In 2010 approximately 140,000 people in Georgia tried heroin for the first time with a median age of 21 years, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The same study found that young people reported that heroin was easily available in Georgia. Among adults aged 26 years or older, only 6.6 percent use illicit drugs and heroin use only comprised 0.1 percent of that figure. Heroin can be injected, smoked, or snorted, and a common street name for the drug is “smack”. It is a derivative of morphine, and as an opiate it is highly addictive. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, chronic heroin users can experience a number of medical complications including: collapse veins, liver or kidney disease, lung complications, clogged blood vessels leading to essential organs, and infections of blood vessels and heart valves. Street heroin can cause overdoses where the purity of the drug cannot be known accurately.
Do you know someone who is addicted to heroin and who wants to seek help? Addiction to opioids is usually approached using traditional behavioral methods as well as drug therapies. Methadone maintenance treatment has been used successfully in the treatment of heroin addiction, but there are other medications such as buprenorphine. Methadone treatment is regulated by the federal government as it is a controlled substance, however, there are opiate addiction treatment clinics in Georgia that have methadone maintenance as part of their treatment programs.
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