I have a nerve root being crushed by compounded scar tissue which leaves me in crippling pain every minute of the day. Methadone is a godsend. So you shut your filthy mouth. Short acting pain medicines are a roller coaster ride I want no part of. Methadone is a long acting opiate painkiller. Thousands of legitimate chronic pain patients like me depend on it to function. So you junkies can go inject yourself to death for all I care, but you shut your filthy mouth saying dumb sh!t like “methadone should be banned”. Stupidity should be banned, beginning with YOU.
don’t be fooled methadone is barbaric, and should be banned, its many times more difficult, to get off than heroin, and creates huge illnesses and loss of fitness health and mental state for many people, and a large amount of people will never get off it..
Yes I agree! I was a methadone addict first without ever even trying heroine then later intravenous heroin and crack. I was on methadone 11 years by far harder to get off than heroin! Most addicts will still take both and 9 times out of ten will end up with another addiction. The withdrawal is a million times worse and last months. Instead of the 5 to 7-day withdrawal from heroin. But then it was invented by Hitler. I am one of the lucky ones 15 years strong but there is a huge amount of people who will never be free of such a horrendous drug!
Suboxone will not get someone high if they are a user. It will help them stop using whatever drug they’re using without being sick, and they will have a functional day without having to get high. (I know people that take suboxone.) Most people get suboxone to take if they can’t get the drug they want so they won’t be sick.
You need stop enabling him. That’s it. Approach the situation without emotion. Do you want an addict living in your house? Are you willing to sacrifice your, and your family’s, well-being? What message are you sending to the rest of your kids or family, if you condone this behavior?
Of course he’s happy being an addict, because: 1) he doesn’t know how to live otherwise; and 2) he’s comfortable, probably because those who care for him are helping him. Sadly, you’re just helping him slowly dig his own grave. He’ll never change unless you force him to change.
The suboxone/methadone programs are garbage. It is like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. It’s the easy way out for him. It gets everyone off of his back. The government promotes these programs to keep the deaths and violence down. They are designed by doctors, who are not addicts. It’s like me trying to explain to you what it’s like to be a woman. I can do endless research, experiments, get a sex change, but I will never truly understand it like you do. Same thing is happening here.
Your son is not using drugs because he’s stupid. He just doesn’t know how to deal with life, society, and mostly himself. He needs to detox and rehab. But he has to want to. Otherwise, it’s pointless.
So, 1st Step: Ask him if he wants to get help. If he says “No,” you tell him that you can no longer support an addict. Kick him out, cut him off, etc. Set a Date! Give him a week or two, because you love him. DO NOT WAIVER. He will go for the weakest chain in the family. He WILL manipulate and scheme. He will succeed unless you have everyone on board. Guaranteed.
Step 2: Give him an option. He is leaving, PERIOD. You are willing to help him deal with the problem, pay for rehab, detox, w/e.
Step 3: He will realize you are serious, unless you waiver or show weakness. Ignore the crying, the begging, whatever. This is not your son. For all intensive purposes, he is a broken product. He needs to be sent away to be “fixed” (“rehabilitated”). You will be cold and calculating.
Step 4: Send him away. The center will help you from there.
P.S. I have been in his shoes and gone through this myself.
Well said. I have been a recovering addict for the past 34 years and I cannot believe what I am seeing out there in the medical field. They are calling it medicated assisted treatment but those that have been in recovery for a while call in medication replacement treatment. I have not seen anyone in my area that has started on the program get off the medication and actually deal with the feelings that kept them using. In some cases I have actually seen people start using heroin just so it will be in there system so that they can get on the medications. No it does not get you “high” but it does numb you to the point where you can function. And if you get off the meds all the problems are still there and the withdrawal is horrific. I have witnessed hundreds of people in my county of less than 30k people in the past 7 years since all the treatment centers in the state have been forced to use medicated assisted treatment. Someone said above that you cannot get high on heroin if you are on suboxone, that is pure bull! I have help people in my arms as they died!
you are a retard.
Lots of users just want an easy death. Tough love is basically just gravedigging. Take their drug and they’ll just stop eating or evolve their risktaking via other means.
I IV’d for 2 years and never stole or pawned a thing, so maybe your just a peice of shit, but not all of us are.
My 20 year old son is an addict. No one else in our family (which is large) is a user, so we’re not sure what the attraction was….. maybe his friends? I have set him up with an addition counselor who would like him to see a psychiatrist to prescribe Suboxone. He is currently on probation for possession and is supposed to see his PO regularly and do random UAs in addition to the counseling. Since this began his usage has gotten worse. Here are my questions…. I hope someone can help/answer them for me: 1. Will suboxone work if his heart is not into quitting, or will he just get high via a different drug? 2. Is there an ‘event’ that must occur in order for him to realize that just ignoring his PO and random UAs will land him in jail (or will it?) 3. Is there a chance that we (his family) can help him if he is still pretty happy being an addict but says otherwise to placate us? Not looking for a miracle here, but maybe some insight would be nice. Thanks….
Suboxone will not get someone high if they are a user. It will help them stop using whatever drug they’re using without being sick, and they will have a functional day without having to get high. (I know people that take suboxone.) Most people get suboxone to take if they can’t get the drug they want so they won’t be sick. I’m not sure if it will work for a person if they aren’t willing to quit because it isn’t going to give the the feeling that getting high gives them, But if a person is sick from not being able to get the drug they want then they will surely take suboxone.
I was as hopeless as they come henz 57 and thing I could fit in that rig I could fit my whole life in that rig multiple overdose trips to hospitals detoix (jails institutions and death) I could go on and on about all the bottoms I hit but at the end of the day I learned that I was the problem my thinking and every thing else had to change in didn’t no how to live with out drugs but the drugs where killing me it got to the point where the pain of change was less then the pain of remain the same I went to detox for the hundredth time after three day of not eating and puking not even being able to drink water they sent me to.the.hospital where I then went on temparay dialysis could have been permanent I got lucky all my organs had shut down from all the abuses I put my self thro but being in that hospital. I had time to reflect on what was really improtant to me my old sponsor from aa came and seen me almost every day and I had a few others bring me books and prayer exc from aa I relized these are my friends the people who care about me not the people I was getting hight with I started prayer to what I don’t even no but I had faith that something was looking our for me and wanted to help me out from the gates of hell when I left the hospital I continued with pray and I started going to meetings reaching out to sober people working a program of action with a sponsor and a higher power ian not here to preach this work for me iam not here to push religion on any one my higher power is of my own understanding and every one is in tilted to there own beliefs. All I no is the obsession to get hight or do stupid shit has been lifted and some sanity has restored to my life and I have peace and serenity clarity of mind I have a family a job a house and all the things I thought I would never have and now this I a new way of life with out drugs and alcohol and I never been happier who would of thought looking back I. Could be where iam today if I can turn. My life around so. Can u mat we all get this recover and it not for those who need it or even want it it.is.for those.who do it how do I no if iam serious about my recovery then questions is are my actions lining up with what u want to accomplish
Nobody knows how to cure an addict 86% relapse within 6 months, the 12 steps are silly, the ONLY thing that works is the addict making a decision to quit… That simple
That is not true and telling that an addict that doesn’t know any better could kill them.
If you could just “decide” to quit more than 14 people out of 100 would quit. It took me 7 years of trying before I found out what worked for me. God bless you.
Well I got myself well after 15 years of crack and gear.
I did it cold turkey on a boat mid river and I’m still clean and well 6 years now . So it is possible.
Raymond, please see the comment I just posted (rather than re-type it all) ….. any help would be appreciated. Thanks