How To Spot A Possible Heroin User

Heroin is an extremely dangerous and addictive illicit drug. It can come in many forms and goes by many different names but it often comes in a fine white, brown, or black powder. Another popular form of heroin is black tar heroin, and as the name implies, it looks like black tar and is sticky and gooey. Heroin is an opioid that was originally derived from the seeds of the poppy plant. It has been used by millions across the globe for some time now but it has recently grown in popularity in America, particularly in the last decade. According to data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 170,000 began using heroin for the first time in 2016, a number that had doubled since 2006. Even worse, data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018 shows that 128 people die in the United States every day from an overdose on opioids.

A possible heroin user will likely have an addiction that is difficult to treat

An addiction to heroin can be particularly difficult to overcome, especially considering it often leads to death via unwanted overdoses. A lot of times heroin on the street is cut with harmful chemicals, including substances like fentanyl. Unfortunately, fentanyl has become a favorite among dealers as it is particularly powerful, around 100 times stronger than morphine, and it’s also cheap. This is part of the reason as to why there are so many overdoses associated with heroin and the use of other opioids. That is why it is extremely important to get help for your loved one if you believe they might be suffering from a heroin addiction or other type of substance use disorder. If you are unsure whether or not they are a possible heroin user, then here are some tell-tale signs that they are using heroin.

How to spot a possible heroin user:

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Of course, these are just a few of the signs that someone you know may be a potential heroin user. They may also display things like slurred speech, memory problems and a reduced sense of pain. Their pupils may appear constricted and they may also have a constant runny nose or nose sores if they are prone to snorting the substance. If you are still unsure, then please reach out to us for help! We have many trained professionals with years of experience on treating, managing, and helping people cope with heroin use and other addictions. We have the tools necessary to help begin a successful road to a lifetime of healthy sobriety. We hope that your loved one gets the help that they need and we hope to hear from you soon!

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What is the Difference Between Norco, Heroin, and Fentanyl?

Drug and alcohol addiction is a very serious problem in our country today, even more so with the current pandemic that has struck the world. It is estimated that nearly 21 million Americans struggle with a substance abuse problem of some kind. The current Covid-19 pandemic has recently caused a lot of issues with substance use, including devastating impacts to sobriety and recovery for many people. However, what many may not know is that there is an epidemic that has been hitting our country pretty hard for several years and that is the opioid crisis. The opioid crisis, also known as the opioid epidemic, is in part to the overprescribing of addictive painkillers, like Norco that eventually lead to people buying drugs on the street, such as heroin, fentanyl, or even other prescription drugs. This is especially true if they are no longer able to obtain them through legal channels, like a prescription from their doctor.

Opioids are a class of drugs that are naturally found in the opium poppy plant and target the opioid receptors in the brain to produce effects very similar to morphine. Many opioid medications work by blocking pain signals to the brain. Even though there are many different opioids, Norcos, heroin, and fentanyl are some of the most popular substances that are commonly abused by people who suffer from an addiction or substance abuse problem. With so many different opioid drugs on the market, it is easy to be confused about the differences between them, so here is a brief explanation of Norcos, heroin, and fentanyl.

Norco prescription painkillers are very addictive

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Norco is a prescription painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain but can also become very addictive. Norcos are made with a combination of acetaminophen (over the counter pain reliever) and hydrocodone (a synthetic opioid). Like many opioid painkillers, this drug works by altering the perception of pain by targeting certain opioid receptors in the brain. Norcos are also very similar to another prescription painkiller known as Vicodin, the only difference between them is the ratio of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Both of these prescription painkillers are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and are considered a Schedule II drug.

The danger with Norco or Vicodin is the potential to become addictive if there is chronic or persistent pain involved. Over time, people are likely to develop a tolerance and physical dependence to the drug, needing to take more and more each time to feel the same effects. A lot of time this leads people to trying “harder” drugs in order to achieve the desired effects, or even to avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms. Some common side effects of Norco are:

Heroin addiction can result from a dependence on prescription painkillers

Heroin is a highly dangerous and illicit substance. It is derived from morphine, which is made from the naturally occurring opioid poppy plant. Heroin can come in many different forms, the most common are in the form of white powder, brown powder, or a sticky black substance known as black tar heroin. The danger with heroin is that it is made illegally with no real way to test the strength of the product, unlike Norcos which come highly regulated. This has the potential to cause a lot more overdoses and a higher chance of addiction as most of the time the substance is a lot stronger than prescription painkillers.

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Some people eventually turn to abusing heroin after their dependence to painkillers has grown strong enough to the point where they need something else in order to feel the desired effect. Heroin is also classified as a schedule I drug, meaning that there is no valid medical purpose for the substance. A lot of times this drug is cut or mixed with other dangerous and cheaper chemicals in order to maximize profits and cut costs for the dealer. Some common side effects of heroin include:

The dangers of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful, dangerous, and highly addictive opioid painkiller. It is very similar to morphine but is estimated to be anywhere around 50-100 times stronger, making this one of the most powerful opioid substances on the market. The effects of fentanyl are activated at a much lower level than other opioids, making this an extreme danger to those who are not aware of its strength. When people use this drug nonmedically, they are at a very high risk of overdose because it can be anywhere from 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Unfortunately, many dealers dilute their heroin with fentanyl in order to increase their drug’s potency and their own profits. This is because it takes very little to produce the same effects as other drugs. The problem with that is unsuspecting users may ingest more fentanyl than intended because they are not expecting to ingest this dangerous chemical. Dealers have even been known to use fentanyl in MDMA, cocaine, and methamphetamine, causing a lot of unfortunate and unintended overdoses that would not have happened if it weren't for fentanyl unknowingly being there. Some common side effects of this dangerous chemical are:

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All of these drugs listed above are very dangerous and addictive. They can all destroy your life if you let it. We know that there are times when you need to take painkillers, but that doesn't mean you have to end up addicted to the high for the rest of your life.

If you or a loved one are struggling with any sort of opioid addiction, or an addiction to any other drugs or alcohol, then we are here to help! We know how difficult that getting off of drugs can be, but your comfort is our main concern. We are medically-equipped to take care of all of your needs during and after detox. We want to help show you the way to a happy, healthy life without drugs or alcohol.

Call us today at More Than Rehab so we can start a personalized plan just for you:

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What are Tiny Spoons Used for in the Drug World?

Tiny spoons often prove to be a curious find for parents, friends or family members who stumble upon their loved one’s “secret stash” of drug paraphernalia. The internet is littered with questions like: what are these tiny spoons with a bunch of white powder? Or why are the bottoms of all of my spoons black? The simple answer here is drug culture in the United States.

The short answer to these questions is that very small spoons can be placed under the nose for easy, sometimes discreet snorting of drugs through the nasal cavity. Typically, larger, bent metal spoons with burn marks on the bottom is clear evidence that someone has used the spoon to inject drugs via intravenous (IV) needles. We’ll go into more depth on the different types of drug paraphernalia that are commonly used in the culture of the drug world.

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Tiny spoons can be used for snorting a variety of drugs.

Tiny spoons can be used for drugs that can be snorted, like cocaine, meth, ecstasy or even heroin. Come to think of it, even prescription drugs like Xanax, opioids like oxycontin or Adderall can be crushed up and then snorted through the sinuses. People who use drugs often like snorting these substances because the psychoactive effects will begin much faster than when these drugs are ingested in pill form.

While the high might come on quicker from snorting drugs, this usually means the effects will also wear-off sooner. In the case of highly addictive drugs like methamphetamine or cocaine, this could compel the user to immediately seek out more of the substance, creating a vicious cycle which can effectively jump-start a mental or physical addiction to the chemical.

The history of an unlikely piece of drug paraphernalia: The McSpoon

If you really want to find out how old your coke dealer is, ask them if they know what a “McSpoon” is. This item was a staple of McDonald’s restaurants throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. The long plastic stick with a small scoop on one end and the infamous golden arches on the top was used to stir cream and sugar into your coffee. But quickly people in the drug culture figured out this small plastic spoon was a good way to snort cocaine. It was an easy way to measure cocaine as well. It reportedly held exactly 100 milligrams of cocaine. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s the term “McSpoon” was used by dealers as a slang term for 100mg of cocaine.

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In the 1970’s, it is estimated that a whopping 11 percent of the adult population in the United States was using cocaine regularly. In 1971 President Richard M. Nixon began the war on drugs with his declaration that drug use was “public enemy number one”. In 1979, the DEA unveiled its Model Drug Paraphernalia Act to help end the sale of common drug utensils, like pipes, rolling papers and coke spoons. Many critics thought these drug paraphernalia definitions were vague and could include just about anything, given the right circumstances.

Smoke shops and various other vendors in the US were opposed to these laws and one member mocked the vague, broad overreach of the law. As a mockery he said: “This is the best cocaine spoon in town and it’s free with every cup of coffee at McDonald’s”.  One person took this joke completely the wrong way. The president for the National Federation of Parent’s for Drug-Free Youth actually got the president of McDonald’s to agree to remove the spoon from all of their over 4,500 restaurants.

Spoons of all sizes can be used for injecting drugs with needles.

Another baffling find for someone who is unaware are their spoons being burnt black on the bottom, or simply their spoons will begin disappearing from the kitchen utensil drawer. Where did they go? If you happen to find black, burnt marks on your metal spoons, they have likely been used to mix a concoction of heroin, meth or other types of illicit or prescription drugs that can be injected with a hypodermic needle.

Once the crystal form of the drug is mixed with water and heated up, the liquid will be injected directly into the bloodstream with an IV needle. You may happen to find cotton balls, or Q-Tips, which are used to filter the concoction before injecting. Often a belt, or rubber hosing could be found along with needles and spoons.

Injecting drugs is incredibly detrimental to a person’s health and safety. Using needles to do drugs is arguably the most dangerous method of using drugs. Hypodermic needles can also lead to a full-fledged addiction at a rapid pace. Since the drug is injected directly into the bloodstream, the effects of the drug kick-in nearly instantaneously. This instant high could lead to a physical dependence and a psychological addiction to the substance before the user even realizes it. Often they won’t notice the addiction until they stop or try to quit using.

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Withdrawal symptoms for all of the drugs people use with tiny spoons are extreme and could be dangerous. Meth, cocaine, heroin and all of the other drugs discussed in this article are highly addictive and in many cases they can be deadly.

If you suspect a loved one is using drugs and ultimately risking their lives for a substance you might want to seek help, before you confront them on the issue. If you feel that the time to confront them about their drug use is right away, please help them understand that help is available.

Addiction does not automatically mean that someone is a bad person.

For many family members, co-workers or close friends, it may difficult to fully understand what they are going through. Attaching a negative stigma or personal judgement on someone who is struggling with substance abuse can ultimately discourage their willingness to change. Many addicts do not seek help for their substance use because they fear the negative judgement from their family, friends or the authorities.

Please call us today if you, or someone you love needs help. We are available 24/7 to take your private, confidential call.

We’re here for you:

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How Much Does Heroin Cost In Texas?

Opioid addiction has increasingly become an epidemic in America in recent history, with many attributing this growing problem to prescription painkillers. These painkillers are being prescribed at a rate. The average price for a single pill of an opioid prescription, like norco or percocets, can run the user anywhere between $8 without insurance to $40 dollars on the street. Since opioids are highly addictive, when people are cut off or run out of their medication, they often turn to the streets for a cheaper alternative. Due to the substance abuse problem with these prescription painkillers, the use of heroin has been widely sold as a cheaper solution. As a result, many users have gotten hooked on the substance after seeing that it also achieves a more intense high.

When looking at the prices of heroin in the United States over the last few years, we have seen it steadily become more cheap and readily available, with the potency levels continuing to rise. Heroin and black tar heroin are illegal substances that mimic the effects of other opiods. They are mainly being trafficked by Mexican drug cartels who smuggle them across the Mexican border and then distribute them illegally throughout American cities, like Texas and Dallas. Due to close proximity with the border, Texas becomes a major hotspot for these cartels to traffic their drugs. Today, more and more often, heroin is being cut with other substances, such as fentanyl (a high strength opioid), in order to drive those prices back up on the street, increasing the profit margin for drug traffickers or other people who are selling heroin.

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While the average price for a “baggie” of heroin can range anywhere between $5-$20 dollars (with many recovered addicts reported having bought 15-20 of these single use bags per day), we must ask ourselves, what is the actual cost of using heroin?

The economic burden America faces when dealing with this categorical problem is estimated to be around 78.5 billion dollars a year due to things like decreased productivity in the workforce, the overwhelming cost of healthcare, addiction rehabilitation treatment costs, and criminal justice involvement. Not only can a heroin addiction have a detrimental impact on the economy, it can wreak havoc on the users finances as well, costing the average addict anywhere between $438 to $1,750 per week.

However, once the addiction to heroin has taken hold, it will not stop to ask the price that anyone is willing to pay, because unfortunately, with many addicts, no price is too high. They do not see the impact their addiction is having on the world around them. An addiction to heroin will take as much as the user is willing to give, which in most cases, can and will be everything. Heroin will not stop at taking your job, your car, your money, your family, your home, your health, your appearance, your friends and in most cases, it will even take your life. Addiction is a powerful disease that will continue to take and take, until either the user has gotten help from a substance abuse treatment program or has died from their disease altogether. 

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Heroin is a high strength, extremely addictive and highly dangerous opioid that it is one of the leading causes of death in America, with Texas being one of the states most heavily impacted by its usage. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people in the United States alone die from an overdose on opioids every single day, with Texas attributing to about 5% of that number. In 2017, Texas had around 2,199 reported deaths related to an opioid overdose, coming in 5th on the list behind states like Florida and New York. 

Addiction from heroin can affect any region, race, and age demographic. Surprisingly enough though, in Texas during the year of 2017, the age group most affected by opioid overdoses were people aged 55 and above, followed by young adults who were aged 25-34. With up to 80% of people who struggle with a prescription painkiller dependency that may turn to heroin, one can not be surprised by these staggering numbers.

In response to this crisis, the US department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been focusing its efforts on these major areas; 

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The National Institute on Health (NIH), a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services, also met with major pharmaceutical companies in 2017 in order to help solve this problem. In these meetings, they discussed alternative methods for the treatment of pain, like non addictive alternatives, ways to prevent opioid misuse, and how to effectively manage opioid abuse disorders or how to avoid altogether.

We hope that in time, with these combined efforts, this problem in America will begin to subside. Until more people are willing to seek help, many will remain affected. With drug overdoses from heroin and other opioids still on the rise, we urge those suffering to reach out for assistance if they are struggling with getting clean or staying sober. No one is safe from becoming a part of this epidemic. 

The time to get clean is today. The longer an addiction is left unchecked the harder it is to overcome. When an addiction is allowed to thrive for an extended period of time, the chance for overdose escalates as the users tolerance begins to increase along with the amount of time being spent on getting high. The one and only lasting cure for any type of drug addiction is to lead a life of sobriety. If you or a loved one are suffering from withdrawal symptoms or are unable to stop taking drugs or alcohol please reach out to More Than Rehab.

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What Drugs Produce the Worst Withdrawal Symptoms?

Addiction is a disease of the brain marked by the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol despite the user having experienced severe negative consequences throughout their lives. Many addicts who are still struggling with an active addiction will stop at nothing to continue getting high and consequences like losing their job, problems with relationships, homelessness or extreme poverty are directly related to their substance abuse disorders. There are many reasons why addiction is considered a disease, one of them being that the habitual use of drugs and alcohol chemically alters the structure of the brain. Drugs and alcohol can change the way people handle stressful situations and it can impact the decision making process of a person suffering from this affliction.

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Drugs and alcohol work on the same part of the brain known as the reward center, causing an increase in the release of chemicals like dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasurable feelings that can occur after naturally rewarding experiences like eating a good meal or having sex. Drugs and alcohol can induce these same pleasurable feelings but without the use of a natural reward. The repeated use of drugs and alcohol begins to create new pathways in the brain, causing the user to associate the response as a pleasurable experience, making the brain depend on the extra release of these chemicals. Once the addiction has taken hold, the users tolerance starts to increase as the body forms a chemical dependency, needing more and more of the same substance in order to achieve the same feeling.

When an addict is unable to maintain the same level of usage or tries to quit using drugs or alcohol altogether, they may begin to suffer from what are known as withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms occur when a person who routinely abuses drugs or alcohol suddenly stops. Since drugs and alcohol suppress some of the chemicals naturally produced in the brain while increasing the release of others, there is often a surge of emotions and physical symptoms when the body is no longer receiving the chemical that has now altered its structure. The first stage of withdrawal is known as the acute stage where most of the physical symptoms occur, usually lasting around a few weeks. The second stage of withdrawal is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), since the brain's structure is slowly returning to normal, this is where most of the emotional and psychological dependence symptoms occur.

Due to the dependency on these chemicals, withdrawal symptoms can become very severe, and a medical detox is often required. Most drugs have some withdrawal symptoms associated with them once the user has become addicted but some are more dangerous than others.

Alcohol

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Alcohol can cause severe withdrawal symptoms for both men and women.

Alcohol has a depressive effect on the system, slowing down brain function and changing the way nerves send messages back and forth. When a body becomes adjusted to having alcohol in its system, it has to fight even harder in order to maintain a wakened state. When the user stops drinking alcohol,  the body remains in this heightened state, therefore creating the withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include;

Delirium tremens (DT) are more severe withdrawal symptoms that will affect about 5% of people when withdrawing from alcohol, these include delusions and hallucinations. The worst of these symptoms will occur around 12 hours after taking the last drink while seizures can last for around 2 days. Some of these medical conditions can even cause death while attempting to detox from alcohol.

Heroin

Heroin is a highly addictive opiod that is converted to morphine in the body when used. Heroin, or other opioids like fentanyl or oxycodone, are difficult drugs to quit as the withdrawal symptoms often cause the user to become violently ill, most addicts continue getting high in order to avoid getting sick. Some of the symptoms associated with heroin withdrawal include;

Symptoms from heroin withdrawal can begin anywhere from 6-12 hours of quitting and can last for about a week. Death has been known to occur during detox from heroin or other opioids when other medical issues are present.

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Methamphetamines

Methamphetamines, meth, or crystal meth is a drug with powerful stimulating effects. The effects of meth wear off quickly, causing the user to need more in order to stay high. With increased tolerance, comes withdrawal symptoms, as the body begins to depend on these substances. Symptoms of withdrawal from meth can include;

When a person stops using meth, there is often a “crash” associated with coming down. This can begin around 1-2 days after the person has stopped using and typically reaches its peak around 5 days. Depression is also a trademark of methamphetamine withdrawal.

Quitting “cold turkey” (quitting drugs or alcohol suddenly with no medical or professional help) can be very dangerous. The addiction to drugs or alcohol has chemically altered the way the brain operates and can have very serious side effects when a person suddenly stops using them. Since addiction is a disease with many symptoms, affecting each person in a unique way, it is always suggested that anyone who has formed a chemical dependency to drugs or alcohol seek professional help in order to determine whether a medical detox is necessary.

An addiction treatment center with a medical detox program will allow the user to safely manage and alleviate the heavy detox symptoms that may be experienced when first quitting drugs or alcohol. Many who have tried quitting “cold turkey” on their own have had little to no success as they are improperly managing their symptoms. The purpose of a medical detox is to get the person safely through the acute withdrawal stage, where most of the physical symptoms occur. Maintaining sobriety long term in the post-acute withdrawal stage will require ongoing effort as the psychological symptoms, like depression and learning how to cope without the use of drugs or alcohol, begin to surface. Many inpatient and outpatient drug rehabilitation programs offer the essential tools and education needed in order to lead a life of sobriety.

If you or someone you know are struggling with managing their drug cravings and the withdrawal symptoms associated with the addiction, we are here for you. Even if  you or your loved one are just looking for a place to start, then we are here to help steer you down the right path! Give us a call anytime. We are here for you 24/7:

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What are the Dangers of Using Needles for Drugs?

Although most addictions begin with less direct approaches to drug use, like snorting or smoking drugs, many people who experiment with injecting drugs through needles can develop or strengthen their addictions much sooner.

What is intravenous drug use?

Intravenous (IV) drug use is simply the action of injecting a liquefied substance into the bloodstream directly through a vein with the use of a syringe and needle. When people inject drugs into their system, the result is a rapid and heightened high. Injecting drugs can take as little as 5-10 seconds to feel the effects of the drug. Due to the instantaneous high achieved with intravenous drug use, dependency and addiction can develop rapidly, both physically and psychologically.

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Most drugs can be injected using needles, with the exception of marijuana. The most commonly injected drugs are heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, opioid painkillers, barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Typically, a user of these substances does not begin by injecting them. As a user’s dependence and tolerance increases from ingestion or smoking the drug, they may turn to injecting the drug to produce more prominent effects and to feel the high much sooner. When someone begins using drugs intravenously, very few consider the dangerous potential for physical and psychological damage that can occur from IV drug use.

The dangerous consequences of using needles for drugs.

Using a needle to inject drugs can cause numerous health problems for the drug user. These problems range from cardiovascular diseases, infections, scarring and abscesses to other, more deadly consequences like HIV/AIDS and increased likelihood for a drug overdose death.

Intravenous drug use can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and can cause veins to completely collapse over time, rendering the vein permanently useless. Repeated trauma at the injection site will cause blood clots to develop in the vein, which will seal the sides of the vein together, causing a complete collapse.

Drug overdoses and death are common for intravenous drug users. When you are injecting drugs into your body, you are sending the substance directly into the bloodstream, which accelerates the drug from entering the blood-brain barrier. For instance, when you inject a drug it can take anywhere from 5 to thirty seconds to feel the effects. If you were snorting the exact same drug, it could take up to 5 minutes to feel an effect.  It is much easier for an IV drug user to overdose as they end up taking more drugs than their bodies can handle. Often times this happens so fast, the user doesn’t even realize they have taken too much, before it is too late.

If you ever suspect someone is overdosing on drugs, it is important to call 911 immediately, as a drug overdose is a medical emergency.

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Getting immediate help for someone who has overdosed on drugs could save their lives. In the case of heroin or opioid abuse, Narcan® or naloxone is an opioid overdose reversing agent. Many emergency medical technicians (EMTs), police and fire departments carry naloxone with them at all times. It is also available in 46 states as an over the counter medication. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which can immediately reverse the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose. Even if you have administered naloxone to someone who was experiencing an overdose, it is still highly recommended to call 911 as the effects of the drugs injected could outlast the effects of the naloxone.

Drug overdoses kill over 200 Americans every single day in the United States, according to the CDC. IV drug use greatly increases the risk for a potentially fatal drug overdose. In addition to a potentially deadly drug overdose, intravenous drug use also carries a long-term risk for a variety of infectious diseases.

Infectious disease risks are increased by sharing needles with other drug users.

Sharing needles with other people can greatly increase the likelihood of exposure to infectious diseases like HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Sadly, many who suffer from a substance use disorder do not take the necessary safety precautions when injecting drugs. HIV is such a high risk for IV drug users because the virus can remain in a used needle for up to 42 days, depending on temperature and other factors.

In an effort to decrease the spread of disease, many localities and charitable organizations have set up needle exchange programs across the United States. These programs aim at not only encouraging people to use sterilized needles to prevent the spread of diseases, but they also aim to reduce the negative stigma associated with drug abuse. Many people who have a substance abuse problem or have become addicted to drugs are afraid to report diseases and other health complications due to the negative stigma associated with their lifestyle. This arguably makes the scourge of drug abuse in America much worse as people become too afraid to ask for help.

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What is Fentanyl?

What Is Fentanyl And Why Is It So Deadly?

As the opioid crisis wages on and a record number of people are dying each and every day from drug overdoses, fentanyl is making news headlines. It is popping up in all sorts of illicit street drugs from heroin, LSD, cocaine, Xanax and even synthetic marijuana aka: spice or K2. Fentanyl is extremely deadly; just a few grains of salt sized dose can be lethal for an adult human being. While fentanyl is extremely potent, it also has a short duration high, so most addicts have to continually re-dose multiple times a day just to support their habit. This is a dangerous combination and the abuse of fentanyl is driving increase of overdose deaths in the United States today.

It is estimated that nearly 72,000 people in the United States died from a drug overdose in 2017. That’s close to 200 people each and every day. – Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

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The opioid crisis arguably began in the late 1990’s, with pharmaceutical companies advertising new opioids that were supposedly non-habit forming. American doctors began prescribing these drugs en masse, including OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. While big pharma companies were making record profits, they were also creating a new class of drug addicts. This affected all types of people: young, old, rich and the poor. No segment of society has been immune from the effects of the opioid epidemic.

As the government and the medical industry began limiting prescriptions and access to these drugs, a dangerous black-market began to emerge in every corner of America. People began turning to dangerous street drugs like heroin because the withdrawal symptoms from opiates are so painful, they literally cause the user to feel uncomfortably sick. For the drug dealers, heroin is difficult to produce and transport so many saw an economic advantage of pushing a new, more potent drug on our streets: fentanyl.

Since it is so potent (and street drugs are not regulated, nor rarely tested) a tiny error in the production process in a clandestine lab can cause more overdoses and more deaths. This is why you will see one city having multiple overdoses in a few hours or a few days as the result of a ‘bad batch’ showing up in that market. Making matters worse, many who are not even trying to do opioids end up getting fentanyl in other drugs like cocaine, LSD or spice.  Drugs that are not at all like opioids but the dealers put it in there to increase perceived potency and increase their profits. The black market is a major problem and people are dying as a result of drug dealers, gangsters and crime syndicates trying to make money on America’s streets.

Our addiction problem is not going away overnight. There have been many theories on ways to approach this massive public health issue. The most likely on to succeed is increased access and resources for effective addiction treatment and rehab programs. Many simply lack the access or funds to attend a private facility. Also, many government-run facilities have a long waiting list where many die waiting to receive treatment for their substance abuse disorder. As the drugs become more and more potent, the crisis will only get worse and more Americans will die day after day.

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Emergency preparedness is an important thing most people could do to lessen the chances of an overdose death occurring. Having a Nalaxone kit available can easily save someone’s life. This drug counters the opioid receptors in the brain and can reverse a drug overdose long enough for emergency services to arrive at the scene. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction there are many ways you can help.

Call us now to speak with and addiction specialist at More Than Rehab.

888-249-2191