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 In Addiction, Drug and Alcohol Treatment, staying sober

Heroin is a hard drug that comes in all shapes and sizes. Each form of heroin differs from the other in texture, ingredients and color. However, they all harbor the adverse effects associated with heroin addiction. Some are even more dangerous than others as a result of potent active ingredients. The most common forms of heroin are Black tar heroin( BTH), white powder heroin and brown powder heroin.

Black tar heroin is the cheapest of the two and thus the most abused form.

How to Identify Black Tar Heroin

Heroin comes from poppy plants. The sap-like resin from these plants is harvested from the flower and then used to make heroin. Black tar heroin is what is created when the resin is relatively unrefined, unlike white heroin. 

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It is a black-brown colored substance that almost looks like tar. It is further processing of black tar heroin that produces white and brown powder heroin. Processing of heroin sometimes even involves state of the art laboratories where legitimate chemical processes take place. It is this lack of processing is what makes black tar heroin so cheap.

Ingredients in Black Tar Heroin

The active ingredient in black tar heroin is Diacetylmorphine. It is the substance that is responsible for the side effects and addiction associated with heroin. Chemicals are also usually added to heroin to increase its potency. Such contents include Fentanyl and sometimes, methamphetamine. 

Fentanyl is a highly toxic substance which, when taken in high doses could lead to fatality. It is so toxic that heroin users test the drug for the presence of Fentanyl using strips. Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug on its own. It carries an even higher risk when it is mixed with heroin and Fentanyl. 

Heroin also has filler substances that are used to add body to the drug. This increases profit without necessarily losing too much of the actual heroin. Such substances are flour, powdered milk and sugars. Some toxic filler substances such as rat poison, are also usually added by malicious dealers.

Harmful Effects of Black Tar Heroin

Heroin is a brain stimulant known to cause a certain ‘high’ in the short term. However, after long term use, it ceases to be a stimulant and then becomes a toxin of some sort. Short term effects include increased itchiness, irritation and aggressive behaviour. The long term effects are the more serious ones. Here are some of the more life-threatening effects of black tar heroin:

1. Addiction 

The brain depends on substances known as neurotransmitters to elicit specific responses. Feelings such as happiness and sadness are results of high or low concentrations of neurotransmitters. 

Dopamine is one of many neurotransmitters released in the brain. It binds to receptors and triggers a response that elicits feelings of happiness and euphoria. Black tar heroin works just like dopamine and even binds to its receptors. This is why heroin is also associated with euphoria. 

However, after prolonged use, the body becomes dependent on dopamine to feel any form of happiness. Since the brain can’t produce enough dopamine for the addicted individual, addiction sets in.

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2. Botulism 

Botulism is a severe infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Due to its relatively unprocessed nature, black tar heroin may carry the clostridium bacteria. Once in the body, the bacteria releases it’s toxins: Botulinum toxins. These toxins affect respiratory and skeletal muscles by causing paralysis. Paralysis of respiratory muscles then ultimately leads to death as a result of suffocation. 

Early detection of botulism is the best form of treatment. However, botulism is rarely diagnosed early because heroin users disregard the signs.

3. Mental Disorders 

Almost all individuals who are diagnosed with heroin addiction also differ from a mental disorder. It is not clear what issue develops first, but substance abuse often comes first. The diseases usually become even more apparent once individuals try to stop using the drug. 

The most common mental illnesses are depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Depression is more common in women addicts than it is in men. For patients to stop experiencing such illnesses, they must use the drug, thus making addiction a vicious cycle.

Treatment of Black Tar Heroin Addiction

Treatment of black tar heroin is primarily a medical procedure that takes about 30-90 days. The duration of treatment usually depends on patient compliance and how long the patient has been an addict. 

Nonmedical treatment programs are not advisable due to the debilitating side effects of heroin withdrawal. If not done correctly, heroin addiction treatment could be fatal because of the withdrawal process. Patients need to be guided appropriately, especially during the first ten days of treatment. 

Recovering addicts also need medication that addresses mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. This can only be achieved in a medical setting.

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AmHealth Behavioral is a facility in California that specializes in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. We have numerous facilities that cater to all sorts of individual needs. All our addiction therapists are certified professionals with years of experience in the field.

Here is a list of some of our facilities:

  • 310 RECOVERY: 310 recovery is a  program that involves both inpatient and outpatient treatment. Our treatment plan involves first discovering the patient’s life history and what led up to addiction. Using this information, we then address mental health issues that may have caused the addiction. Our team comprises addiction specialists and therapists that guide patients through treatment.
  • Overland IOP: Here, we believe that good mental health is the first step to any sort of healing. We address the various psychological issues such as anxiety and depression, that may drive an individual to drug use. Patient treatment plans are curated to best suit each patient according to individual needs. Our patients also take part in group therapy and case management meetings as a holistic community.
  • Novo detox: Novo detox is an inpatient treatment facility for patients suffering alcohol and drug addiction. Treatment here starts with a 5-10 day medically supervised treatment for withdrawal symptoms. After treatment, the patient then resides in the facility for about a month. During this time, they attend group, family and individual therapy to help them recover fully. At Novo detox, the patient can expect 5- star treatment which even includes a private chef.
  • The Bluffs Sober Living: This is a facility that serves as a home for people recovering from addiction. We provide all the things that make up a home, such as food and a place to rest. All our residents are part of a warm and loving community: a key ingredient when recovering from addiction.

Final Word

A lot of things may drive one to drug use. Sometimes it’s never as a result of bad decisions but just unfortunate circumstances. Black tar heroin is a dangerous drug. A lot of addicts don’t usually know how strong it is until they’re hooked onto it. Getting the right form of treatment is the first step to a better and more productive life. 

AmHealth Behavioral is the right place for anyone looking to make a new start. We are still admitting patients even during the Coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever, addiction patients need treatment. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you or your loved one.

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