Are All Heroin Users Junkies?
All too often heroin is portrayed in popular media as a drug that people start out injecting (shooting up) and they’re instantly addicted. The “junkie” portrayal is more dramatic but not very realistic. Heroin is indeed a highly addictive drug, and there are thousands of junkies who need help, but heroin addiction to tends to me more gradual. Perhaps this is what makes it so insidious: at first the heroin user believes getting high isn’t as risky or dangerous as they were lead to believe. They are able to get high at night and function normally the next day.
What could go wrong?
All sorts of things could go wrong…
Typical Heroin Addiction Progression
Users typically start out smoking (sometimes called “chasing the dragon“) or snorting it. In fact many never use it intravenously. The pattern consists of using it as a recreational drug without any measurable consequences but over time their tolerance to the drug builds up which results in the need to consume more in order to maintain the same level of “high”. This is where the addiction begins to kick in. Daily (routine) use plus increased doses is the catalyst for dependency and addiction.
They are able to get high at night and function normally the next day. What could go wrong?
And note we are not trying to portray heroin as safe or without risks. Heroin is highly addictive and the effects to the body over time are dreadful. And even though addiction is not instant, one can overdose and die the very first time they use it. Keep in mind street heroin is often mixed with other potent drugs so the user seldom really knows what is going into their system. The risks are very high and the consequences can be fatal.
How Do Heroin Users End Their Addiction?
The good news is addicts can end their addiction and turn their lives around. Heroin is a powerful drug but people stop using it all the time. It takes an honest desire to stop using and then seeking guidance in the form of treatment and/or support group involvement. We highly recommend the heroin user talk to a medical specialist who is trained in addiction care. Often medically supervised detox is necessary and sometimes inpatient treatment is the best course of action. Withdrawal symptoms can be daunting therefore seek medical assistance.
Watch this video on Heroin Addiction from a heroin user’s perspective to learn more.
Learn the Facts About Opioids and Opiates