The Quiet Epidemic

How Heroin is Used

Heroin can be injected, inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or smoked.  All three routes of administratoin deliver the drug to the brain very rapidly, which contributes to its health risks and to its high risk for addition, which is a chronic relaping disease caused by change in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences.
(source: National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Treating Heroin Addiction

A range of treatments, including behavioral therapies and medications, are effective in helping people stop using heroin and return to stable and productive lives.

Medications include buprenorphine and methadone - both of which work by binding to the same cell receptors as heroin, but more weakly, helping someone wean off the drug and reduce cravings.  Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors and prevents the drug from having an effect. Naloxone is sometimes used as an emergency treatment to counteract the effects of heroin overdose.  (source: National Instsitute on Drug Abuse)