Since 2012, 390 people living in the Chicago collar counties (DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will) have died due to heroin use and one person loses their life every three days to heroin. Heroin is a synthesized opioid drug from morphine and can be injected, inhaled or smoked. When heroin is overdosed, an individual’s breathing is typically suppressed, causing hypoxia. Despite the dangerous consequences of opioids, the eurphoric feeling that these drugs produce are extremely rewarding. Often, individuals start abusing prescription pain medications, such as vicodin and hydrocodone, and then transition or combine their use with heroin. With both types of opioid drugs, physical and emotional addiction can occur and have devastating effects.
Addiction Treatment for Heroin
Treatment for heroin dependence includes counseling, medication assisted treatment, and support groups. Treatment outcomes are typically effective when a combination of these modalities is utilized.
- Counseling: An addiction specialist can help an individual acquire the necessary coping skills to manage painful emotions, offer insight into the nature of his/her addiction, and prevent relapse. Additionally, addressing any co-occurring disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression is essential. Multiple treatment modalities have been found to effective for addiction treatment, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness training and motivational interviewing. Counseling is offered within an outpatient or inpatient (e.g. residential) environment. Whether an individual enters outpatient or inpatient treatment typically depends on the severity of addiction and availability of resources. Sometimes, treatment starts at a residential treatment facility and then transitions to oupatient care.
- Support groups: Narcotics Anonymous is a community based organization that offers meetings for those struggling with addiction. These meetings provide a space where individuals can meet with others who experience similar situations and feelings. You can gain knowledge, social support and a sense of community from these types of meetings.
- Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT): MAT is a pharmacological treatment for opioid addiction. Buprenorphine (e.g. Suboxone and Subutex) helps an individual with the physiological effects of withdrawal, making it easier to stop use. Currently, physicians are limited in the number of prescriptions that they can write for buprenorphine; however, Illinois Senator, Mark Kirk, is working to increase MAT prescription limits. Vivitrol (naltrexone for extended‐
release injectable suspension) is another type of medication that helps prevent relapse.
If you are someone you know is suffering from heroin addiction, treatment is possible. At Evolutions Behavioral Health, we offer outpatient counseling for addiction.