Heroin is a semi-synthetic opiate that was first developed from morphine in 1874. At the end of the 19th century, heroin was produced on a commercial basis as a possible solution to the growing problem of morphine addiction. However, it soon became apparent that heroin itself was highly addictive. In 1924, the Heroin Act made it illegal to produce, import, or possess heroin in the US. Heroin is now illegally imported from Asia, South America, and Mexico. With the rise in prescription opioid abuse, heroin has also become more popular. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the introduction of a form of OxyContin designed to deter abuse has led to a corresponding spike in heroin abuse, as opioid addicts turn to this street drug to get the same euphoric high.
Unfortunately, only 20% of those who abuse alcohol will ever get help. Part of the reason that many people choose not to get help may be the blurred lines between socially acceptable drinking and alcoholism. While any usage of illegal drugs is considered a problem, a certain amount of alcohol usage is considered normal and acceptable. For more information about how much alcohol is safe to consume and how to tell if you or a loved one qualify as having an alcohol use disorder, read our guide to alcohol addiction.
According to the results of a survey published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, approximately 2.6 percent of American adults meet the criteria for drug dependence and drug addiction. Globally, the figure is similar; the World Health Organization estimates that nearly 3 percent of adults around the world suffer from a drug use disorder. At first glance, these numbers may seem small. However, these statistics do not reflect the number of people who have tried illicit drugs, or who have abused illicit substances or prescription medications. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that almost 10 percent of American adults have tried illicit drugs. Anyone who uses drugs recreationally or experimentally is at risk of developing dependence and drug addiction.
Changes in the brain that support physical and psychological dependency on mind-altering substances are the direct cause of addiction, but those changes do not occur at random. Addiction experts believe drug addiction emerges from an interplay of genetic and environmental factors, although one factor or the other may be strong enough to make a person vulnerable to addiction in some instances. Overcome Any Addiction: Dopamine Receptor Repair & Addiction Healing (sound therapy)
Getting alcohol out of the addicted person’s system is the first part of recovery. People with a severe alcohol addiction can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. A supervised alcohol detox is usually necessary for people addicted to alcohol to prevent potentially fatal complications. Shaking, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations are possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Woman Turns to Rehab After Struggling With Drugs, Alcohol: Part 1