In North America, the opioid crisis is on the rise. People continue turning to pain medication to alleviate physical ailments, causing physical and psychological dependence. When opioids become too expensive or difficult to obtain, many users turn to heroin. Some states have seen more of an impact with respect to heroin addiction than others, and in terms of overdoses from heroin Alaska has seen a devastating increase in recent years. Today, Alaska is among the top five states leading the nation in the opioid epidemic, and Alaska heroin statistics are largely to blame.
Why Talk About the Opioid Epidemic?
Why is the opioid epidemic relevant to heroin addiction? Chemically speaking, the two are quite similar, created originally for the purposes of providing pain-relieving qualities to people suffering from physical ailments. Due to the euphoric effects these drugs can produce, people report becoming addicted to the overall sense of well-being they provide.
Opioids attach to opioid receptors in the brain the same way heroin does. The brain becomes psychologically dependent on the drug, to the point that dopamine regulation becomes a job for the substance rather than for the brain. Drug addicts suffering from heroin addiction can go through debilitating withdrawal symptoms when coming off of heroin due to the brain and body’s dependence on the drug.
Heroin is derived from the poppy plant and has been used and abused for decades. Many heroin addicts report using synthetic opioids at one time or another when their drug of choice was not available. Similarly, opioid addicts run out of their prescription, only to be told by a doctor they aren’t allowed to prescribe more painkillers. They then turn to the streets to buy heroin to satisfy their craving. Many heroin addicts report starting out as opioid addicts.
In Alaska, heroin is smuggled in and distributed in small towns, affecting nearly everyone regardless of socioeconomic status. Due to the over-prescribing of painkillers and the resultant spiral into heroin addiction that frequently occurs, more white-collar professionals are addicted to heroin like never before. The stereotype of ninety-pound addicts living under bridges will no longer suffice. Indeed, the spread of heroin addiction has mushroomed to all people regardless of race, class, religion or belief system. With the problem growing out of control and increasing numbers of people using heroin Alaska citizens must learn to detect what heroin addiction looks like.
Heroin Addiction Signs and Symptoms
It isn’t always easy to spot a heroin addiction. There are many functioning drug addicts keeping up appearances and participating in normal everyday activities. Young adults ages 24-34 have seen the highest overdose rates, many of them in college or still living with their parents. A drug problem can go unnoticed for quite a while if those concerned about the addict do not know what to look for.
The first thing to be aware of is behavior. Substance abusers falling victim to heroin addiction will begin to act very differently. Their moods will change. They will start appearing sleepy, or ‘nodding.’ They will start isolating and locking themselves in their room. Pay attention to a change in friends or activities. Heroin addicts will have a hard time moderating their use, once addicted, so those who start by using opioids may begin taking them in noticeably larger amounts.
Watch for changes in appearance, such as greasy hair, red eyes, or pinned pupils. Heroin constricts blood vessels and pupils, giving the appearance of tiny pins in the eyes. Unkempt appearances, dirty clothes, dirty fingernails, or anything out of the ordinary could be a sign that something is off.
Also watch for changes in appetite. Heroin addicts can go either way when it comes to eating. Some addicts report heroin suppressing their appetite, and other addicts claim to get even hungrier. With the feeling of euphoria, addicts will try and intensify this by any means possible, which sometimes means eating more junk food. The key word is change—any considerable changes in appetite or body weight could indicate a problem.
Heroin Alaska Addiction Recovery
Setting aside the common signs of heroin addiction, the biggest indicator is your intuition. Usually, it is obvious when someone goes from being a social drug user to a full-blown heroin addict. Some addicts may be able to function in society for a time, but eventually their behavior will catch up to them. The trick is catching the abuse before it’s too late. And with overdose rates spiking dramatically, especially in Alaska, it’s important now more than ever to know what to watch for.
While they may have problems with heroin Alaska also provides access to solutions. Those seeking an effective heroin addiction treatment program need look no further than Aspire Alaska. Whether you have identified the common signs of heroin addiction in a loved one or even in yourself, we are here to help. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you overcome the torment of addiction and learn to live drug-free.