Most people who use heroin know the risks. They know overdose can happen to anyone, anytime. So in the fact of these grim heroin facts, why do they keep using it?
The truth is that, once heroin addiction occurs, it’s not an easy habit to kick. As is often said, addiction to any substance is a disease that bears more in common with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease than a behavioral or impulse-control issue. But even though individuals suffering from heroin addiction can’t be forced into recovery, knowing just how scary heroin addiction can be might serve as the inspiration to embrace sobriety.
With that in mind, we have compiled a list of 10 facts about heroin addiction that are shocking, scary, and disturbing.
1. Heroin addiction has put many people on the street.
While there have not been any studies linking homelessness to heroin addiction specifically, a correlation is possible, if not plausible, since both opioid addiction and homelessness have spiked in recent years.
Data shows that the rate at which people have been experiencing homelessness had been declining for about 30 years. However, it resumed an upward trajectory in 2017, which continued throughout 2018 and 2019. The National Alliance to End Homeless even reported that over half a million Americans were homeless in January 2019, which is comparable to the estimated 626,000 Americans diagnosed with opioid use disorder nationwide. Is it a coincidence that homelessness began to increase as the heroin addiction problem has become more severe?
About 26 percent of homeless people used drugs in 2009, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. “Substance abuse is often a cause of homelessness,” the Coalition reported. “Addictive disorders disrupt relationships with family and friends and often cause people to lose their jobs. For people who are already struggling to pay their bills, the onset or exacerbation of an addiction may cause them to lose their housing.”
2. Heroin addicts will go to almost any length to get the next fix.
Many people addicted to heroin will resort to highly regrettable behavior to get their next fix. This occurs because the brain addicted to heroin becomes almost hardwired to seek the drug constantly. In fact, one of the reasons people with addiction get into trouble with the law is because they do illegal things to support their addiction. These behaviors can include stealing, engaging in fraud, and a wide variety of other behaviors.
3. The demographics developing heroin addiction at the highest rate aren’t the ones you might expect.
According to United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the demographic groups becoming addicted to heroin at the fastest rate include women, individuals who are privately insured, and people with higher incomes. Meanwhile, rates of opioid use among high school students have reached an all-time low, per the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
4. Heroin use increases the likelihood of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Over time, heroin becomes the all-consuming focus of addicts’ lives. As a result, individuals addicted to heroin often fail at maintaining even the most basic tenets of self-care. For example, heroin users commonly share syringes out of desperation, leaving them vulnerable to spreading diseases between them. This can lead to mass infections as these individuals unknowingly pass these illnesses to their sexual partners.
5. Heroin overdose deaths tripled from 2005 to 2015.
In 2015 alone, there were more than 52,000 drug overdose deaths nationwide; at least 60 percent of those deaths were from opioid drugs like heroin and painkillers, according to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
6. Every 15 minutes, a baby suffering from heroin withdrawal symptoms is born in the United States.
We’ve been seeing far more infants experiencing withdrawal at birth over the past number of years. In 2014, in particular, there were 32,000 babies born addicted to opioids, which was a threefold increase from 2004.
7. Heroin can ruin a person’s sex life.
There are a couple of reasons why heroin use can have an adverse effect on one’s sex life. First, there are the physiological effects of heroin; since it acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, sexual performance is much more difficult physically. Additionally, heroin use often results in users isolating themselves and putting much less value on their interpersonal relationships. Since getting the next fix becomes the priority in their lives, they have fewer and fewer opportunities to foster relationships where sexual intimacy can occur.
Kick heroin with help from Silicon Beach Treatment Center
Silicon Beach Treatment Center is here to help you or your loved one to overcome heroin addiction. In fact, at our rehabilitation center in Los Angeles, recovery happens every day.
We have some of the finest offerings in Los Angeles. IOP, or intensive outpatient treatment, works for those who have a strong support network at home but aren’t able to accommodate the intensive schedule of an inpatient program. Additionally, we have Los Angeles sober living homes available for those who prefer more of an inpatient treatment experience.
To learn more about our IOP in LA, contact Silicon Beach Treatment Center today.