Misconceptions about heroin use and addiction has endangered the lives of many. Stereotypes about who uses heroin and what constitutes an addiction has led to delays in treatment. Unfortunately, for some users, this has resulted in serious consequences. To help dispel some of those misconceptions, here are some truths about heroin and the addiction to the drug.
Heroin Addicts Are Often Poor
One of the most commonly believed misconceptions about heroin users is that they are often from low income backgrounds. The reality is that people from various socioeconomic backgrounds use the drug.
For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted an increase of 60 percent in users who earn $50,000 or more a year between the periods 2002 to 2004 and 2011 to 2013. The increase is similar to the uptick in users in the $20,000 or less income bracket during the same period.
Failing to understand that anyone from any income bracket can become addicted to heroin could lead to some users going undetected by family and friends who believe their income is too high to even consider using the drug. The delay in treatment could have unfortunate consequences, including harm caused to an addict's professional and personal relationships.
Heroin Is Only Addictive If It Is Injected
Heroin can be taken in three different ways, including injection. Some users mistakenly believe that the only way to become addicted to the drug is through injection. In actuality, the delivery method has no bearing on whether or not you become addicted to the drug.
The only difference between the delivery methods is that injecting the drug has more risks associated with it. For instance, you are at a higher risk of contracting HIV by injecting the drug with dirty needles.
When heroin is used, the opioid receptors are activated. The receptors are part of the brain's reward system and when they are continuously activated through drug use, you can become addicted. Regardless of if you smoke, snort, or inject the heroin, the action still activates the receptors and puts you on the road towards addiction.
If you suspect that a family member is using heroin or another illegal substance, it is important that you encourage him or her to get help. Relying on misconceptions to determine if your loved one is truly addicted could harm him or her in the end. A trained professional can help diagnose your loved one's addiction and help with developing a treatment plan.
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