Heroin has a century-long history of creating addiction around the world. Heroin was synthesized from morphine in 1874 in Germany, and by the turn of the 20th century was being touted as a non-addictive remedy for morphine addiction. In the US in particular, many men who fought in the Civil War had been left addicted to morphine they started receiving after injuries or amputations, so a remedy to morphine addiction had value. At least, it did until it was realized that the remedy was also addictive.
After this discovery, heroin was banned in the US in 1914 and by the League of Nations in 1925. Of course, this simply drove heroin into an underground market. Heroin has expanded its worldwide grip on addicts to the point that, now, between 12 and 21 million people world-wide are using heroin. Asia and Europe have the largest heroin markets, and Asia and South America are the largest heroin-producing areas. In the US, it's estimated that $80 billion dollars was spent on heroin in 2009. That's as though every man, woman and child in American spent $261 on heroin that year.
Heroin addiction is most often associated with a criminal lifestyle, as many addicts lose their social skills and work ethic and devote themselves, voluntarily or involuntarily, to an addictive lifestyle. Many must turn to criminal activities to finance their drug addictions. Heroin addicts also live risky lifestyles, in part simply due to heroin use itself which can result in overdose or a fatal reaction to some substance that was used to cut the heroin. Further risk comes from sharing needles, failure to meet one's own personal health needs, or risky sexual behavior including prostitution.
And so the solution in some countries becomes an attempt to reduce the risk of illness, death or crime while not attempting to reduce actual drug use. This is termed "harm reduction." It comes in the form of clean "shooting rooms" staffed by medical personnel, clean needle supplies or the substitution of a medical form of the drug that would prevent overdose or that criminal activity that enables the purchase of more drugs. More than a million people in Europe are receiving treatment for heroin addiction and more than half of these are receiving substitute drugs.
Harm reduction was proposed and approved by various national governments after repeated attempts were made to help people succeed in rehabilitation but each attempt failed to help many of the people in these rehab programs. If nothing else, they could at least reduce crime and the spread of disease with harm reduction.
When effective rehabilitation methods could not be developed, it is understandable that alternate methods would be developed in their place. But now there is a way to bring about the rehabilitation of a heroin addict, even a person who has been addicted to heroin for years.
The Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that is offered at the organization's drug recovery centers around the world has achieved success with short- and long-term heroin users.
When the addicted person enters the program, the first thing that is done is that he or she is supported through a tolerable withdrawal process. The unsupported heroin withdrawal can be so grueling that complex pharmaceutical protocols have been developed to anesthetize the person coming off the drug and precipitate the withdrawal into a shorter period. But the cocktail of drugs and anesthetics has its own dangers. Some deaths have been reported and many US states and the National Institutes of Health have issued statements against this technique.
At Narconon, heroin addicts are supported in several ways. First, it has been proven for many years that the administration of nutritional supplements helps soothe the withdrawal discomfort of a heroin addict. First, recovering addicts are often in terrible physical condition and regular meals, sleep and vitamins like B complex and C begin to enable the body to heal. Further, calcium and magnesium help the muscles that may be aching or wanting to cramp as withdrawal progresses.
Gentle re-orientation exercises help take a person's attention off their aches and pains and direct it on the environment. Physical assists that are somewhat like a gentle massage help the muscles and nervous system release the stress of the detoxification that is occurring.
This is just the first step of rehab at a Narconon drug and alcohol recovery center. But it provides a positive start for every recovering heroin addict and can help develop a positive frame of mine in the addict toward their full recovery. Withdrawal is followed by simple training in communication skills and practice of these skills. This has the effect of bring a recovering addict's attention into the present, starting to leave the addictive life behind, one step at a time.
Then the recovering person embarks on a critically important step in his or her recovery: the deep detoxification that results from the Narconon New Life Detoxification Program. This innovative and exclusive program provides each recovering person with an exact nutritional program and has them engage in moderate exercise followed by time spent in a low-heat sauna. The combined effect is that a person's body can now flush out stored toxins that remain behind after earlier drug use. Those completing this step say they feel younger and can think more clearly. Most also say that they have more energy, sleep better and some add that their cravings for drugs are much lower, maybe even gone.
With detoxification complete, each person then proceeds through life skills training sessions that restore his or her personal integrity, ability to make drug-free decisions and ability to turn difficult situations around into positive ones. These aspects of recovery have proven over time to be the most effective ways to get any addict, heroin or otherwise, to remain stable after they graduate and go home.
For more information on this thorough and effective address to heroin addiction, contact a Narconon drug rehab counselor.