Heroin Addiction and Infectious Diseases

Heroin, one of the most insidious and addictive substances known to man, is also one of the most commonly abused drugs for which we provide treatment at the Pacific View Recovery Center’s California drug rehab.  This substance can be smoked, snorted, or shot intravenously.  Typically when an individual with a heroin addiction begins IV heroin use, many more problems can arise.  Most prominent amongst these problems are the infectious diseases that tend to be transmitted by heroin addicts who share these needles.  Some of the most common diseases that arise from such use are:

  • Hepatitis C
  • Bacterial Infections of the Heart Valves and Blood Vessels
  • Gangrene
  • Abscesses
  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease

Other slang and common names for heroin and I.V.’s include:

  • Pins
  • Rigs
  • Dope
  • Smack
  • China White
  • Tar
  • Ron


Current Statistics about Heroin Addiction in the United States

  • 70% to 80% of all new cases of Hepatitis C come from injecting and sharing needles when abusing heroin and other illicit drugs;
  • 20% of all High School Seniors have reported using Heroin at some point in their lives;
  • In a 2006 study of all ER visits, over 190,000 of these visits were a result of heroin abuse and overdose;
  • Many overdoses result because of the other substances that Heroin is cut with in order to make it stronger, causing the Heroin addict to underestimate the strength of their dose;
  • A heroin addiction typically costs upwards of $150 to $200 daily. A cost that grows steeper, as we look at the further impact:
    • Stealing for the money is one way that addicts support their habit
    • Lying to friends and family
    • Not Paying bills because the Heroin is more enticing

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Heroin Addiction leading to Intravenous Heroin Use

A person who becomes addicted to shooting heroin with every dose might as well be playing Russian roulette.  Each and every time they put a needle in their arm, they are not only risking getting an infectious disease, but also the possibility of overdose and death.  Overdosing is very common among IV Heroin use because of the instant shock and rush that heroin gives to the heart, brain and bloodstream.  Preventing an overdose or providing help to someone who is overdosing is extremely difficult because the chemical is already in the bloodstream.  This is why it is so hard to prevent death in overdose patients.


PVRC’s Approach to treating Heroin Addiction and Infectious Diseases

When a client enters the PVRC drug treatment facility for the first time, we immediately conduct drug screening and disease testing.  This helps us treat both the illness from withdrawals, while also trying to put the infectious diseases into remission if at all possible.   This not only provides a safe environment for the client, but keeps other clients and staffers safe.  This is our number one goal here, and we strive each and every day to bring more help to each and every one of our patients.  Our approach to recovery from heroin addiction consists of:

  • One on One Counseling sessions with Therapists;
  • Supervision by our on call doctor during and after detox;
  • Group sessions with staff and therapists, highlighting issues that have perhaps been overlooked for years;
  • Peer Feedback;
  • Daily in-house A.A. Meetings and Big Book studies;
  • Morning reflection group during breakfast;
  • Providing healthy alternatives which are not drug related;
  • Art Therapy;
  • Health, Wellness and Meditation Groups.

By being able to keep clients active all day long with positive recovery based therapies, and throughout their entire stay, the PVRC team helps our clients find out as much about themselves as possible during their time here with us.  All of the approaches listed above are based around helping someone discover their authentic selves, while incorporating traits such as honesty, integrity, open-mindedness, authenticity and humility.

If you believe that you or a family member is suffering from a heroin addiction, please contact our admissions specialists today at 866-737-4962. We’ll discuss all your options, and help you decide if our customized treatment plans at PVRC offer the greatest hope of achieving a useful and productive life in recovery.