Heroin abusers have a serious potential of overdosing on the drug because of its dangerous effects. But who is most likely to overdose on heroin, and how can you avoid this situation? If you have been abusing heroin and need help, call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? now to find a treatment center where you can begin your safe recovery.
Who Can Overdose on Heroin?
Anyone can overdose on heroin, even if it’s a person’s first time using the drug. The drug itself causes severe respiratory depression that can occur at any time, including the first time a person uses it. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, a serious threat for heroin users is that “they cannot know the real strength of the drug or its true contents, putting them at an increased risk for overdose or even death.” The drug’s route of administration affects its overdose potential in other ways too. A study from 2001 cited by CESAR states that 54% of injection drug users will experience at least one a non-fatal overdose in their lifetime.
While anyone can overdose on heroin because of its route of administration and severe side effects, people who have just gone through or are going through withdrawal are the most likely experience a fatal heroin overdose.
Detox and Heroin Overdose
According to the National Library of Medicine, the most overdose deaths associated with opiates happen at this time for a number of reasons.
- People who seek detox treatment without then attending addiction treatment are still addicted to the drug and at a high potential for relapse.
- Many people do not seek treatment at all for heroin withdrawal, as the symptoms are not usually fatal, and this can lead to a high relapse potential.
- Those who do relapse either during or after detox usually have a lower tolerance for the drug but do not realize it.
- When they relapse, they abuse the same amount they always did and, as a result, they overdose and often die.
Individuals who have just gone through detox but have not yet begun addiction treatment––or think they do not need rehab––are extremely vulnerable to the effects of overdose. Of course, anyone who regularly uses heroin has a serious potential of overdosing on the drug, but those who are going through or have just detoxed have a much higher likelihood of dying as a result of their overdose.
How Can I Avoid a Heroin Overdose?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioid before starting to use heroin.” Therefore, if you are abusing opiates of any kind, you are putting yourself at a higher risk of heroin abuse, addiction, and overdose. Many people move quickly from one type of substance abuse to the other, and to protect yourself from a potential heroin overdose, it is important to seek help now.
- Find a treatment program that can cater to your needs. Do not wait; the longer you go without help and the longer you continue to abuse drugs, the harder it will be to get your life back together again.
- Make sure the program you choose lasts long enough to be effective (at least 90 days, according to the NIDA) and that it is a place you feel comfortable in so you will not want to leave the program early.
- Avoid abusing opioids of any kind, and practice relapse prevention techniques in order to do so, but especially avoid the use of injected heroin.
- Continue treatment past your detox phase. You are still addicted if you do not seek rehab in a professional facility and learn the coping skills you will need to fight cravings for heroin.
- If you ever start to feel that you are leaning toward relapse, seek help immediately. Find a treatment program, ask a friend to stay with you, and remember it is not safe or wise to go through this alone.
Seek Treatment for Opiate Addiction Today
Heroin addiction is a serious issue, and you put yourself in danger of overdose and death every time you use the drug. Call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? now to find a treatment center where you can receive the care you need to put an end to your heroin abuse.