Heroin Detox

Heroin Detox

Heroin addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome. The heroin abuser ’s nervous system becomes accustomed to accommodating chronic exposure to the drug, which is an opioid. Therefore, during heroin detoxification excruciating withdrawal symptoms are ubiquitous.

Withdrawal symptoms begin within 12 hours of not using and peak after two to four days. The symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Insomnia
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Sniffing
  • Sneezing
  • Weakness
  • Irritability

Even though there have been improvements in medically supervised heroin detoxification, patient discomfort and high dropout rates exist today. This has led to the growth of ultra-rapid, anesthesia-assisted opioid withdrawal procedures, which have been publicized as a fast, painless way to withdraw from opioid.

Studies have also shown however, that the procedure can lead to risk of death, psychosis, increased stress, delirium, attempted suicide, abnormal heart rhythm and acute renal failure. The anesthesia method comes at a high price between $5,000 and $15,000.

Francis Moraes wrote in The Little Book of Heroin, that there are three important brain chemicals or neurotransmitters that relate to heroin. First, dopamine helps to control human appetites for both food and sex. If a person has large quantities of dopamine they are considered out-going and exuberant. Persons who suffer with Parkinson’s disease and depression are said to have too little dopamine. On the other hand, people suffering from schizophrenia have too much.

First, heroin causes a release of dopamine. Second, norepinephrine controls the sympathetic nervous system: nerves of the body that cannot be voluntarily controlled. This neurotransmitter stabilizes blood pressure so that it does not get too low. The brain’s release of norepinephrine stimulates the fight or flight response. But heroin suppresses the middle part of the brain called the locus coeruleus and therefore provides the user with feelings of safety and contentment. Third, endorphines, which are morphine-like chemicals, used by the body to modulate mood, promote pleasure, and manage reactions to stress. These three chemicals are exaggerated or heightened by heroin use.

There are several forms of heroin detoxification including opioid agonist drugs, such as Methadone, Levo-Alpha-Acetylmethadol (LAAM), or Buprenorphine; Clonidine, which blocks some withdrawal symptoms; ultra-rapid opioid detox under anesthesia; and an experimental method using the drug Lofexidine. Opioid agonist drugs act like heroin but do not provide the same high and are administered in gradually decreasing doses. Since these medications act like heroin there are no withdrawal symptoms.

Clonidine can be administered by a transdermal patch, which gives the drug constantly over a seven- day period. Patients using the patch should also take Clonidine orally for the first two days since the transdermal medications takes two days to reach a steady effectiveness. Clonidine causes hypotension and sedation and therefore blood pressure monitoring is essential.

Ultra-rapid detox is done under general anesthesia with intubations for six to eight hours. During this time a combination of drugs, usually naltrexone and Clonidine are administered. Lofexidine, a non-addictive drug brought to the market in 1992, is a centrally acting alpha-2 adrenergic agonist targeted for relief of opiate withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms continue to be the greatest obstacle in heroin detoxification treatment. Studies concur that there is no proof that one detoxification treatment is better than another. Relapses continue to occur in numerous cases around the world therefore making heroin detoxification a monster of an addiction. Statistics show that the average heroin addict will stop and start detox 10 to 25 times in their lifetime relapsing to heroin use every time.

Heroin Detoxification Involves:
  1. Admitting there is a problem
  2. Seeking medical help
  3. Staying focused on the goal
  4. Rehabilitation
  5. Treatment through a continuing program.

All facts conclude that there is no easy cure nor guarantee that relapse will not occur. The determination of the patient and support through family, friends, physicians or other sources must accompany the detoxification process. Long-term treatments that are drug-free or use medications as part of the treatment are useful in detoxification. Solutions for Recovery Sights, “the best-documented drug-free treatments are the therapeutic community residential programs lasting at least 3 to 6 months.”

Many times, although not physically dependent on heroin, psychological cravings will overcome the former user throwing him or her into relapse. Overseas studies have proven that detoxification does not work alone in the treatment process.


  1. Columbia University Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute. Researchers illustrate severe risk in popular procedure, identify safer procedure. Study finds rapid heroin detoxification procedure under anesthesia does not work and can result in death. Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) 24 August 2005.
  2. Moraes, Francis. The Little Book of Heroin Berkeley, CA: RONIN Publishers, 2000.
  3. Rabinowitz, Jonathan, Hagit Cohen and Moshe Kotler. Outcomes of ultrarapid opiate detoxification combined with naltrexone maintenance and counseling. Psychiatr Serv 49:831-833, June 1998.
  4. http://www.abc.net.au/health/regions/features/heroin/links
  5. Health Matters, ABC, 2006.
  6. http://www.solutions4recovery.com/heroin_addiction.htm

Topic Discussion

  1. Addict

    I personally lived through 5 years of IV heroin use. I tried to detox at home multiple times with no lasting success. In my opinion the most successful way to get over the addiction is to goto a medical detox and then follow that up with rehab directly after it. A great medical detox facility is called Novus which is located in Florida. If you or anyone you know is suffering from addiction please visit www.novusdetox.com

    • Addict


  2. Addict

    My son is a 17 yr old heroin addict. He was willing to participate in two different out patient programs, both were gravely inadequate in addressing the needs for a successful recovery.
    He was overly confident of his ability to overcome this addiction. We tried a cold turkey method that was as hard on me, as a mom, watching how violently ill he was for about 5 days. It too was not successful.
    He knew he needed help, but hadnt reached the notorious 'rock bottom'. After he spent an entire nite prowling the dark back alleys in search of anything he could take to a scrap yard to get cash....he woke me that morning, he finally admitted that he needed to go inpatient. There was NO delay, for fear he'd change his mind. Within 30 mins we were out of the house and on the road to detox facility...
    In my opinion, it needs to be the childs choice. SOme parents disagree and that's okay.
    My personal feeling is that ...until YOUR CHILD is absolutely ready (meaning that THEY have admitted , that they need help), don't waste your time, energy and money by forcing into any program. Just keep loving them and do all you can to keep them talking with you and keep them safe. Its too easy to fly under the radar, do what they are expected to do, and then be discharged. Maybe you'll be lucky and they will devote their life to recovery.....but for some....they just go thru the motions, because they had to go for treatment and when then return home, nothing has changed .Don't be surprised if they relapse.
    There is a really amazing recovery facility called Rosecrance. In Rockford, IL.
    My son is alive and life is good.

  3. Addict

    Letting a 17 year old decide if he or she is ready for treatment is child neglect. A 17 year old is legally stil a child. An intervention IS MANDATORY if you are a responsible parent.

    • Addict

      you obviously know NOTHING about addiction. no matter how many intervention you put your child or anyone through if there are not ready to get clean it will not happen. come out of fantasy land and be realistic. i was an Oxycontin addict and later became a heroin addict since i was 17 and my parent put me through treatment three times wasting thousands and thousands of dollars.when i was ready to get clean and face everything that i had done, i came to them and i am still clean today. do you know what percentage of people forced into rehab stay clean,less than two percent. you probably think that judgment,punishment and cutting your child off would be effective too. well you are wrong making someone more stressed,scared,ashamed and showing them no real understanding or support will drive them to use more. i relapsed every time my friends and family did this to me.showing them unconditional love,and support will be more likely to show them they are still loved and have things to build on.why even try to get clean if your family feels this way, you basically don't have a family. addicts are more hurt,ashamed and scared than u are of them. telling them u feel the same way they feel about themselves ans their abilities will end in them saying fuck it,recovery is the hardest thing to go through and i cant do it without support.they hate me and i hate me so i am obviously not worth it. plus the only time u can get away from the hurtful things people say to u is when ur high, u either don't think about anything or don't care.u need to grow some compassion and knowledge. everyone is different and your way is not the only or right way

    • Addict

      Ok let me start off with letting you know that what you said is stupid, yes a parent has every right to force their minor into rehab but if they didn't want to quit they will come out of rehab and start using again. So its just a waste of time and money. You can't force a heroin addict to stop, they stop when they want to stop.

    • Addict

      You are so sadly mistaken! A 17 year old in mosts states (Michigan) is considered an adult. I tried my hardest to get my daughter into a rehab and was told over and over. Unless your daughter is in legal trouble there's nothing we can do, admission is voluntary. So here we are, she is now 18 and we have been going down this long road of drug abuse for 13 months and I pray that she gets into some legal trouble or can hit rock bottom to want to seek treatment for herself, not for me. She is using benzoids, heroin, cocaine, morphine, pot, and prescription pills...her drug of choice right now is heroin. 10 years ago I watched her father walk down this same path and he ultimately died of a heroin overdose. It makes me sad to see a system that is so broken and how these drugs change people and literally take over there lives and the lives of those that try to take care of them. I feel like drugs are taking over my life through her.

    • Addict

      Speaking from experience it doesn't matter if you're 17 or 70,the person has got to want it they have to want to quit or you're just going through the motions and nothing gets accomplished.

    • Addict

      WRONG. Try again. Telling an opiate addict that they "need" to stop taking opiates is like telling someone on fire they don't really "need" to jump into a swimming pool. You would simply be wasting your time and breath. While interventions can and do serve a purpose anyone who thinks that because a group of people, yes even extremely important people ( to the addicted person ) will be able to just tell an addict that they are hurting themselves ( something which they are already quite aware of I assure you ) and that the best thing to do would be to "just say no" is fooling themselves into believing something which is ridiculous to expect. As a recovering addict I already know that opiate addiction is the "king" of all addictions. 100% of an addicted person's brain power, i.e. hoping, planning, plotting, scheming, learning about Latin shorthand, learning about the methods and tactics of the medical industry and even the drug enforcement agencies methods for controlling substances and the veritable unending methods of obtaining opiates in a society in which they are "the enemy." A true addict will use every last gram of their god-given intelligence to manipulate the world around them to obtain opiates. The intelligence level of the addict usually is a direct reflection of the creativity of the "manipulation.".
      Being and existing in the world of addiction is a whole different reality for many people. The opinion that someone can be "pursuaded" to stop taking opiates once they are already addicted is ludicrous and smacks of never actually having experience dealing with a real-world addicted person.

    • Addict

      Most treatment facilities, in or out patient will not take anyone no matter their age unless they are willing. There are not enough available spaces for them to waste on people who truly aren't ready to stop When my son was 15 he was arrested by the police and became violent and was brought to the local psych ward They gave him a choice, rehab or stay here-so he chose rehab-but the burden was on me to find a facility, they interview the prospective patient on the phone to see if they are willing -of course he wasnít, I somehow got through to the woman in charge of addiction services in New Jersey and she found a spot for him, my husband and I woke him in the morning and said lets go. It took him about 3 days to figure out if he got in a fight they'd kick him out So he threw a punch and they called and told me to come get him. When he was 17, 2 years ago, he finally asked for help. I was so happy because I had become desperate to get him help before he turned 18 and I felt I would have absolutely no control, although I was kidding myself, I had long since lost control. Wanting to seize the opportunity I started calling rehabs both residential and outpatient. I live in N.J. and I could not find any that could take him immediately within a 400 mile radius. Correction, I found a few, unfortunately, there were other students from his very small high school already undergoing treatment and they would not accept him if they were of even slight acquaintances. Additionally many rehabs will not take minors. A month after we started searching he started a IOP, of course he was using again by then, failed all drug tests, and was arrested for possession of heroin 10 minutes after leaving a NA meeting[ mandatory because of IOP] I called the police in our small town to get him removed from my home-because he was a minor that was not possible, but the officer made calls to help, we ended up dealing with DYFS, they had the police bring him to the mental health section of a hospital, where I sat with him for 2 days, because they could not find a spot for him in rehab, they eventually sent him to a juvenile psych ward, where he detoxed on meds. Meanwhile his IOP found him a spot in inpatient rehab starting a week later. WE took my son out of the psych hospital, and went and stayed in a hotel by the facility until he could be admitted. Our insurance covered 30 days and that was a struggle. We paid co-pay and deductible and they counted his week of psych care in the 30 days. 30 days is a joke, I think a addict needs 6 months away at least. My son did great there, we drove 7 hours roundtrip every week to see him, when he came home he immediately went back to IOP for 60 days until he graduated over 90 days clean. Guess what he did then? Started using twice he has had people in our house overdose; I didnít even know they were in my home, they didn't die and they didnít stop using. My son has no door on his room, I removed it when he was still in the pot stage 6 years ago, and no one is allowed in my home, yet even as adults they sneak in. I stay up until 4 in the morning to watch my home. I never allowed him to get his driverís license at 17, for his safety and others. . His best friend died at 16 from a methadone overdose. There is only one thing that has control over my son, not his families love, not his siblings well-being, not his concern for the stress on our family, not his own safety{he's had a gun held to his head, and his teeth broken]. Heroin controls everything. His addiction has made him a thief, a liar, a HS dropout, a manipulator, a criminal. His whole life since he was 15 has revolved around staying high. We have done inpatient, outpatient, we have kicked him out of our home for months {he slept outside-even in the snow], I walk the line between trying to keep him alive and trying not to enable him. I called the police to my home many times when he was still a minor begging for help, except for that one time, they told me they couldn't help me till he was 18 and I got a restraining order to keep him out.. He started suboxone last Fri. I keep it on me and dispense it to him and stand there while it dissolves in his mouth. My fear is that as someone who has been addicted since he was 15, he really hasn't lived any other way. Does he know any other life? What does he tell himself he has lost-he never achieved anything? He hasn't lost a wife-girlfriend children-job. I am exhausted mentally and physically, I'm dealing with him and trying to raise my other children. I am a responsible parent. Addiction is addiction no matter what they are addicted to, the addict has to make the decision, whether to stop drinking, using drugs, gambling, eating whatever. If they don't want it, it will never stop. I have been fighting this on my sonís behalf for 5 years, but until he starts to fight it, I can never win. So you are not an irresponsible parent if your 17year old decides they don't want treatment. By all means stage an inte

  4. Addict

    That's B.S. M. Perry...no addict, regardless of age, can overcome opiate addiction if they are not ready. The medical community hasn't realized the severity of the recurrence of this addiction. Please folks...look into Suboxone....Methadone is a joke....Suboxone seemed almost like a miracle cure to me after a 5-day detox...also...and this is the tough part...a relocation...I moved 1500 miles away, but anything to take the addict away from what they know is good. And YES, I am an addict...Just passed 2 years clean....=)

    • Addict

      Just because you couldn't do the methadone program right and it didn't work for you doesn't mean its a joke. i am five years clean and i went through an awesome methadone maintenance program in Washington that saved my life. Seattle has many recovery programs with random UA's, intensive counseling, many resources and safe detox. if u aren't abusing the medication by getting to high of a dose(all u have to do is stop upping ur dose when u feel normal,not upping until ur high) and u are participating in ur recovery the only reason u would go through bad withdrawal is u were breaking the rules or not doing anything but getting dosed. suboxone programs are way easier to cheat on,i know i tried that first,plus suboxone does not work for heroin addicts,it's a fucking joke!

      • Addict

        Jessica from Washington state, I would love to chat with you as I have an adult son in Washington state that is having a hard time right now and he is a good kid with lots of talent and I would like to help him help himself. I am of the belief that the Methadone program works as well if done properly. if you can email me I would love to talk to you. thank you and blessings to you - Jill in Eugene Oregon

    • Addict

      Hi. Can I detox cold turkey and then use Suboxone BRIEFLY as relief and then quit it? I MUST travel while detoxing and am afraid of being totally sick on a long distance flight... HELP Please...

  5. Addict

    I totally agree with Tru. As an addict myself, I can look back on my teenage years and truthfully say that there were thousands of dollars spent on forced treatment that I wasn't ready for. This was followed by years of self destructive behavior that affected everyone around me. As a resident of Illinois, I agree that Rosecrance, located in Rockford is an outstanding treatment facility, for those who are ready. My significant other got clean there. God willing, we will have 4 years clean tomorrow. I feel that there are many misconceptions about addiction and how to treat it. Think about it rationally, who else would know better than RECOVERING addicts? My goal is to become an addiction medicine specialist. I already have my CADC. I entered this site simply to gather statistics for my internship at a local treatment facility. I just wanted to share my thoughts..

  6. Addict

    My son is 17. This august he was pulled over and charged with a class 4 felony of possession and a class 2 of Possession with intent to distribute. I got the call at 6 am the following morning and thought it was all a nightmare that I would wake up at any moment but it was real. I broke down mentally wondering where I had gone wrong. Blaming myself that I should have known. He went to county being treated as an adult and bail was set for &35,000. $3500 of which I would have to pay. I decided to let him stay there for 50 days figuring it was the safest place for him at the time. He withdrew in his cell the hard way and it killed me hearing him call me, begging me to bail him out and I said no Believe me I wanted to go get him and have him in my arms and everyone reminded me that it would only be for a few short minutes before he would go out and score again and probably end up dead. He had been snorting for 2 months and the night he was arrested he was planning on shooting up. I think this was Gods way of saying "Its not your time yet' I sent him to a 6 month program in Manteno, Il He is doing great. he has already spoken to 2 schools regarding his situation and that usually does not happen until you are in there for at least 3 months. He did both with in 1 month. I believe god has truly blessed us with a second chance and even though we have attorney bills out the butt and stress like you can't believe, I know that everything happens for a reason. we will see what the future brings but so far I am starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Addict

      Where is this place in Il......and how much does it cost for 6 months?

      • Addict

        Linda, not sure if anyone has responded to your Dec 15th posted question "where is this place in IL? ", so I will answer it.

        ROSECRANCE: Main ph (815) 319-1000.

        The "Harrison Campus" (adult treatment)
        3815 Harrison Avenue
        Rockford, IL 61108

        The "Griffin Williamson Campus" ( Adolescent Treatment Center)
        1601 University Drive
        Rockford, IL 61107

        They also offer : "Recovery Homes" , " Homebase" , and several satellite offices in IL.
        As to the cost of treatment, they will contact your insurance company to find out what kind of coverage you may have.
        Good luck, Amelia

  7. Addict

    My daughter has relapsed. I'm scared and don't know what to do to help her. Reading your posts has certainly helped in knowing that kicking her out of the house is definitely not the right thing to do and I don't think I could do it anyway.

  8. Addict

    Good, useful site. I like it. I am a doc. For the last 2 years i have been working for Dr.Vorobiev clinic in Belgrade. We treat guys with addiction problems. Before i worked as anesthesiologist. My attitude to drug addiction was pretty skeptical. Now I think differently. Addiction is curable . Modern methods, approaches ( rapid detox, powerful pharmacological support, naltrexone therapy) let at least half of heroin addicts stay clean for the following year. It is not bad at all. It really makes difference for those who reached the bottom. I happy with my job. There are still enough disappointments. But I am sure that our work is not waste of time and efforts. Thanks to everybody for not giving up.

  9. Addict

    Good, useful site. I like it. I am a doc. For the last 2 years i have been working for Dr.Vorobiev clinic in Belgrade. We treat guys with addiction problems. Before i worked as anesthesiologist. My attitude to drug addiction was pretty skeptical. Now I think differently. Addiction is curable . Modern methods, approaches ( rapid detox, powerful pharmacological support, naltrexone therapy) let at least half of heroin addicts stay clean for the following year. It is not bad at all. It really makes difference for those who reached the bottom. I happy with my job. Still there is enough disappointment. But I am sure that our work is not waste of time and efforts. Thanks to everybody for not giving up.

    • Addict

      I'm a recovering alcoholic and addict. I think in order to be successful in recovery, at least for me, to begin a 12 step program during detox and continue daily. After a 30 day inpatient program I attended intensive outpatient for 6 months and attend 12 step meetings daily. I don't think we can ever say we are cured of addiction. I hated the " one day at a time" statement and now live by it. Never cured just in remission one day at a time. Life is so much better clean and sober. Suboxone was used in the facility I was in and had a great success rate as far as diminishing the horrible withdrawal from opiates. We are experiencing an epidemic in the northeast of heroin in the schools. It seems like the young kids have a much harder time and the mental craving is so intense many left AMA after detox. Beat up, locked up or covered up the choice is ours.

      • Addict

        I am going through detox as I type this very moment. I was a heroin addict for 1 year 8 months, but during this time period I did well over the amount most would do in 5 years. I started with snorting "beans"- combination of sleeping med and heroin. For the first couple months I would do maybe 1 or 2 every couple days, then i gradually started buying more and more every time I went back to my dealer. One day i decided I'd let my best friend in on what i was doing. That night we did 2 "beans" a piece were fading hardcore. I did not know it at the time, but realize now that this would be the start of the most destructive period of my life and his. the next day he insisted that we get some more, so i called up my dealer and bought 6, 3 a piece. Both me and my friend continued on doing this and increasing the amount every week, until we were to the point of doing 5 or 6 each every night for the next 6 months. When it came time for him to go back to college, I felt like i lost part of me. This is when everything escalated. I took it upon myself to fill the void. A month after he was gone i went to my dealer and bought 10 for myself. That night i did all 10 "beans" and felt like I had never felt before. For the next couple of months i was doing 10 to 12 "beans" a night, by the way i later found out my dealer was charging me double what they actually cost, $20 instead of $10. this meant over an 8 month period i had wasted well over $5000 dollars on my supply. When my friend returned home for break he broke the news to me that he would be leaving college and living at home again. Over the couple of weeks he was home, we started using hardcore. As weeks went by he started to question if I was holding out on him about how much i was buying for us and myself, and he had every right to. I was buying $200 a night for me and him, only giving him 6 or 7 and keeping the rest for myself. A month went by, things between us started to boil up. He eventually found his own dealer and started going to him every day. I felt somewhat betrayed, and kept using 10 to 13 "beans" a night. we would still hang out, but under different terms. We both had our own supply that was feeding our habits. I became interested in where he was getting his supply from, so I started hanging with him and his dealer buddies. This would turn out to be a smart move on my part, for not even a week later my dealer disappeared, seriously vanished, no call, no nothing. Once again i felt betrayed, so now there was only one option, my best friends dealer. For a while everything was OK, now i was doing massive amounts every night, but as time went on I started to question where my friend was going all the time. I knew he was doing shit with the dealers, but he kept it secret for some time. I eventually got in good with his dealer an went on some trips with them. This was what he was doing all this time, driving these dealers around getting free beans every time he did it. He was wasting a full tank of gas a day doing so. When we would do our supply together we would usually do it at his house cause he had a closed basement, all this shit happening right under his parents noses. A year and a half had gone by and we were both deep into it. I used to have to drive all the way to the city to get my beans, but with his dealer basically being in my back yard, I only had to drive a mile. One night i went with my friend and his dealer on a run. We came back to the dealers house and for the first time in my addiction I saw what I had hoped would never happen. The dealer pulled out a needle and shot up, he then gave the needle to my best friend, i couldn't believe what i was seeing. I had wondered why my friend was always wearing long sleeves for a month, and now I knew. I couldn't watch so I turned and faced the other way. That night when i got home was the first time in my addiction when i questioned everything I had created. The next week I confronted my friend about the whole situation. He admitted to doing it for a month and i told him i was very disappointed in his actions. Me, the one who had started this fucking shit questioning my friend shooting up when I was snorting huge amounts every night. 2 weeks later he told his parents about what he was doing with all that money they were giving him. He went to a Dr. and got on Suboxone. What he had not told the doc that day was that he had used the night before, so when he took his 1st Suboxne he went into extreme withdrawals. An ambulance was called and they took him to the hospital. He survived everything and came home and stayed on Suboxone for a month or 2. I felt horrible. I felt like I had let my friend down. For the last month of his Suboxone treatment he lent me one or two twice. I was going to follow his way and try to get myself better on my own terms. For a week or two i started to feel better. I was feeling like i didn't need Heroin anymore. Just when I thought everything was going to be fine, i relapsed. I called someone i had almost no connection to and had him get me some "beans", bad idea. The first time we both went down to the city and got high, but the second time would be far different. I met him in a parking lot and gave him the money, but this time he said I could not go with him. My brain went to high alert. I thought to myself " Is he really going to come back? Should i give him the money?" My senses said "NO!" , but the addiction said "yes". I gave him the money and never heard from him that night. I called the police and told them i had been robbed by some one who was supposed to be getting me Suboxone, bad move. The police came to my house, searched my room and told my parents about what had happened. They were disgusted with my actions. The next day we went to a therapist who gave me a script for Suboxone. For a month or 2 I was on a heavy dose of it, and we gradually lowered every time. After a year and a half of being on it I started to wonder what might happen if I snort it. It felt just like a heroin high. I kept this up for another couple of months abusing what was supposed to be healing me. Now it was as though i was doing "beans" again. I was lying about school, not attending family gatherings, and living every day just to get high. I got a job 4 months ago, worked for a month, then stopped going. I started lying about going to work every day, just focused on getting my next high from Suboxone. It has now caught up with me, everything i had done over the last 3 years was a lie. My parents started questioning about where my pay check was. they gave me a week to figure out what the hell was wrong with it. I thought about running away, I didn't want to face what was to come. I realized that i had to confront myself and my parents with what was going on with me. They were so angry with me. I am now in my 5th day of going cold turkey on Suboxone. I told my parents that I had to do this for Me, so i could prove to myself that I am strong enough to overcome all these demons i had created. They have taken mercy on me and are letting me go through with it. These symptoms are awful. Can't control my body temp, sweating all the time, almost no sleep, and the worst thing of all is the pain in my knees. It feels like something is compressing them all the time. Because of my friends life got fucked up. I wish I could go back in time and stop all of it from happening. Addicts, parents, and doctors you must find the strength in yourself to question your actions, to ask what is going on in your child's life, and ask or confront your patients on how they are taking they're meds. Suboxone can be just as bad as heroin if abused like i did. I am telling my whole story so that it may shed some light on what happens when such an evil substance becomes to much a part of someone's life. I did not just ruin my life in this process, I took my family and my best friend in the whole world down with it. I truly hope this helps anyone who reads this. I am by no means done with this. I have a long fight ahead of me. Please, if you fear someone you know is sneaking around doing heroin or any drug of choice, confront them and tell them you love them, and that we can get through this together. It is always better to step up and ask, rather than sit in the shadows watching someone kill themselves with drugs. This I'm going through is unbearable by all means, but after what I have done to my friends, and my family it is the only way i see to stop this madness in my life. If you have any suggestions on the knee pains I am open to try what ever.

        • Addict


          After reading your story my heart just melted for you. I can feel you just pouring your heart out. I do believe you you being completely and brutally honest will help with your recovery. Trying to quit cold turkey can be dangerous so please be careful. If you believe that quitting cold turkey is the best option for you then I do wish you the best of luck. I am happy to know your parents are standing beside you as I know this cannot be easy for them either.

          I just want you to know I pray that you are safe while going through your withdrawals and I hope this time you are able to get clean and live a happy, healthy, life free of this evil addiction. I also want to say to your parents stay strong. I know this is not easy on you but Goose knowing you are there will definitely help. I really do wish you all the best and please keep us informed on how you are doing.

          It takes a strong person to be so honest and that also tells me that you are a good person with a great heart.

          Wishing Yo The Best

  10. Addict

    ALWAYS show KINDNESS to an addict.... YOU ARE THEIR ONLY CONNECTION TO THE "REAL WORLD." If you are kind to them, they will think, "Hey, the real world isn't so bad!" And they will feel hope about getting clean.... I AM A "RECOVERED" heroin addict...... when my father refused to talk to me and was mean to me it only made me feel even MORE hopeless/helpless and drove me to use more... DO NOT try and enhance the negative feelings in an addict that they are already using because of... (example, ashamed, regret, sad, guilt) Treat them like a friend... LOVE goes VERY FAR.

  11. Addict

    God bless you Brittany, (and all of you in recovery that left posts here). It breaks my heart to hear about the young people that are 'dissed' by their own parents. Its an excellent way to enhance feelings of hopelessness. Whatever happened to unconditional love?.. of your OWN children?

    Just imagine a young life that takes a 'wrong turn' into a world where drugs quickly become their obsession. This is an ugly and dangerous place. One that steals self esteem / self respect, responsibilities...a place where guilt, shame and disappointment prevail.... and hope fades quickly.

    If a child reaches out to you, consider it a blessing. They are alive and they need you. Recovery is something that the entire family is a part of. And IT DOES WORK!!

    My 17 yr old son is now 4 1/2 months clean of heroin. I admit that it was a living hell prior to his admission to detox. Looking back, it likely will be the darkest days for all of us.

    During his active using days, there were very few arguments or embitterment. ( during his recovery he confirmed my suspicion. That if home became a battle ground he would have taken off ).I struggled to hold on to him. To let him know that no matter what, I would stand by him. He was relatively honest and actually ended up hanging around at home the majority of the time. ( this worked out great because it eliminated many sleepless nights envisioning him overdosed in an alley) By the grace of God our mutual love and respect continued to exist. And when that day came when he admitted he needed help, we were out the door and en route to detox inside 30 minutes.

    As frustrating as these situations can be, don't lose hope. Seek it & gather up as much as you can. Hold on tight until they're ready for detox. Yes, I did say until THEY ARE READY for detox. When a decision to seek treatment is not self imposed you likely are in for a great disappointment ( and huge financial loss). It need be a heartfelt commitment of sobriety in order to be successful. If someone you love is using.....spare the anger ... hold them close and offer hope instead. Better this than to lose them forever. Blessings to all.... Amelia

  12. Addict

    My son just moved from Arizona to Tennessee yesterday. I knew he had an addiction but did not know how bad it had become until this morning. He went from Oxycodone, to Meth, to Methadone, to prison for 2 years for violating his probation (possession), back to Oxycodone, then Methadone, kicked the Methadone without help, then finally 3 months ago he began using heroin, i.v. He finally admitted the extent of his addiction today and asked me to help him. He wants to kick this on his own and I am not sure that is wise. It has been 25 hours since he last used. I searched all of his belongings and he has no drugs or paraphernalia. We live out in the country and I have his vehicle keys, wallet, and phone. He gave them to me. What do I need to be aware of? Right now he is restless, his body aches, and he is nausea.

    • Addict

      Tnmom...... I feel your pain....and can truthfully say this because I have been there. If you read some of my earlier posts, you will then know my story. My 17 yr old son is a recovering heroin addict. He was admitted to a detox facility the day he hit the notorious "rock bottom". That day was Oct 2, 2010 and today he is still in recovery at a "recovery home". He's back in high school, on the honor roll. He looks amazingly healthy. Has a genuine smile, one which I hadn't seen for too many yrs. He's got color, vitality and a life filled with dreams.
      But....it wasn't too long ago that I was in the same place you are with your very sick "baby boy". I say baby because after such prolonged chemical abuse and destructive life style, when they hit that wall ( of wanting to stop drugs) they become frightened and dependent on the one that has loved them thru it all. Normally a mom, but it could be anyone that has not shut them out of their life.
      He is sick! My son insisted he could quit heroin twice cold turkey and I was at his side both times for many days and many hrs. These kids are truly sick when their bodies are not being fed the drugs that have helped them to feel normal. Some of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal include restlessness, insomnia , anxiety, irritability, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, sweating, chills, and runny eyes and nose. For my son it was the GI symptoms, sweating/chills and RESTLESSNESS. As his mom ( and I actually am a RN, but when its your child, that you love, its the mom in you that reacts 1st) the worst part for me to witness was restlessness. I felt so helpless in trying to calm him.
      Detoxing at hm with family, is tough. We tried it twice.....obviously it didn't work the 1st time, hence the second trial....and eventually he asked to go to detox.
      Detox may likely be the toughest thing a person faces in their life, but doing it with trained staff that provide care for him 24hr a day ,may be something to consider. They have doctors that can order meds to help alleviate the awful withdrawal symptoms. They will offer continuation of rehab options to help him remain successful at his new life of sobriety. Whether he remains home or in a facility, all communities have an abundance of recovery support that he needs to dedicate himself to...as do you. Al Anon is a wonderful support organization that you, the one there to encourage him...and the one whose life has also been affected by his abuse. It will help you re balance your life and assure you that you are not alone in this situation.
      My heart knows your present pain.....but don't give up. Find professional support for your son and for you as well. You have started a new endeavor, a tough one, but in the end., life will be so peaceful and rewarding. Stay strong and hang on for another day....each day will get easier if you find professionals to help you and your son. One day this too shall be behind you and you and your son will have a special bond. ......one day at a time
      Warm regards, Amelia

    • Addict

      Although the physical cravings will be gone within a few days and he will feel and look much better, the psychological cravings will still linger for quite a while. Often times the addict, and the "caretaker" trust too soon that they are "better" and relapse occurs. Especially now that they "know" they can quit any time with a few days of physical anguish - they now think they have control over it. Get him into counseling and keep him there for at least a year.

  13. Addict

    My 14year old went into detox and rehab this week. I am so terribly scared for him. He wants the help and he wants to stay in rehab. I am so grateful that is the case. But he is so young I can barely believe this is happening. He is addicted to heroin. Once he is out of rehab we will be sending him to intensive outpatient 3xweekly for the next 6-12 months. I am so afraid he will die. I can barely function. We are committed to doing what it takes. Please please pray for him.

    • Addict

      Dear Liza.....Please know that I WILL be praying for your precious( and very sick ) son, you and all of the friends and family that love your "baby boy". This is likely THE most difficult time for your son, and your family. It truly is terrifying trying to accept the hard cold fact that your child is a heroin addict. And....is an addict for the rest of his life. Addiction is a disease that doesn't discriminate. Sadly 14 is not all that uncommon for heroin addicts, nor would be age 50. Makes no difference if one is rich or poor, strong faith or no faith, private school or hm school or no school. It is highly addictive and there is no typical addict.
      God bless you for finding him help. That IS the perhaps what saved his life. Unfortunately, because he is relatively young ( but by no means the youngest and certainly not alone) THIS detox/rehab/new life will need to become his only goal. Actively working on his sobriety thru a well structured treatment program IS the answer to your prayers.
      Please read some of the earlier posts here. And I urge you to find a more comprehensive inpatient program for your boy. My son too is a heroin addict. Had used for approx 3 yrs, tried cold turkey a few times, several outpatient programs ( and wasted an unbelievable amount of money) From high hopes....to thundering disappointments of relapses. It ruined my marriage, my younger son is being treated for depression & affects of the abuse/bullying from his older brothers wrath while actively using.
      My son was admitted to detox Oct 2,2010. He is in a neighboring state and transitioned into a residential treatment center( living in a very structured, professionally staffed home. Working the program, going to sch etc. ) He has only returned to our home for 36 hrs at Christmas time HE LIVES there and Need's to be there. Fortunately, I am able to visit him a few hrs on a Sat or Sun. From there, he will transition to college. IT is NOT the life I had dreamed of, but HE IS ALIVE. and is an amazing honest healthy young man...
      Please know I will pray for you for as long as you need prayers, and I am NOT trying to frighten you. But, I know YOU too want your boy to be alive and clean. Take an hr or so and read the above posts. SO many great people have shared there stories and in them......you WILL find a solution for your precious son.
      ( if you call some of the inpatient long term treatment centers, they are very creative in finding funding and grants for families that need it)
      You are an AMAZING loving mom.....you are doing the best you can, and more than that is not expected of you. Wishing God speed in finding the right path for this new adventure.
      Warm regards, Amelia

      • Addict

        Amelia- my beautiful 27 yr old daughter who is a heroin addict - and has been in multiple treatment situations has relapsed. I had thought that the best thing to do was to turn my back and FORCE her to hit rock bottom. She is currently involved in some VERY scary/dangerous things and as a mom I just don't know what to do. I do NOT want to see her dead but the reality of the situation is that THAT just might happen. She has left me few voice-mail messages and I truly want to be there for her once again (even though she has burned me SO many times she is STILL my oldest daughter - I just don't know what the right answer is.......I don't have a lot of monetary resources and she does not have insurance....what is the best way to seek help????

  14. Addict

    I am the younger sister of a once recovered, now relapsed heroin addict. I don't know all the details but I do know that my brother was an addict nearly 10 years ago and swore off the drug until about 6-8 months ago. His girlfriend asked him to quit and he called me asking for help. He is arriving at the airport tomorrow and I am basically facilitating his detox here at home with our mom and dad. He trusts me and listens to what I have to say, but I've done my research and I know that my, or anyone's, words are not going to get through to him in the intense moments of detox(depending on the moment of course). My question...to whomever wants to hash this out with me...is what is my best method of keeping him calm. I want to do the very best I can, without drugs, to help him through this. I love my brother very much, as do my parents, so is there anything I can tell him or give him or do for him that will help in those times of real need? I'm reaching out about this for the first time in our lives. Is there anyone that can help me?

  15. Addict

    Libby, by now you have likely already confronted your brother regarding his need for detox. And..... you likely were met with denial and resistance. He probably minimized his "usage" and may have even tried to convince you and your parents that he stopped using once before and he can and will do it again, when he is ready. He may have even had excuses as to why he has been using. Addicts are very good at minimizing their drug problem and will try to convince others that they can quit whenever they want. Given his history of earlier yrs of sobriety may help his argument, in his eyes.
    I hope I am wrong and that instead your intervention went well and that right now he is in a detox/recovery program. If he is not, that is exactly where he needs to be. You, your parents and others can love and support him, but the best way to help him is to get him into a professional recovery program.
    In order to help you and your parents to better understand his addiction, attend some local Al Anon meetings. You will be amazed at the amount of support that is waiting there for you.

  16. Addict

    Hi everyone, I have a 22 yr old son who has been addicted to pills he has been in 2 rehabs.and detoxed himself once...He also was taking Suboxin, which to me his Dr. would not change his dose not even after 1 yr. I believe this Dr. was in it just for the money...Well today he asked me for help again..This time he is using heroin IV. I have been trying all day to get him into a Detox center, they are all full. Plus when he is done they only allow them in rehab for 2 weeks...what is that..he has no ins. What is wrong with this Country, they have no funding to help our kids, but we can help everyone else out....I am so sick of it..If anyone has any suggestions please let me know, I will take him anywhere...I live in NJ. I have already almost lost my house once for paying for all of this, I have no more money, but yet I need to help my son....

    • Addict

      Dear Lori and others,
      I DID lose my house due to my (then) 17yr old son and his IV heroin addiction. But....today HE IS clean. Clean for nearly 11 mos.
      He is also STILL IN THE RECOVERY PROGRAM, the same one he was admitted to on Oct 2, 2010.
      The TWO weeks of detox time they are allowing your son is an outrage. Heroin is not anything to take lightly. It is the most addictive/ dangerous ( and sadly very cheap) recreational drug.
      Way too many young people are blinded by its power. Sadly. I personally know of 5 young men and one sweet girl. thru my son, that overdosed and were beyond rescue.

      When I look back at the amt of money he shot up his arm, ( approx $30,000 he has admitted to) I cant help but think of how many mortgage payments that could have been for my small modest house. And you know what? It doesn't matter to me at all. MY SON IS ALIVE AND INCREDIBLY HEALTHY. the money, home etc is so insignificant. So when your 22 yr old son IS in detox program,, and IF it becomes too late to save your home.... count your blessings. That being your sons sobriety.
      Please read my earlier postings... regarding the amazing treatment center in Rockford, IL. I provided all of their contact and program info here on Feb 13th.
      There are no words for me to express the gratitude and the respect I have for the progressive programs and staff at Rosecrance..
      Lori I pray you will revisit here and read the wonderful posts that so many supportive people leave here, I have found warm caring supportive people here.....you WILL too! .Never lose hope, there is help for him.

      "Keep it simple", just start making many calls in your area and neighboring states... insist your son be helped. And call IL, if they cant help, they likely will give you direction. Blessings, Amelia.

  17. Addict

    Moonbeam and others....Do not turn your back on these very sick addicts, Keep them near and remind them that you LOVE them. Of course they already know that you do not approve of their drug use, so no need to continually remind them. They are SICK and yeah, doing great harm to themselves, but wouldn't it be best for both of you to stay connected? I think you both would sleep better if you knew she was alive and if she knew that you haven't given up on her.
    Continue to offer hope. Remind her that there is a future waiting for her....and that she WILL get to those brighter days.
    The first time she tried heroin was likely the most amazing thing ever. Does she realize that no matter how frequently she use, or who she buys it from, or what shirt she wears, or the dose she increases to, that she will NEVER get that 1st time high again? REMIND her of this.
    The heroin addiction frustrates the user. They are driven to feel the way they did once or maybe twice....but in their panic to get there again, they end up dose increasing until eventually the reach beyond the maximum amount for their body... ending in overdose.
    Have you tried intervention? They do work well if you have an effective facilitator.
    Continue to offer hope. If you can talk quietly and lovingly to her when she is in very early withdrawal state ( when she is coming down from the drug, but not in full blown symptomatic detox) try to talk to her. Avoid the drama of yelling and screaming, because it falls on deaf ears.
    Keep the faith and offer hope....she just may hear your words.
    As for no insurance, I do know that some states do have funding avail for substance abuse rehab. I wish I could tell you exactly which ones, but I cant. I know WI has no state funding. Some private facilities have endowment funds as well as some type of "grant" money avail.
    Get to work on line ( maybe have family and friends help you) and find out which states have funding. Some states also have a mandatory dollar amt they need to absorb for these services..Don't delay. You've got some work to do, but when she is settled into a detox facility, and you know she is in good hands, then you can rest.. Amelia

  18. Addict

    There IS HOPE. You may want to read my earlier posts to understand my excitement.....and hopefully be encouraged.
    In Oct of 2010 I left my then 17yr old son, in another state at a detox facility for heroin addiction.
    He had lost about 70lbs so was literally skin and bones. He had no skin tone...just an ominous pasty white tone. To look into his eyes was likely one of the scariest things of all. There was no sparkle...there was NOBODY behind them. Certainly not MY boy. All I could think of is he's walking dead. Hope? On that day, did I have any? Honestly, if I did, it wasn't much.
    Now it's June of 2012. He's 19yrs old,. My son is definitely behind is blue eyes! It was not easy. Actually if you were to ask him, he may say it was hell. I know it was huge to get to where he is., but. I know he'd tell u it is worth it.
    He moved back to our home state. Has an apartment and a job. Is enrolled in nursing school this fall. He bought a car and has new sober friends. He has color and muscles and bet of all is that sparkle in his eyes. I saw his smile which had disappeared for nearly five yrs.
    He's back.!! I'm not even sure if this post will ever be found or read by anyone...but I had to leave it. Even if only one desperate mom stumble s upon it, and that's it. If our experience offers only a tiny spark of hope to her, I've succeeded.
    Watching a child, or anyone you love, be ripped away from their world by heroin makes ones feel so helpless.
    Please find help and never lose hope.
    God bless, Amelia

    • Addict

      Thank you for the hope. My brother is about 13 years into hardcore drug addiction (primarily heroin, meth, crack, prescription meds, and pot). After about a month of some very positive changes, including finally admitting himself into a really awesome treatment center July 3rd, I found out he was lying to me and getting high the whole time, and walked right out in search of a high almost as soon as he went in. Hope is the thing we all need right now. I know he needs love, and I do love him; but I don't even know what I can do for him besides just letting him know he can talk to me if he wants to. Two days ago he was crying on my shoulder, telling me that he loved me, and right now (although I'm sure he feels ashamed and guilty about betraying me again), he is bitter and mad at me, saying I just think I'm high and mighty and that he is scum. As often is the case, there is a little truth in every lie. I love him and want my brother/friend back, but I am scared to talk to him and help him anymore. The hope you give helps, as I am struggling to feel an ounce of it right now.

  19. Addict

    I am the mother or a young adult who is addicted to heroin. I appreciate all of the comments and of course we all have our own stories to share. My child is 22, does not live at home, lives in his friend's car and still has a loving relationship with me, my husband and his sisters. I believe this is because we will not allow him to live with us at this time, due to problems with this in the past. Living with us only provided a comfortable place to use. My strength comes from my own faith, which I have to renew each day, and my own program. Addiction is a family disease and I am an enabler. I have gained tremendous strength and my own self esteem from NarAnon and AlAnon and highly recommend these programs. They are to me what NA and AA are to those who are seeking recovery. God Bless.

  20. Addict

    I have been with my boyfriend for about 2 years now and about 6 months into our relationship I found out he was a heroin addict. I myself have using problems and other issues that keep me from telling him I can't take him to get his fix or give him money for it. I know I am an extreme enabler and feel absolutely sick about it and myself .but I am to terrified to leave him for he may die or go on the streets, disappear, or do horrible things to get money for his habit....with me being submissive to this issue his addiction is growing every day larger and larger amounts I am so terrified I'm going to find him overdosed in the bathroom one day I don't know what to do..6 years ago my father shot himself on accident in front of me (he was extremely intoxicated) and I think this one act and many more before that disables me from being someone who can help and not hinder. Please do not respond if it's to be cruel or judge I honestly need some good helpful advice. Sincerely please help

  21. Addict

    Please Help - You need to go to AL Anon. It's very helpful. I have a friend whom I worry about incessantly - he is a heroin addict, in and out of recovery. I am dealing with some serious codependent Ė Al Aanon issues. But the truth is Please help - we can't help them. We are completely powerless over the disease of addiction. Until the addict is ready and willing to really enter a program and trust the group (Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous) really there is nothing that we can do- but unconditionally love them - and help them understand that it is okay to tell the truth about their using. Addicts feel so much shame. It's what drives their addiction.

  22. Addict

    There is medication called Naltrexone that blocks the effects of opioid drugs. It's been even used in alcohol addiction treatment. In my opinion, it's the only remedy that really works in maintaining abstinence. There are pills, injections and pellets.

Leave a comment


To protect the integrity of our site all comments are reviewed prior to being shown, we apologize for the small delay, but this brings a better experience for our readers. SPAM & rude comments are not tolerated. Using the 'Connect with Facebook' option will get your comment up faster!

Contact A Substance Abuse Counselor

We help people take the first steps toward getting help for their drug and alcohol usage and having drug-free lifestyles. To contact an alcohol/drug abuse counselor, please call 1-800-591-6474(Info iconWho Answers?).

Socialize with us
Close Icon

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on AddictionSearch.com.

All calls are private and confidential.