Heroin is a depressant drug which means that it slows down and interferes with the functioning of the brain and the body. It belongs to a group of drugs known as opioids and is produced from the resin of opium poppies.
Smack, H, Hammer, Harry, Slow.
Heroin acts on the brain and commonly results in euphoria, relaxation and pain relief. Other short-term effects include:
• Small pupils.
• Slurred and slow speech.
• Slow breathing.
• Decreased heart rate or palpitations.
• Cold clammy skin.
• Itchiness and scratching.
• Nausea / vomiting.
• Stomach ache.
• Difficulty urinating.
Heroin affects people differently depending on a range of factors including how strong it is, how much is consumed, whether it is used with other drugs, whether the person is used to taking it and the individual characteristics of the person (size, weight and health).
It is important to know that there is no safe level of heroin use.
Other possible long-term effects include:
• Blood-borne viruses (Hepatitis B & C, HIV & AIDs) from needle use.
• Bacterial and fungal infections.
• Overdose and death.
• Damage to the circulatory system.
• Damaged heart, lungs, liver and brain.
• Loss of appetite.
• Sexual dysfunction (no sex drive).
• Fertility problems and difficulty having children.
• Irregular periods.
• Decreased motivation.
• Mood swings.
• Dependence on heroin.
• Financial, work, social or legal problems.
At Pharmaceutical Rehabilitation Services, our team work with patients to employ Medication Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence (MATOD). MATOD is a combination of medication, as well as psychosocial support. While medication alone can bring about some behaviour change, psychosocial support is essential for patients to achieve long-term treatment success.
There are two medications which we use for Opioid dependence:
• Methadone (Methadone, Biodone liquid)
• Buprenorphine (Suboxone Films, Subutex Tablets)
These medications bind to the opioid receptor in the brain. This prevents and/or reduces any withdrawal symptoms. This keeps the patient stabile while they make positive changes in their life.
Additionally, both methadone and buprenorphine are long acting meaning doses are usually only required once a day, sometimes even less.
Psychosocial support includes strategies to assist the patient with health, psychological, social and other issues that they are experiencing.
Counselling helps to address any underlying issues which may have been masked by opioid use, and help to process emotions which may have been suppressed by the medication. It also helps patients to develop the necessary strategies and tools to use if they have opioid cravings.
Our Clinicians work with each patient at the start of their treatment journey to outline their treatment goals. They then work collaboratively with the patient toward achieving those goals.
In each patient’s journey, their goals may change over time and therefore, the support we provide will also change.
For example, early on in treatment there is usually a greater focus on managing withdrawal symptoms with medications. Then, once the cravings are stabilised, we work with patients to achieve their greater health goals.
If you, or someone you know, is affected by heroin addiction, contact PRS on (07) 3059 1301 or fill out the form below to book an appointment.