“Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Heroin can enter the body by snorting, sniffing, or smoking — but shooting the drug through an IV heroin creates the strongest, and potentially deadliest, effects on the human mind and body.
Main Causes of Drug Abuse
The NIDA defines addiction as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain–they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.” Although, why do people become addicted to these drugs in the first place? There are many factors that lead to substance abuse which we will examine here:
- To cope with life — individuals may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult situations that arise in their lives. If somebody has just lost a loved one, went through a divorce, or lost their job, they might turn to harmful substances to fill the void in their lives. If people are suffering from mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with these problems.
- Home and family — a child’s home and family environment can drastically affect the outcomes of their lives as they grow up. If a family member has had a drug or alcohol problem. NIDA for Teens states that “children whose parents abuse alcohol and drugs are more likely to have behavioral problems, which increases the risk of trying alcohol or drugs. They are also exposed to more opportunities to try these substances.”
- Biological drug abuse factors — “Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction; this includes the effects of environmental factors on the function and expression of a person’s genes. A person’s stage of development and other medical conditions they may have are also factors. Adolescents and people with mental disorders are at greater risk of drug abuse and addiction than the general population,” according to the NIDA.
- Not intentionally becoming addicted — some people may form an addiction to a drug that they were prescribed to by a doctor for serious medical purposes. The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) stated that an estimated 2.4 million Americans in the past year have used prescription drugs non-medically for the first time (which is about 6,600 per day).
John’s IV Heroin Story
A man named John, from Lafayette, Indiana was interviewed by Journal & Courier about his experience with IV Heroin:
“My addiction started when I had surgery when I was 19 years old. I got a prescription called Hydrocodone, also known as Lortab. I had three refills of that — they were 1,000 milligrams each, known on the streets as “tens.” Once I ran out of those, I developed an addiction, and I was withdrawing, so I had to go on the street to find something that would make me feel better. I then started off with something called Roxy, also known as Roxycone, they make 15 milligrams, 30 milligrams, and I think even tens. Then I went up another level with was Oxycontin.
“Then, once you build an addiction throughout time, the next step would be heroin. And then when they went to heroin, normally you start out snorting. After time, just like anything else, you build a tolerance. After snorting for so long, then you went to shooting. That was about a five-year process before I started using the needle. Once I started using the needle, that’s when everything went downhill for me, extremely, extremely fast.”
“Addiction does not discriminate at all; There’s rich, poor, black, white, it just does not discriminate. And for me personally, when I finally went to rehab for the fourth or fifth time is when I really started to realize why things were happening and why this leads to where it leads to. And it’s not uncommon at all; people suffer through this every day. So for me getting off of this, it’s going to NA [Narcotics Anonymous], having a sponsor; classes are free, sponsors are free, you just need to find a way to get help.”
“The number one thing that I would say is finding a group of people who have the same ambitions in life as you do, and that’s staying clean. But in order to get to that place, you have to stop hanging around the people that you used to because that’s just a trigger all in itself. Finding a new group, going to classes, and finding a sponsor, and the number one thing: being willing to quit, because who wants to wake up every morning feeling just absolutely miserable?”
Raquel’s IV Herion Story
A woman named Raquel, from East Boston was featured in The Boston Globe about her battle with heroin addiction.
“The odds are against her. She hangs out with junkies, counting many as friends. She is bipolar and severely overweight. She has no job, no teeth, no degree beyond the GED she earned in prison. She gets by on Section 8, food stamps, and disability checks for mental illness. Her dealer, a fellow user, is moving into Raquel’s place with his wife because their apartment has no heat.”
“So there will be easy access to what she is so desperately trying to avoid. Drugs have been the one constant in Raquel’s life. Born poor in Chelsea, the daughter of an addict and an alcoholic, Raquel is haunted by memories of sexual abuse and drug use as a child. By 19, she said, she was pregnant and selling crack. “I never wanted to stop using drugs. That’s what my life was,” Raquel said, her voice husky. “I was a junkie, a rundown, a whore.” Between stints in prison for prostitution and drugs, she got pregnant again, and then twice more. Her oldest daughter, now 29, was raised by her grandmother; the next three — a girl and two boys — were relinquished to foster care,” according to The Boston Globe article.
Similarities with IV Heroin Users
Although there are many differences between John’s story and Raquel’s story, we can see that they both experienced some of the factors that could lead to drug abuse that was previously listed. John became addicted because he was originally prescribed medication for his surgery at 19 years old, while Raquel’s environment and social factors lead her to her addiction. Everybody that becomes addicted to drugs, especially IV Heroin, became addicted for a reason.
We need to educate ourselves on the reasons that people become addicted to Heroin in the first place so that we can come up with a more effective prevention plan. Whether we need to do a better job of making sure our loved ones do not become addicted to the medications they were prescribed after a surgery like John or making our communities places of health and happiness like Raquel. It is important to educate ourselves on the causes of addiction so that we can be better prepared for dealing with these situations in the future.
If you or a loved one is addicted to IV Heroin, get help as soon as possible. Call Stop Your Addiction to learn more about interventions, detoxification, treatment, and more. Call today to get started on your journey to long-term sobriety and recovery!