Heroin Addiction Treatment:
Medications and Rehabilitation

Heroin is a psychoactive drug causing a potential for abuse. Over many years, numerous people have been seeking voluntary help through programs for heroin addiction treatment.


Morphine, a naturally occurring chemical derived from opium poppies, is converted into Heroin. Since more than 5,000 years ago, people have grown opium poppies for numerous medical purposes, most famously as an analgesic used to treat pain.

Before it was made illegal in the United States in 1924, it was first synthesized from morphine in 1874 and sold by Bayer, a German pharmaceutical company, as a cough suppressant and “non-addictive” morphine substitute. Heroin is presently categorized as a Schedule I substance, meaning that the federal government has decided it has a high potential for abuse and no currently recognized medical use.

Immediate High of Heroin

People who use heroin claim to feel warmth, comfort, and detachment, with their stress levels decreasing. It has strong sedative and pain-relieving effects, thus, reducing discomfort and pain.

However, the onset of effects and how long they will last depends upon the dosages. It enters the bloodstream rapidly when injected or smoked, causing an immediate rush of euphoria.

Chasing The Black Dragon: Black Tar Heroin

The Mexican states of Durango, Sinaloa, and Sonora produce black tar heroin. Black tar on United States streets has an average purity of about 40%. Black tar has greatly impacted the rise in heroin-related injuries. The signs and symptoms of black tar use are similar to white heroin. The effects heroin has on its abusers include drowsiness, watery nose and mouth, pin-point pupils, diarrhea, and vomiting. Black tar addicts experience additional side effects, including stroke, respiratory suppression, and general health issues. Black dragon or black tar heroin is either smoked or injected.

Short-Term Effects of Heroin

Once heroin reaches the brain, it transforms into morphine and attaches to opioid receptors quickly. It has multiple effects once it converts into Morphine.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin

Repeated abuse of heroin creates permanent changes in the brain, for example:

Is Heroin An Opioid

Yes, heroin is an opioid. It is a highly addictive drug that is a by-product of morphine. Morphine is a natural substance derived from the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. However, heroin belongs to a class of drugs known as opioids because they interact with opioid receptors in the brain and nervous system to produce pain relief and a sense of euphoria.

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Although heroin users usually stop abusing without receiving any formal treatment.

However, heroin addiction treatment is available for those who require assistance.

People who use heroin must go through the physical withdrawal process first. However, this process can cause symptoms like anxiety, sweating, nausea, and diarrhea, among others. Many people may find it challenging to resist the urge to revert during this time and resume using heroin to treat their symptoms.

Heroin relapse becomes fatal because a person’s tolerance for the substance drops suddenly while sober. After phasing out of abstinence, the probability of experiencing severe breathing problems increases.

Medication-Assisted Therapy in Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin Treatment Include:
Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are FDA-approved drugs for use in treating opioid addiction. The way that each of these drugs affects the body varies. Because they have effects on the brain comparable to those of heroin and other opioids, methadone and buprenorphine are referred to as opioid agonist treatments (OAT) or opioid substitution treatments (OST).

Heroin Treatment with Methadone

Methadone is a synthetic, long-acting drug first used in the United States in the 1960s to address drug addiction. It functions similarly to heroin and other addictive drugs, because it is an opioid “agonist,” or agonist.

Methadone does not produce euphoria, sedation, or analgesia when administered correctly during maintenance therapy. Methadone is effective in heroin addiction treatment.

Heroin Treatment with Buprenorphine

When prescribed and administered timely, buprenorphine is an efficient, safe drug that is FDA-approved for heroin addiction. However, just like methadone, buprenorphine blocks the effects of heroin, eliminates withdrawal symptoms, and lowers the urge. It is effective in heroin addiction treatment.

Contrary to methadone, any trained physician may prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction. Buprenorphine, also called Suboxone or Subutex, is typically taken daily as pills that dissolve under the tongue. If a patient swallows this medicine, it does not have an effect.

Suboxone also contains naloxone, an opiate antagonist. When delivered intravenously, suboxone may hasten withdrawal symptoms, in addition to buprenorphine.

Heroin Addiction Treatment with Naltrexone

This drug works by binding to specific opioid receptors in the brain and prevents the euphoric effects of opiate use for about 30 days. In other terms, if a person uses opioids in the month following the injection, it prevents them from experiencing a “high.” Hence, it has shown drastic effects on heroin treatment.

Behavioral Therapy

It is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing behavioral patterns and thoughts. Behavioral therapy helps in heroin addiction treatment. In addition, behavioral therapy can be effective in helping individuals to develop coping skills, improve relationships, and manage stress. Individual groups form to provide behavioral therapy.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of behavioral therapy that focuses on changing patterns of thinking that lead to addictive behaviors. Moreover, CBT can be effective in helping individuals to identify triggers for heroin use, develop coping strategies, and improve problem-solving skills. CBT has been helpful in heroin addiction treatment.

Contingency Management

This program includes rewarding patients for abstinence from heroin use. Contingency management reinforces positive behaviors, improves motivation, and reduces the risk of relapse in heroin users.

12-Step Programs for Addiction Treatment

An aspect of heroin addiction treatment involve 12-step programs, which are self-help programs. These programs have a set of principles that emphasize personal responsibility, spirituality, and social support. 12-step programs promote abstinence, improve coping skills, and reduce the risk of relapse. In addition, 12-step programs are progressive for heroin addiction treatment


Since heroin is an easily available psychoactive drug, people have abused it for ages. Statistics from The National Institute of Drug Abuse show that in 2021 alone, reports 9,173 deaths.

In conclusion, heroin addiction requires immediate treatment to overcome the problem. Successful treatment often involves a combination of medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapies, support groups, and ongoing care and monitoring. In addition, it is possible to overcome heroin addiction and live a healthy life with the proper treatment and support. It’s also important for society to continue to address the root causes of addiction and to provide education, resources, and support to individuals and families impacted by addiction.