Types of Addiction​

Heroin Addiction​

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Recovery from heroin addiction is possible, and GateHouse is ready to stand by your side. For individuals who are ready to overcome their heroin addiction, we offer a personal approach to heroin addiction treatment that is based on proven methodologies. We give you the tools needed to build a strong recovery by promoting personal responsibility and accountability. We are personally invested in our clients’ recovery process, and putting people first has always been the bedrock of our treatment philosophy. Reach out today, and find out how GateHouse can help.

What is Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is an opiate drug derived from morphine, although morphine is a legally prescribed drug, the use of it may lead to addiction. It is the most popular and commonly abused opiate drug, about 23% of users become dependent on the drug. Heroin is intensely addictive due to how it reacts in the brain.

History of Heroin Abuse and Addiction in America

Purified morphine extracted from opium was done in the early 1800s, it became one of the most potent painkillers known to man, being as morphine is ten times more powerful than opium. In 1897, Felix Hoffman synthesized heroin in an attempt to convert morphine into codeine. It was presented as a non-addictive cough suppressant and analgesic for respiratory infections. It was quickly recognized that heroin was dangerous to patients. People being treated with it rapidly developed dependence, and patients who stopped taking it experienced severe withdrawal. In 1910 the first heroin dependent / heroin treatment case was admitted for medical help.

In 1914 the Harrison Narcotic Tax Act was implemented limiting the medical uses of heroin. It required narcotic sellers to be licensed and outlawed prescribing narcotics to addicts. In 1924 the importation of opium for manufacturing heroin was outlawed, subsequent laws in the U.S. have completely restricted any uses, recreational or medical. Heroin is a Schedule I drug, it is illegal to possess, manufacture or sell heroin in America. It is highly addictive and has no accepted medical use.

Common Street Names for Heroin

  • Dope
  • H
  • Smack
  • Boy
  • Dog Food
  • Puppy Chow
  • Junk
  • Diesel
  • Brown

Physiology and Side Effects of Heroin

When heroin is used, the body gets flooded with the opioids which leads to incredibly high levels of dopamine resulting in a euphoric feeling which are more potent than the body’s natural release of endorphins.

Using heroin has many side effects no matter how it is administered, and the user rapidly builds a tolerance, needing higher and more frequent doses. Side effects may include:

  • Reduced sensation of pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Constricted pupils
  • Cycling between being awake and severe drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Itchy skin
  • Slowed respiration
  • Slowed heart rate

Understanding Heroin Addiction

When heroin is abused in any form; snorted, smoked, or injected it causes users to feel euphoric due to the rapid influx of dopamine entering their brain. Over time the brain stops producing normal amounts of these chemicals, and the mental need for the drug becomes a compulsion resulting in psychological addiction.

The body also adapts to the drug and becomes accustomed to having it present in the body. When the intake is stopped the user experiences painful physical withdrawals. Any use of heroin is abuse, heroin addiction treatment is available to aid in the physical and mental addiction.

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Quick Facts

  • Heroin is derived from poppy plants
  • It is the most abused and popular opiate drug
  • 23% of people who try heroin become addicted
  • Over-prescribing opioid pain medication has caused dependences
  • From 2002 to 2015 there has been a 6.2 increase in the total number of heroin-related deaths
  • Heroin commonly comes in white or brown powdered form or black, tar-like substance
  • All forms of heroin can be snorted, smoked, or injected

Signs of Heroin Abuse

Just as every person differs, signs and symptoms of heroin abuse and heroin addiction can vary from user to user, common symptoms include:


Depressed, restlessness, anxiety, mood swings, withdrawn, euphoric, extreme agitation, fatigue


Lying, stealing, unexplained absences, lack of appetite, confusion, slurred speech, avoidance of eye contact, lack of personal hygiene, wearing long sleeves and pants in warm weather, defensive and stand-offish


Dry mouth, constricted pupils, lack of coordination, itchiness, constipation, injection sites, bruises, track marks, unexplained weight loss

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