Narcotics, also known as opioids, are a category of drugs that are prescribed to relieve pain. Common narcotics include opium, oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, codeine, and methadone. These narcotic drugs can be considered “gateway drugs,” meaning that narcotics abuse may lead to the use of stronger drugs. Heroin is a stronger narcotic that individuals may be led to, which is extremely addictive and dangerous.
For example, a person using a narcotic drug for a long period of time may not feel its effects anymore, so they will want to switch to a more powerful drug (which could be heroin). According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “A study of young, urban injection drug users interviewed in 2008 and 2009 found that 86 percent had used opioid pain relievers non-medically prior to using heroin.” Heroin is a common drug that people will switch to because of its potency, but it can have detrimental effects on a person’s life.
Are Narcotics Addictive?
Narcotics can become addictive due to the fact that many people form a tolerance to them (meaning it requires a larger dosage with each use to achieve the same effect), which is why they’ll switch to heroin for its strength. Narcotic drugs help individuals feel more relaxed, reduce their anxiety, experience euphoria and excitement, give them hallucinations or psychosis, and make them feel that they need the medication to function properly. Since narcotics allow the individual to finally feel good again, they want to keep that feeling, and the way to do that is to continue their use of the drug.
What Can Cause Narcotics Abuse?
Narcotics produce chemical reactions in the brain that leave many physical and psychological effects on an individual. When narcotics are consumed, they enter the bloodstream, travel to the brain, and attach themselves to the brain cells. When this happens, the chemical dopamine is released, which releases feelings of happiness, pleasure, and satisfaction. This results in a cycle of addiction or narcotics abuse.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is processed from the narcotic morphine. Pure heroin is sold as a white powder, brown powder, or a black sticky substance called “black tar heroin.” Heroin is typically smoked or snorted and it is illegal. When heroin is first consumed, many people feel a “rush” of feelings that include pleasure and euphoria, but over time, heroin may result in the individual not being able to sleep, liver and kidney problems, and mental health issues. Heroin is a highly addictive substance that requires serious medical attention to treat.
How Can I Get Help for Narcotics Abuse or Heroin Addiction?
Detox — instead of abruptly stopping the use of narcotics, detoxing helps the body to “wean off” of the substance to avoid harsh withdrawal symptoms. A person in the detox process will be monitored by medical professionals for support so that the individual is stopping their narcotic intake in a healthy way.
Therapy — one component of the addiction treatment process is detoxing the body from the substance, but it is also important to comprehensively include the mind as well. By integrating techniques such as counseling, group therapy, holistic approaches, nutrition and fitness, and education, the individual will be better equipped to avoid relapse.
Relapse prevention — the skills learned throughout the addiction treatment process will help the individual prevent relapsing. People are taught how to manage their stress, deal with triggers, and cope with life’s obstacles so they do not return to their drug use. Learning life skills is essential for relapse prevention.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a narcotics addiction, narcotics abuse or heroin addiction, get help right away. Call Stop Your Addiction to find the right resources for you.