How long to detox from heroin cut with exotic designer opioids?
Clandestine drug labs and street dealers are mixing in fentanyl, gray death, pink heroin, and other deadly synthetic opioids into street heroin. These designer opioids trigger a potent release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing a euphoric rush that lasts for hours.
After crashing from hours of repeated heroin use, the user experiences anhedonia, withdrawal symptoms, and intense cravings. Additionally, the risk of respiratory depression, overdose, and death are higher with the blend of heroin with synthetic opioids.
You can quit heroin now.
You can quit heroin in an instant. All you need to do is make the decision that you are no longer a heroin user. It is that easy.
Once you have made that decision, the next step is to get medical help. Quitting heroin is easy. Staying quit can be difficult without proper medical treatment.
How long does heroin detox take?
The heroin detox process depends on the patient and the detox method. If you do your heroin detox at home, you may be able to start taking prescribed medication within twenty-four hours of your last heroin use. Suboxone doctors make it possible to recover from heroin addiction in your own home.
On the other hand, if you choose to check into an inpatient program for heroin detox, you will be committing to at least 7-10 days of an intense detoxification protocol. To avoid this interruption to your life, Suboxone treatment with a private doctor may be your best option.
What is involved in a successful detox plan?
Heroin is a highly addictive drug and it takes long-term medication-assisted treatment to help you recover from heroin addiction. Suboxone, ZubSolv, Subutex, or Bunavail, can be started within 12-24 hours of your last heroin use, in most cases. These sublingual buprenorphine medications are highly effective.
When you continue with Suboxone treatment, your cravings will be minimal. Opioid withdrawal syndrome will not typically be a problem during treatment.
Ideally, treatment should be continued for one to two years, or longer. During this time, your medication dosage can be tapered, reducing it gradually. Tapering your Suboxone therapy should be done slowly and carefully to avoid any disruptions to your life.
Why is heroin so addictive?
What makes heroin so addicting that it takes over a year of medical treatment to overcome the addiction? To understand the addictive potential of heroin, it helps to know what heroin is made of.
Heroin is made from opium, extracted from pods of the opium poppy. The resin that seeps from the seedpod dried and scraped to make opium, which is used to make heroin. Heroin, extracted and refined from opium, is a close relative of morphine, but it is four times more potent than morphine.
Opium itself is an addictive drug, being responsible for opioid epidemics throughout history. In modern times, in the midst of the war on drugs, drug labs around the world continue to make more potent and dangerous opioids.
What are the symptoms of heroin use?
The most dangerous symptom of heroin use is slowed breathing and respiratory depression. When a heroin user takes a toxic dose of heroin, their breathing slows down, possibly leading to severe hypoxia and death.
Other symptoms include sleepiness, fatigue, and constipation. Generalized itching can also be a symptom for many heroin users.
Are there signs to look for when someone might be using heroin?
Pinpoint pupils are a sign of opioid use. In addition to looking for pinpoint pupils, also look to see if the person is unusually sleepy. You may also want to look for bruising, scarring, and other skin marks, such as tracks that follow the path of a vein. Check the arms, hands, legs, and feet.
Heroin users will often find unusual places to inject that might not be as noticeable, though the arms are the most used region. Someone who always wears long sleeve shirts may be covering up bruising and scarring from intravenous heroin use.
If you ask the heroin user to submit to a drug test, heroin will show up on a urine test for days, and on hair follicle tests for months. Often, the drug test will only confirm what you already suspect. When getting someone drug tested for heroin, be certain to use a test that includes fentanyl as one of the test panels.
What are heroin overdose symptoms?
If you come across someone who is unconscious, or about to lose consciousness, they may be overdosing on heroin. Or, if you find someone who is unresponsive and not breathing, or they have very shallow breathing, it is very possible that they are a heroin overdose victim.
If someone in your home is using heroin, or if you happen to be with a friend who is using heroin in your presence, you may notice signs that an overdose is about to occur. When a heroin user starts to nod off, as if they are falling asleep suddenly, and if their breathing becomes slower and more shallow, they could be on the verge of an opioid overdose.
What is the best way to handle a heroin overdose?
In today’s world, where the streets are flooded with opioids, combined with conveniences, such as social media, smartphones, the dark web, and Uber, heroin is all too easy to obtain. You might be surprised who is using heroin around you as you go about your daily activities.
It is possible for a person to function in their home life and at their job while using heroin until their addiction progresses to a point where things get out of control. At some point, addictive behavior and the effects of regular heroin use spill over into work and home life.
Today’s heroin user is not necessarily a homeless person shooting up in a dark back alley. It could be a waitress, electrician, plumber, truck driver, doctor, or lawyer. A member of any profession, regardless of the dangers and risks involved, might be using heroin. It is a habit that seems, to the user, to be manageable, until it is not.
Because of the widespread use of heroin, which is nearly always contaminated with synthetic opioids with unpredictable potency, we should all consider carrying naloxone with us and keeping it at home as well. Having naloxone available can make the difference between life and death for an overdose victim.
Naloxone is an opioid overdose reversal drug.
Naloxone, sold as Narcan, is a rescue drug. It is used by paramedics, police, and emergency physicians to save the lives of heroin overdose victims. Narcan is part of a collection of life-saving tools known as harm reduction.
If you have naloxone nasal spray or the injectable form of naloxone, you can make use of it if you encounter someone overdosing on heroin. Of course, it is critical that you also call 911 or have a bystander make the call for you.
Naloxone is short acting and may wear off before the heroin wears off. The overdose victim may go back into an overdose state within a short time. You can give more naloxone, if you have it, but you should make certain that emergency services have been alerted.
Be aware that some of the exotic designer opioid street drugs are naloxone-resistant. While naloxone may still work to revive patients from overdoses with these drugs, you may have to give multiple doses for it to be effective.
What are signs of heroin addiction in terms of paraphernalia that I might find lying around?
Are you concerned that someone close to you might be using heroin? Besides looking for physical signs of heroin use, you might also look for telltale items in their car, bedroom, home, or workspace.
If they are smoking heroin on tin foil, known as “chasing the dragon,” you may find burnt pieces of foil and a straw together. Or, if they are snorting heroin powder, you may find traces of white or off-white powder, and possibly cut off pieces of a drinking straw.
Keep in mind that there are multiple ways that people use heroin. The classic method of injecting heroin intravenously is not the most common way that the drug is used now. Don’t expect to find a cigar box with an old-fashioned stainless steel syringe with rubber tubing.
However, you may find plastic syringes and needles. If you happen to find a very small syringe, like the type used by people with diabetes for injecting insulin, it could be heroin paraphernalia. One place to check is in the garbage, in plastic laundry detergent bottles. These heavy duty plastic bottles are often used to dispose of syringes and needles safely and discreetly.
If you are on the beach, keep an eye out for syringes with needles in the sand. There have been an increase in reports of heroin needles being found on beaches. You may want to wear thick shoes or sandals as extra protection. One accidental needle stick will necessitate a trip to the hospital and possibly months of treatment for possible HIV exposure.
How long does it take to get off heroin and feel completely normal again?
If you are quitting heroin and determined to go the abstinence-only route, you may be in for a long and difficult recovery process. Because of the difficulty of getting through the prolonged withdrawal syndrome, your risk of relapse will be high.
While this does not mean that it is impossible to detox from heroin without medical treatment, it is not advisable. If you do choose to quit heroin cold turkey and skip the medication-assisted treatment, it is recommended that you get deeply involved in a recovery support program.
Narcotics Anonymous is an excellent resource for people who choose to go the abstinence route, refusing to take treatment medications. However, if you do choose to take this path of recovery, it is important to immerse yourself in the program, working the steps with a qualified sponsor, attending daily meetings, and following all other aspects of the 12-step program. Sitting in the back of the room for an occasional meeting is not going to help.
If you quit heroin cold turkey and decide to wait it out, the severity of withdrawal symptoms will peak at about 72 hours. At this point, you will probably have had symptoms such as abdominal cramps, nausea, watering eyes, runny nose, sweats, chills, frequent yawning, muscle and bone aches, and muscle spasms.
You will also likely have restlessness, agitation, goosebumps, fatigue, depression, and intense drug cravings. Along with the upset stomach and abdominal cramps, you may also have vomiting and diarrhea.
The drug cravings are one of the worst symptoms.
Cravings include overwhelming, insidious thoughts that persistently lead you back to the idea that getting more heroin makes perfect sense. The thoughts and conviction of this belief can be very intense. It is almost physically painful to resist these thoughts.
After a period of several days to even several weeks, the acute withdrawal symptoms will gradually wear off and you will start to feel normal. However, some heroin users continue with what is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. PAWS may include recurring symptoms, such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, cold chills, and heroin cravings.
In some cases, symptoms can persist on and off for many months. For people who choose to avoid medication-assisted treatment, the support of a recovery network of close friends in recovery is essential.
They say in recovery groups, such as AA and NA, that staying at the center of the program is critical for success. You can think of this as if you are in a herd of gazelles and you want to avoid being picked off by a hunting cheetah. Staying at the center of the herd is the safest place, and not at the fringes.
Staying at the center of a recovery program means getting involved fully. Beyond the self-exploration that you may do with a sponsor, it will also help to get involved in group service. Even on your first day in such a program, they have service positions, such as setting up the chairs and greeting people at the door.
Will nutrition and supplements help with heroin addiction treatment?
Whether you choose to overcome heroin addiction in an abstinence-only program, or in one of the highly successful MAT Suboxone clinic programs, nutrition will play a key role in your success and in feeling your best as you recover.
You may want to speak to your doctor, nurse, or nutritionist about healthy nutrition. Vitamins, minerals, whole grains, high fiber and leafy vegetables are important. Protein is also highly important as part of your daily diet.
Additionally, you may want to consider amino acid supplements to help replenish depleted neurotransmitters. This is especially helpful in the early days of recovery. L-tyrosine is an example of an amino acid that is used by the human body to help replenish multiple neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.
Restoring brain chemistry to a more normal balance will help you to feel better and experience less intense withdrawal symptoms. These supplements are available in most health food and nutrition stores. There are even special supplements formulated for addiction recovery support.
What is the best heroin addiction treatment of all?
Because we are all different, there is no one-size-fits-all perfect solution that will work best for everyone. That being said, medication-assisted treatment generally has the highest rate of success in treating heroin and fentanyl addiction.
Fentanyl, by the way, is a common synthetic opioid that is now being used as a heroin replacement on the streets. Many heroin users do not even realize that their heroin is really pure fentanyl.
If you are addicted to fentanyl or heroin, MAT with methadone or Suboxone is likely your best choice. Suboxone doctors have the advantage of being able to prescribe Suboxone for up to a month at a time. Your lifestyle will not be interrupted by daily morning visits to the methadone clinic if you choose to go to a private Suboxone doctor.
Additionally, you may be able to see a Suboxone telemedicine doctor over a video telehealth visit for treatment. With the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, telehealth has become an important tool in making medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder accessible.
If you are considering quitting heroin and you are concerned about how long it takes to detox from heroin, I recommend talking to your doctor about medication-assisted treatment with Suboxone, ZubSolv, or Bunavail. You will only have to experience heroin withdrawal for a short period of time. After starting treatment, you will soon feel like yourself again and you will be able to return to your life activities at home and work with minimal interruptions.