One of the most poignant principles of author Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is that before going into battle, a person should know as much as they can about their enemy so that they can circumvent their strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses. Heroin addiction is the enemy of people, and Sun Tzu’s principle can be applied by anyone going into battle to free themselves from an addiction to heroin.
Opiates (drugs such as codeine, morphine, and heroin that are derived from the poppy plant or synthesized to emulate its effects) are commonly used in medicine as powerful painkillers. They reduce pain by directly attaching to receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral parts of a person’s nervous system, blocking pain signals to the brain, and thereby reducing a person’s feelings of pain; they are so powerful that they are usually only looked to as suppressors of the most severe levels of pain. They have a number of common side effects including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, sedation, physical dependence, tolerance, and respiratory depression; some of these side effects can lead to death, especially if excessive amounts of the drugs are taken.
Due to its limited potential for medicinal benefits and its high risk of addiction, permanent bodily damage, and death, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has designated heroin as an illegal schedule I drug, or a drug that, according to the United States Department of Justice, has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”
It is becoming increasingly obvious that despite diligent efforts from awareness programs and law enforcement agencies that heroin is a growing problem and there are an overwhelming number of factors contributing to the spread of this epidemic, but there is hope, even for those who have been stricken by a severe addiction to the drug. Following are the methods by which beginning and winning the battle with heroin addiction is achievable.
There are a number of heroin-related myths that prevent people from pursuing adequate treatment for themselves, or heroin addicted friends and family. Some of these myths are:
Heroin is less dangerous when inhaled.
Heroin is only abused by people over 30, so you don’t have to worry about the younger folk in your family using heroin.
You can’t seek the aid of a rehab facility until you have hit “rock bottom.”
As long as you control the dosage, you don’t have to worry about overdosing.
Abstaining from use is an adequate treatment for heroin addiction.
Overdosing on these potent painkillers is relatively easy, and the sedative effect that is commonly described as “euphoric” has led to widespread abuse; an estimated thirteen and a half million people abuse opiates. Of those people, nearly seventy percent specifically abuse the opiate, heroin. In the United States alone, 3.7 million people have abused heroin in their lifetimes, and 314,000 of these people have used the drug in the past year. The primary abusers are individuals over the age of 26, but in recent years the number of heroin users between the ages of 12 and 17 has spiked by over 300 percent. Those are just the abuse statistics for heroin, but here are the deadly facts: in 2001, heroin caused deadly overdoses in 1,901 people; in 2009, that number spiked to nearly 3,500; that doesn’t include deaths due to long- term medical complications caused by heroin.
There are a couple of ways that heroin overdoses can happen, and here is how:
Heroin addiction is not just a fast killer that causes quick, violent overdose deaths. Abuse can lead to a number of deadly or disconcerting disorders such as:
Although heroin is highly addictive and has many ways to destroy the body, addiction to the deadly drug can be beaten. The biggest weakness that heroin has is that breaking addiction is very possible; in fact, as many as 6 out of every 10 rehabilitation center patients never experience a single relapse.
Now that heroin’s many strengths, and its huge weakness is known, it is important to know how to attack that weakness without being overcome by its strengths.
Self-treatment for heroin addiction has the highest failure rate of any approach, regardless of the techniques used. Also, some of these attempts result in death due to the shock of trying to stop abusing the drug improperly. The fact remains that professional doctors and nurses have the medical knowledge and resources available that can help people safely and permanently end their addiction to heroin.
Most Common Types of Professional Treatment
Regardless of what approach is used, it is imperative that heroin addicts seek professional help; it cannot be stressed enough that do-it-yourself recovery from heroin addiction is extremely ineffective, and much more dangerous than professional methods.
Public and private institutions are striving for a reduction in heroin addiction or abuse through drug awareness programs, and heroin is an oft mentioned drug in these programs; many of them start in elementary school and continue throughout grade school education. Proponents of these sorts of programs cite their success through the numerous alternatives to drug abuse that they create for people.
As heroin abuse continues to infect our lives, it is important that the people fight back, and that proper solutions to abuse and prevention resources are sought out. The only ones who can stop heroin abuse are us.
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