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Information On Heroin Detox In Canada

Heroin is a highly addictive synthetic opiate and is made from morphine, a natural substance from the poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a brown or white powder, or as a black sticky substance, known as black tar heroin. Heroin can be injected, smoked or snorted. All of these methods can immediately lead to a person being heroin-addicted. When heroin enters the body, it is turned into morphine and immediately starts affecting specific parts of the brain. More specifically it can affect the parts of the brain that control breathing, blood pressure and arousal. An overdose involves the suppression of respiration. That is why there are heroin detox centers to help someone with heroin addiction.

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Adverse Side Effects of Heroin

Heroin can be associated with many different serious health problems, which is what makes the withdrawal and detoxification from heroin so difficult. People who inject the drug are very likely to contract an infectious disease, such as HIV, Aids or hepatitis Definition of the word hepatitis C. Chronic users can develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, and pneumonia. Street heroin often contains toxic contaminants or additives that can clog blood vessels leading to permanent damage to vital organs.

Chronic use of heroin will lead to physical dependence and tolerance to the drug, which will lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. These detox symptoms can take effect within a few hours of the user's last use. The following symptoms can take place:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes
  • Involuntary muscle spasms

The majority of these detox symptoms will peak at about 48 to 72 hours after the last dose. Heroin detox can typically last about one week, depending on the individual’s tolerance and amount being used. Heroin detox is not as life-threatening as alcohol or barbiturate detoxification, but a person in poor health who drastically stops using heroin can be at risk of death.

Detox Methods

Heroin detox is typically medically supervised and assisted, depending on the severity of the individual's heroin addiction. This is normally the first step to get a person detoxed off of heroin. The next step is going to a heroin rehab center.

Heroin Addiction Withdrawal

Most drug rehab, drug treatment, and detox centers are equipped to handle a person withdrawing from heroin. A heroin addiction withdrawal can be painful for the addict and can last between 7 to 14 days, depending on how much was used, length of time and frequency of use.

Typical withdrawal symptoms will occur within 6 to 24 hours after a person has stopped using heroin. The degree of the symptoms will fluctuate from user to user, depending on how much was used and how often. The user’s tolerance for the drug will also determine the severity of their withdrawal symptoms. It is important for the individual to be in a heroin detox facility while undergoing the drug's withdrawal.

The following symptoms will take place:

  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feelings of heaviness
  • Cramps in the limbs
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle and bone aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Restless leg syndrome

Many users will complain of a painful condition called itchy blood. This problem will cause the user to scratch themselves compulsively, which will cause the skin to break, creating scabs. These scabs can, later on, get infected and cause further health risks for the person.

The sudden termination of heroin consumption can cause dangerous health problems; however, when monitored properly in a heroin detox facility, the individual does not normally experience life-threatening situations.

Properly staffed heroin drug rehabilitation programs that have effective detox methods can handle a person withdrawing off of heroin.

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Sylvain Fournier

Sylvain Fournier | Bio

Across Canada, there are many different treatment options to choose from, private, government-funded, inpatient, and outpatient. See More