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How Addictive Is Heroin?

Opioid drugs such as Heroin are processed from the opium poppy seed plant native to Turkey and other middle eastern countries. It is also harvested in regions of Asia and in Columbia and Mexico. All opioid drugs, including Heroin, are made from morphine which comes from the poppy seed plant. Once Heroin is processed from the morphine, it will either end up as a white-brownish powder or left as a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. The majority of Heroin that is sold in the United States is cultivated in Asia and Mexico. 

The street names for Heroin include Horse, Chiva, Tar, Down, Smack, H, Junk, Dope, China White, Bone, Raisin, and others.

How Addictive Is Heroin?

How Addictive Is Heroin?

Heroin can cause addiction the minute someone first uses it. Heroin is so addictive because of the massive amount of pleasure-reacting chemicals it tells the brain to release. When a person uses Heroin, the brain floods their body with dopamine and endorphins. Both of these chemicals make up the reward center of the brain. So we experience regular surges of dopamine and endorphins when we engage in things that give us pleasure—having sex, eating chocolate, listening to music, etc., all feel-good release chemicals.   

Is Heroin Deadly?

Heroin is a powerful drug that quickly causes accidental overdose every day. People unfamiliar with the potency are trying Heroin and stop breathing and die. Heroin slows down respiration, and if the person is not experienced with it, they stop breathing. Unfortunately, the rates of people addicted to and dying from Heroin continue to climb in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports the devastating numbers of opioid overdose death rates in recent years.   

“In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses.” (NIDA)   

Who Gets Addicted to Heroin?

Unlike past assumptions about what kinds of people use Heroin, today, heroin addiction affects all demographics. The days of heroin addicts only affecting non-white people or poor people is over. Today Heroin addiction is found among all races, ages, and genders. People with college degrees and earning hundreds of thousands per year are getting addicted to Heroin. It is also documented that age groups as young as middle school age are susceptible to exposure to Heroin and using it.  

There are four main risk factors that can predispose someone to become an addict of any drug/alcohol, including Heroin. They include: 

  • Environmental Factors (presence of drugs/alcohol in the home or environment)
  • Genetic Link ( Family history of Addiction/alcoholism) 
  • History of Trauma (sexual/physical abuse, neglect, witnessing violence) 
  • Undiagnosed or Diagnosed Mental Illness

What Do the Experts Say About Heroin Addiction?

The medical community that researches heroin addiction and how to help addicts is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They support opioid replacement drugs known as medication-assisted treatment or MAT to treat heroin addiction. 

MAT is primarily used to treat addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers that contain opiates. The prescribed medication operates to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative and euphoric effects of the substance used. MAT provides a more comprehensive, individually tailored program of medication and behavioral therapy that address the needs of most patients. (SAMHSA)

What To Do If Someone You Love is Addicted to Heroin?

The first thing to help your loved ones is to understand that they are suffering and need medications and emotional support to get through the detox and overcome their addiction. The programs at Garden State Detox are personalized and provide targeted therapy and safe and effective MAT. Don let your loved ones kill themselves with Heroin. We have saved thousands of heroin addicts who are now in recovery long-term. They begin at medically supervised detox and then go into one of our evidence-based treatment programs. 

Call us for priority admission right now, and chat or email for more information. 


  • What causes drugs to be addictive?
  • What happens to your brain when you are addicted?

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