Heroin Addiction and Abuse

Heroin is an illicit substance in the opioid class of drugs. It comes from morphine, which is legal to use with a doctor’s prescription. Morphine comes from the seeds of poppy flowers.

Other names for heroin include smack, black tar, skag, and horse. It may look like a white, brown, or black powder or like black tar. People who use heroin may ingest it, inject it, or smoke it.

People who use heroin are at a high risk of developing a substance use disorder. Yet, many heroin addicts struggle to stop using their substance of choice because of the severe withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin addiction treatment can help people who are addicted to heroin. Medical detox followed by rehab in a residential or outpatient setting are effective treatments to help people stop using heroin.

Are you or someone you love addicted to heroin? Then you may want to learn more about the types of treatments available for heroin use disorders. We will walk you through the details in this guide, so keep reading.

What Is Heroin Use Disorder?

Heroin use disorder occurs when someone continues to use heroin despite negative life consequences. Heroin abuse may cause disturbances at school or work, health problems, and interpersonal issues.

But how do people get addicted in the first place? 23–38% of heroin users develop a drug addiction soon after using it for the first time.

Using heroin regularly leads to increased tolerance. In other words, the person who uses heroin needs more and more of the drug to achieve the effects experienced upon first use. Over time, this leads to addiction.

What Causes Heroin Addiction?

Heroin’s highly rewarding nature causes addiction. When people consume this drug, their brains release chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals make our brains feel good and act as a reward of sorts.

Over time, our brains learn to associate this feel-good, rewarding effect with heroin use. So, people begin seeking out the drug to achieve this effect again. The more someone uses it, the more their brain craves heroin.

A person who is addicted to heroin may try to stop using it. But that is when the withdrawal symptoms begin again. One way to relieve these symptoms is to use heroin, which starts the cycle of addiction all over again.

Heroin Addiction Risk Factors

Not everyone who uses heroin for the first time gets addicted. Those who do may carry risk factors that confer a higher chance of abusing heroin. These risk factors include but are not limited to:

  • Family history of substance use disorders
  • A personal history of substance use disorders, including alcoholism
  • Unaddressed mental health conditions
  • Exposure to trauma
  • Associating with other people who use heroin

Another risk factor for heroin use disorder is whether or not someone has abused prescription painkillers. A study found that people who have abused prescription pain medications are 19 times more likely to start using heroin.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Options in Florida

Treatment for heroin addiction saves lives. Opioids are the leading drug class for overdoses, which affected over 100,000 people in 2021 alone. That is nearly double the number of people who died from a drug overdose in 2015.

Heroin overdose deaths, in particular, are declining. In 2021, there were 9,173 overdoses from heroin, a 30% decrease from heroin overdose deaths in 2017. This may be due to the switch to more potent opioids.

The decline in heroin overdoses may also be due to increasingly effective treatments. Below, we discuss some of the treatments that can help people overcome heroin addiction and reclaim their lives.


The first step to getting treated for heroin use disorder is to get the drug out of your system. You can do this through a process known as detox. We do not recommend detoxing on your own.

Instead, rehab centers like CWC Recovery offer medically-assisted heroin detox. A medical professional will be present at all times to monitor you and administer FDA-approved medications to lessen withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin withdrawals feature symptoms like the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Episodes of the chills
  • Uncontrollable leg dyskinesia
  • Severe cravings

The amount of time it takes to detox from heroin depends on the individual. Typically, it can take several weeks to overcome the painful withdrawal symptoms. Detoxing in a rehab center can make this time more comfortable.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab centers are also known as residential rehab. You live at the facility where you receive treatment. Often, the rehab where you detox will also offer inpatient treatments.

Living at the facility while you receive care can help you avoid temptation in the real world while you work with professional therapists and counselors to learn new coping skills to replace drug use.

Many people who suffer from heroin use disorder also have co-occurring mental health conditions. Heroine use may start off as a way to deal with their symptoms. You can also get help for co-occurring disorders in heroin rehab.

The exact treatment plan you need in inpatient rehab depends on your unique background and goals. At CWC Recovery, we offer individualized treatment plans for each of our clients to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Outpatient Rehab

Heroin causes severe addictions, which is why experts recommend inpatient rehab. But some people may not have the work flexibility or be able to afford a residential program. In that case, outpatient rehab is the next best thing.

Outpatient rehab is also ideal for clients who have been discharged from a residential program. You can continue attending therapy on a schedule that suits your unique lifestyle.

At CWC Recovery, we offer two different types of outpatient programs: partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). Both programs allow clients to live at home while receiving care.

PHPs are more intensive and require you to come to treatment sessions for multiple hours multiple times per week. Our IOP requires even less time at the treatment facility but still offers the effective treatment you need.

Get Help for Heroin Addiction in Florida at CWC Recovery

Heroin addiction is a serious substance use disorder that comes with deadly consequences. A heroin addiction treatment center can help. You can undergo medically-assisted detox and enroll in a program to overcome your addiction.

Are you searching for heroin detox and treatment in South Florida? CWC Recovery offers multiple addiction treatment programs in the area. Learn more about our admissions process and enroll in a program today.

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