If you or someone you love suffers from addiction to heroin, you are not alone. Heroin is just one of the drugs fueling the current opioid addiction epidemic across the United States. That means there are millions of people around the world that struggle with heroin addiction throughout the United States and the world.
According to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2016, approximately 948,000 American reported using heroin in the last year.1
While these alarming numbers continue to rise despite efforts by the government to curb the importation of this drug into our country, they provide a picture of the magnitude of heroin use. And for those struggling with addiction to the drug, the access to rehab is crucial for saving lives. In response to the heroin epidemic, rehab centers around the country have ramped up their efforts to offer revolutionary programs that can wean addicts off this terrible drug once and for all. The best part is that successful heroin rehabilitation is on the rise.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
Heroin addiction, also known as heroin abuse disorder, responds to a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. Both approaches can bring a sense of normalcy in to the life of the person struggling. Using one or the other can provide some relief, but statistics show that using both simultaneously greatly increases the chances of treatment success.2 The three types of medications most often used to treat heroin addiction include the following:
Methadone is a slow-acting opioid agonist taken orally that it reaches the brain slowly and dampens the “high” that occurs with other kinds of heroin administration and prevents withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is only available through outpatient treatment programs and is dispensed on a daily basis.
Buprenophine is a partial opioid agonist the relieves drug cravings without producing the “high” or dangerous side effects of other opioids. Suboxone® is a novel formulation of buprenorphine that is taken orally or sublingually and contains naloxone (an opioid antagonist) to prevent attempts to get high by injecting the medication.
If a person with a heroin use disorder were to inject Suboxone, the naloxone would induce withdrawal symptoms, which are averted when taken orally as prescribed. FDA approved buprenorphine in 2002, making it the first medication eligible to be prescribed by certified physicians through the Drug Addiction Treatment Act.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that blocks the action of opioids and is not addictive or sedating and does not produce physical dependence. Patient often have trouble complying with this treatment compared to the others available which has limited its success. This drug is administered once a month by a physician.2
These medications, along with a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency therapy in an inpatient or outpatient treatment program provide hope and help for those struggling with heroin addiction.
Heroin Treatment Programs
There are two primary forms of treatment for those who are addicted to heroin. One of the most common is outpatient heroin rehab. Keep in mind that such programs can be effective, but they rely on the commitment of the heroin addict and the belief that they can break become from addiction.
Outpatient programs typically last 30, 60 or 90 days depending on insurance coverage and are a good option for those needing to stay at home for rehab treatment due to jobs or family responsibilities.
Inpatient treatment is considered the best for heroin addiction because it removes the person struggling from surroundings associated with drug use. Inpatient treatment also gives the patient a chance to fully focus on getting well with few distractions from the outside. Inpatient treatment programs typically last 30, 60 or 90 days, but some programs can last up to one year depending on the severity of the addiction and the needs of the individual. Admissions coordinators can help you or your loved one understand your insurance coverage and available benefits.
No matter which option you choose, success heroin treatment usually begins with some form of medically supervised detox. Detox gives the body the chance to rid itself of the toxins of the drug in a safe way. In the case of heroin treatment, it’s also when the medications for heroin treatment are introduced for the first time.
Addiction Treatment Statistics
No matter the type of addiction, substance abuse treatment programs are there to help people address the problems associated with drug use. Whether through counseling, medication or support groups, the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 3.6 million adults aged 18 or older received some form of substance abuse in the prior year.
That includes about 624,00 young adults and 3 million adults aged 26 or older. The places people received treatment included hospitals, emergency rooms, mental health centers, rehab facilities, private doctor’s offices, prison, 12-step programs or other support groups.
These numbers confirm that treatment for heroin addiction is available and being used by many people throughout the United States.
Finding Help for Heroin Addiction
If you or a loved one struggles with heroin addiction, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options. You are not alone. Call us now.
1 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What Is the Scope of Heroin Use in the United States?” NIDA, June 2018.
2 “What Are the Treatments for Heroin Use Disorder?” National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, June 2018.
3 Eunice Park Lee, Rachel N. Lipari, and Sarra L. Hedden; RTI International: Larry A. Kroutil and Jeremy D. Porter. “Receipt of Services for Substance Use and Mental Health Issues among Adults: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” NSDUH Data Review, SAMHSA, Sept. 2017.