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How to Help a Friend Addicted to Heroin

According to a CNN report, heroin is the “number one” in the list of illegal drugs that devastate or even kill people. According to the 2011 estimation of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, slightly less than 4.1 million persons between the ages of 11 and above had tried heroin, while about 23 percent of these persons would suffer addiction after using the substance for the first time.

The use of heroin is on the increase; between 2000 and 2014, the rise was recorded as 250 percent in Vermont, and over 680,000 people use heroin across the U.S. in the year 2013 (culled from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

The good news is, regardless of such overwhelming figures on heroin use and abuse, an affected individual can attain real recovery. Heroin treatment options can aid heroin addicts to build clean, new lives that no longer yearn for heroin.

How and Why Should You Help Someone who is Addicted to Heroin?

First, before treating or helping a heroin addict, it is necessary that the users break free from their dependence on the substance. In essence, since the impact of the substance is immediate on both the psychological and neurological wellbeing of an individual, it is necessary to completely re-wire a user’s brain’s perception of pleasure as well as reward. It starts by carefully and gradually weaning the affected persons off their dependence of heroin.

This process would include cutting back on the amount of heroin that addicts consume, and simultaneously creating a control system for the withdrawal symptoms that are bound to take place due to less use of the drug. These withdrawal symptoms include muscle cramping, anxiety, vomiting/nausea, fever, cravings for more of the substance, and suicidal thoughts. When you help an addict to get back to his or her feet, you have helped in rescuing him or her from self destruction.

Helping a Heroin Addict

The fact is, caring for a friend, family member or an individual who is addicted to heroin isn’t an easy task. But, the good news is that it’s doable and you can find different help options for a heroin addict. The help options include;

  • Learning: You need to empower yourself before helping a heroin addict. As a result, you should learn all you can about the substance and its use, including the signs of abuse, and what helping an addict entails.
  • Avoid Enabling: This is simply empowering addicts to continue in their behaviors. Enabling comes in different forms such as giving out financial help or other forms of direct or indirect support that encourages continuous use of the substance.
  • Create a Support System: The truth is that heroin is very dangerous, so is its effect on an individual. This is why you should seek a support system in trying to help someone suffering from heroin abuse. You should not handle it all alone.

The support system you should put in place would include seeking help from others or being part of a support group for drug addicts. In addition, you should seek opportunities for treatment for the affected individual. This would include medically assisted detoxification, therapy and counseling.