Stark County’s Heroin epidemic
Understanding Opiate Addiction
Withdrawal symptoms of heroin
When the person stops taking the drugs, the body needs time to recover and withdrawal symptoms result. Withdrawal from opiates can occur whenever any chronic use is discontinued or reduced.
Some people even withdraw from opiates after being given such drugs for pain while in the hospital without realizing what is happening to them. They think they have the flu, and because they don’t know that opiates would fix the problem, they don’t crave the drugs.
Early symptoms of withdrawal:
- Muscle aches
- Increased tearing
- Runny nose
Late symptoms of withdrawal:
- Abdominal cramping
- Dilated pupils
- Goose bumps
Extended social consequences of drug use
Opiate addiction can have many consequences on all aspects of an individual’s life. Not only are there negative effects on a heroin user’s family and friends, there are extended societal impacts. Some of these effects include:
- Social problems (loss of support of family and friends, isolation)
- Work problems
- Problems at school
- Financial problems
- Adverse health consequences (abscesses, pulmonary complications, infections in the heart, collapsed veins, permanent lung, liver, and kidney damage)
- History of drug related crimes and incarceration
- Involuntary commitment to a mental hospital
- Death from overdose or suicide
stigma affects quality and outcome of addiction treatment
Stigma impacts not only the person with the substance use disorder but the family and the community. People in recovery can face social stigma in a variety of ways from being denied employment, housing, and losing relationships.
The Anti-Stigma Project characterizes stigma as a “pervasive and damaging influence on the quality of services, treatment outcomes and therapeutic, professional and personal relationships.” (The Anti-stigma Project, 2012). Learn more about #StepInStepUp, StarkMHAR’s anti-stigma campaign »
The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) describes five key points about stigma:
- Addiction-related stigma is a powerful, shame-based mark of disgrace and reproach.
- Stigma is generated and perpetuated by prejudicial attitudes and beliefs.
- Stigma promotes discrimination among individuals at risk for, experiencing, or in recovery from addiction, as well as individuals associated with them.
- Addicted people and people in recovery are ostracized, discriminated against and deprived of basic human rights.
- Individuals who are stigmatized often internalize inappropriate attitudes and practices, making them part of their self-identity.
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