Heroin Rehab Dana Point Discusses Common Myths About Heroin Overdose

Common Myths About Heroin Overdose and Why Heroin Rehab is Necessary

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When “research” is only a click away, it’s wise to be wary of internet searches that perpetuate myths about drug addiction and overdose. It’s also a good idea to be skeptical about information sources that cite old data to confirm conclusions that may have changed in recent years. Heroin is a highly addictive drug, and overdose can be fatal, but it’s time to put to rest some outdated ideas about it. Read ahead to separate fact from fiction and to learn about heroin overdose and how heroin rehab Dana Point can help.

Myth: Heroin Addiction and Overdose Affect Only Young Populations

The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2018) [1] reported that approximately 101,000 adults age 18-25 had a heroin use disorder, compared to 421,000 adults age 26 and older. The survey also noted that 35,000 18-25-year-olds tried heroin for the first time in 2018. For adults 26 and older, that number was 75,000.

The Kaiser Family Foundation used cause-of-death mortality files from the National Vital Statistics System to identify U.S. opioid deaths by age group. The organization looked at toxicology reports where the underlying cause of death was coded to include opioids, natural and semisynthetic opioids, methadone, synthetic opioids, and heroin.

What Age Groups Do Opioid Deaths Most Affect?

The table below shows that opioid deaths were seen most often in 25-34-year-olds and 35-44-year-olds:

Age DemographicTotal Deaths 2018Percent of Total

Source: KFF 2018 [2]

Additionally, KFF also saw the number of deaths trending down for the youngest age group over ten years (2008-2018), trending upward for 25-34-year-olds, and beginning to level off for 35-44-year-olds. [2]

Myth: Death From Heroin Overdose is Due to Impurities in the Drugs

The assumption that contaminants cut into heroin is what is causing deaths from overdose is completely unfounded [3]. A research organization in Sydney, Australia said toxicology and demographic data from heroin overdose studies don’t support that conclusion. Impurities are rarely found to be responsible for overdose deaths. That legal pharmaceutical-grade opioids – free from impurities – can cause overdose and death provide further evidence that contaminants are not the reason why users are dying.

Heroin overdoses lead to death because of the way the body reacts to too much of the substance. Dr. Karen Drexler, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, stated that in the case of a heroin overdose, the body forgets to breathe when the user falls asleep [4]. An overdose can also cause blood pressure to dip to dangerous levels, which can cause heart failure. Pulmonary edema is also possible when a heroin user overdoses. [4]

Myth: Snorting or Smoking Heroin is Safer than Injecting it

It’s true that injecting heroin provides a bigger “rush” than other methods. That’s because injectors feel the effects in less than 10 seconds. [5] Smoking or snorting heroin typically leads to peak effects after 10 minutes. [5] [6]

But the danger in using heroin is that it’s highly addictive – no matter how it’s consumed. [5] Users develop a tolerance to the drug, which means that it will require higher dosages to achieve the same effect when people continue to use the drug. Those who snort or smoke heroin are typically using higher purities, [5] which are more potent and thus may be even more dangerous than the grade of heroin used for injection.

Choosing a Heroin Rehab in Dana Point

At Ocean Hills Recovery, in Dana Point, California, our supportive staff has the experience and knowledge necessary to finally free you from your addiction to heroin. A Collaborative Recovery approach that combines the traditional 12-step model with evidence-based psychotherapy methods has shown great success in helping those struggling with addiction to learn new habits for sober living once they leave our facility.  Contact us today to learn more about our programs and to see that it’s possible to lead a clean and healthy life.



[1] https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduh-annual-national-report

[2] https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/opioid-overdose-deaths-by-age-group/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

[3] https://idhdp.com/media/1111/add12456-1-.pdf

[4] https://www.cnn.com/2014/02/04/health/how-heroin-kills/index.html

[5] https://www.verywellmind.com/how-is-heroin-used-63225

[6] https://drugabuse.com/heroin/snorting/

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