Heroin is an opioid that in its purest form comes in a white crystalline substance, but is most commonly used as a brown powder. It’s also distributed as a tar-like substance called black tar. Heroin is commonly smoked or injected, and there are reportedly fifty million people worldwide who use heroin.
It is one of the strongest painkillers and is derived from the poppy plant, found most frequently in the mountains of Afghanistan. Because heroin needs to be dissolved, it is soaked in a spoon with water, prior to being injected into the user. Addicts who use heroin, report having these experiences: • Escape from anxiety and worry • Sensations of warmth and comfort • Relaxation • Relief from chronic pain • Dream-like state
As a result, becoming addicted to heroin happens very easily and quickly. Because of how addictive heroin is and how easily it is to overdose on, anti-addiction drugs have been used to counteract the addictive effects. The latest anti-addiction drug is called Vivitrol and has been touted as a magical cure for heroin addiction, but it’s also highly controversial for a variety of reasons later discussed.
What Are The Dangers Of Heroin?
Despite the transient pleasurable feelings heroin users may experience, there are also many dangerous side-effects that can eventually prove fatal. Heroin users are at a great risk of overdosing, and usage can also cause vomiting, constipation, and increased risk of choking.
The other major dangers of heroin include not knowing how high the potency of the drug truly is, and using the drug can be like jumping off a high cliff with your eyes closed. The user never really knows how dangerous and potent the drug he’s taking is, because distribution of heroin is unregulated and illegal.
What Is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is considered an anti-addiction drug. Originally created in 2006 to help control alcoholism, it has since been used to stop addiction to opiates. It is basically the drug naltrexone used in an injectable format. Naltrexone has been used for a long time for addiction, but in a pill format via prescription.
The biggest different between the pill and the injectable may be the whopping price tag difference. Naltrexone in pill format can be used for only eleven dollars a month, while in injectable form it can cost over a thousand dollars a month. Despite the major difference in cost, doctors view Vivitrol as a very useful tool in battling heroin addiction, because it only takes one shot a month. Therefore, it’s easier for addicts to follow the treatment schedule, while with the pill format, where it has to be taken once a day, addicts were more prone to forget to take it on a daily basis.
Vivitrol seems to be controversial for two main reasons, the hefty price tag and questions about how effective it actually is. Some patients who have struggled with alcohol addiction, swear that Vivitrol helped to drastically tone down cravings when taken for over a year. Others who took it for opiate addiction, claim that it did little to help. Addiction is such an individual problem and has so many variables, that it’s hard to gather hard statistics about how effective Vivitrol truly is.
Vivitrol Is Not Part Of Most Treatment Programs
Because of how expensive Vivitrol is, and controversy over how effective it is as an anti-heroin drug, most rehab programs don’t use Vivitrol as part of their treatment program. Likewise, most twelve-step programs also don’t recommend using Vivitrol. It has yet to garner widespread acceptance in the addiction community. The exorbitant price of the injections hasn’t proved to be worth the results to some addicts who have undergone Vivitrol injections.