Heroin addiction has been a serious societal problem for decades, but in recent years heroin addiction has been on the rise, especially in rural areas. Many young lives have been lost due to overdose and crime, and the statistics are frightening for parents, educators, health care professionals, as well as those in the addiction treatment community and law enforcement. The University of Michigan’s “Monitoring the Future” study indicates that even teens in 8th grade are reporting heroin use.
Teens addicted to heroin have more depression symptoms, more anxiety symptoms and a generally poorer concept of self when compared to teens addicted to non-opioid drugs, a new study finds.
Drug cues are a range of internally and externally generated signals that support continued substance intake in a person with a history of substance use. In an individual affected by substance addiction, the presence of these cues helps foster the drug cravings that reinforce an ongoing pattern of uncontrolled substance use. In a study scheduled for publication in 2014 in the journal Addiction Biology, a team of Chinese and American researchers sought to determine if the intensity of the response to drug cues helps predict whether a person recovering from heroin addiction will relapse.
Heroin is the powerful opioid narcotic derived from naturally occurring substances found in the opium poppy. One of the potential consequences of using this drug is a fatal or non-fatal overdose that collapses normal function in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). In a study published in September 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a team of Australian researchers used information from an ongoing project to determine how often long-term heroin users experience a non-fatal overdose. These researchers also identified groups of long-term users most likely to experience such an episode.
Heroin is a narcotic drug made from ingredients found in a plant called the opium poppy. Current figures indicate that over 4 million American teens and adults will use this drug at some point. Almost one-quarter of all users develop a heroin addiction, and any user may also experience a heroin overdose. In a study published in 2013 in the journal Addiction, a Canadian research team assessed the effectiveness of public health campaigns designed to warn heroin users about unusually high-potency forms of the drug in circulation. The members of this team concluded that such campaigns often have no effect and sometimes inadvertently encourage users to seek out high-potency heroin batches that can significantly increase overdose risks.
Researchers in a recent Norwegian study have found that a new treatment using naltrexone implants could significantly help heroin addicts seeking addiction treatment. The most common current treatments for heroin addiction are methadone and Subutex, drugs that are similar to morphine. Although they are both also addictive, they can reduce heroin use and criminal activity among patients.
The New York Times has reported on a rare, but extremely dangerous new trend among heroin addicts in some African cities. Desperate heroin addicts have begun injecting themselves with others’ blood in an attempt to share their high or stave off withdrawal symptoms. Known as “flashblood” or “flushbood,” this shocking practice has become the most risky form of drug sharing that doctors working in the cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Mombasa, Kenya, and the island of Zanzibar have yet encountered among substance users.