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06.21.2021

Is heroin detox worse than prescription opioids?

Opioids come in many varieties. From prescription painkillers to street-manufactured heroin and fentanyl, opioids are out there causing a wide range of issues due in large part to the abuse of opioid substances.  The real issue with opioids is the highly addictive nature of drugs that contain opium as an active ingredient. Initially, opioids create a need for the euphoria that such associated drugs offer. It’s that drive for the euphoria that keeps people coming back for more. Unfortunately, the more someone uses, the more they want. Eventually, wanting leads to needing (dependence), and dependence leads to addiction. Once the cycle of opioid addiction takes hold of someone, the battle for life begins.

It’s hard to say one opiate substance is more dangerous than another. There is evidence that fentanyl is at least 10 times more potent than heroin. That should simply serve as notice to drug users that they should use less fentanyl than they would heroin. Likewise, heroin is more potent than prescription opioids, which should make clear one would want to use less heroin in comparison to the number of pills they would take. It’s all relative.  The problem is drug users are not rational about their drug abuse. They are going to take as much as they need to get the high that they need. That’s a problem because the body does build up resistance. That resistance prompts drug users to use more each time or use more frequently. It’s all part of the cycle of addiction.

As bad as opioid abuse is, any attempts to stop using an opioid substance can also bring bad results. Those bad results come in the form of dangerous withdrawal symptoms. You see, the body gets angry when it’s hungry for opioids and those opioids get cut off. The body expresses that anger through withdrawal. As a point of reference, here is a list of withdrawal symptoms that are common when someone suddenly stops using an opioid substance:

  • Psychological issues related to depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation
  • Hallucinations when awake and nightmares when trying to sleep
  • Problems with breathing and high blood pressure
  • Sudden increase in heart rate
  • Bad stomach cramping that can lead to nausea and vomiting
  • Body convulsions
  • Tremors in the extremities (arms and legs)
  • Inability to concentrate and control body function

Is heroin detox worse than prescription opioids?

An opioid is an opioid. Opium is always the active ingredient. Yes, opioids like suboxone might not be as addictive as an opioid like heroin, but the way the opiates act in the body is the same.

Is it harder on the body to detox from heroin than prescription opiates poses an interesting question? It really comes down to two important factors, which we will discuss in the next two sections. Before we look at these two factors, we want to make clear that heroin users are more apt to become addicted, and in turn, are more likely to experience withdrawal when they suddenly stop using.

The Depth of the Addiction

The primary factor that determines how bad someone’s withdrawal or detox is going to be is the depth of their addiction. If someone has been abusing opioids for a long time and consuming a lot each time they use, they are more likely to experience much worse withdrawal symptoms than someone who has not been using as long or as much. It doesn’t matter to which opioid a person has become addicted.

Frequency of Opioid Abuse

Occasional (recreational) drug users don’t typically build up the same level of addiction as someone who is taking drugs every day or several times a day. The seriousness of the detox process depends a great deal on how much of a substance the drug user’s body needs to function. Since frequent drug users are putting drugs in their bodies more frequently, the accumulation of drugs in their bodies goes towards determining the seriousness of the detox process.

Regardless of what opioid substance you might be abusing, you need to know you are doing substantial harm to your body and life. Before things go too far, you need to stop using and start thinking about getting help. If you want help with your addiction problem, we can offer you that help. We want you to start the ball rolling by picking up your phone and giving us a call at 844-903-2111.