What is heroin and opioid addiction?
Heroin, like morphine, is derived from the opium poppy plant. However, heroin is far more potent than morphine. Rapidly penetrating the brain, heroin attaches to opioid receptors on cells throughout the brain, including those involved in the processing of pain and pleasure, as well as those responsible for regulating heart rate, sleep, and respiration. The opioid prescription pain relievers OxyContin® and Vicodin® have similar effects to heroin. Misusing these medicines may lead to heroin usage, according to the research. Heroin has a powerful and irresistible addictive quality. People who use heroin frequently tend to build up a tolerance, requiring increasingly large and/or frequent doses to achieve the same benefits as they once did with less. To have a substance use disorder (SUD) means that one’s drug use has become chronic and is causing problems in one’s life, such as health issues and a failure to fulfil one’s responsibilities at family, school, or job. Addiction is the most extreme form of substance use disorder (SUD) for which one should seek opioid addiction treatment.