Heroin Relapse & Overdose

Heroin Relapse – Close To The Surface

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Heroin is a highly addictive drug and it takes more than most for those dependent upon it to withdraw.

A common theme of those who have managed to kick the drug is that thoughts, feelings and desires for more of the same often surface.

Below we will consider the price of heroin, what high’s it offers, the withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced and why heroin overdose is very much a reality for those who re-start use.

Bargain price!

It is easy to understand reasons for users progressing to heroin. Major factors are its wide availability and the fact that it is not as expensive as many other drugs. Indeed, prescription opiates are far more expensive. An added ‘bonus’ for users is that heroin purchased offers higher purity.

Highest high:

Those users who have been through heroin addiction describe the high as a wonderful, euphoric one. It puts them in their own world and leaves everything else way behind. Relaxation, a pleasant drowsiness and a complete feeling of well-being are some of the reasons that this moreish drug is used again and again.

In short, users cannot get enough of it, but the caveat is that while they may quickly become addicted, ‘Smack’ will not let go easily. It becomes so much of a person’s life that nothing else really matters, and this is where the problems escalate. Heroin users will do pretty much anything to ensure they have a constant supply of the drug.

Trouble with a capital ‘T’:

Physical and mental illness are regular partners to those who remain on heroin for any amount of time. Social exclusion for a person addicted to heroin can be expected, isolation in terms of nowhere to turn are common.

This can lead to a person breaking the law simply to feed their habit. Opportunist theft, burglary and prostitution all constitute ways to get quantities of the drug that will only deepen dependence the longer use continues.

Heroin Relapse – Withdrawal is difficult:

Suddenly withdrawing from heroin will offer pain that can be excruciating. This includes:

  • Greatly increased anxiety.
  • Insomnia and deeply troubled sleep when it eventually comes.
  • Aching bones and muscles.
  • Restless leg syndrome – A user coming off heroin will be unable to keep their legs from shaking.
  • Immense agitation
  • Varying levels of irritability

Then there are the physical symptoms that regularly include:

  • Feelings of nausea
  • Physical vomitting
  • Cold sweats
  • Excess body heat or extremes of cold
  • Diarrhea

Beating heroin addiction is achievable:

While the above symptoms may appear unbearable, they are not. With fierce determination, a heroin user can leave the drug in the past, but they must always be on their guard in terms of a relapse.

Ex-users often relate how tempting it is to climb back on the ‘Horse’, the problems with doing so are many-fold and such thoughts need to be quashed. By re-starting use a user will be undoing a lot of the good work in terms of recovery.

Another serious danger is the risk of overdosing. This is because when a person re-starts use they often do so at dosage levels equivalent to what they were using at their peak. Such huge amounts are simply too much for the body to handle and often result in fatal overdoses.

Please bear this in mind if you have managed to kick heroin and thoughts of returning to use surface at any time.

Drug Abuse Malaysia


Drug Abuse and Lack of Drug Treatment in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 16 April 2007 – Injecting drug users are overwhelmingly the largest contributor to the spread of HIV and AIDS in Malaysia. And in this country, as in many other societies around the world, they bear a double stigma.

Dismissed by society as addicts or criminals, drug users and their children are again shunned because of HIV, often by their own families. With few options for assistance, they are left to fight their illness alone.

Shah, a former drug user who now leads an effort to reach out to drug addicts, believes it’s time for this to change. He volunteers at IKHLAS, a community drop-in center and outreach program for homeless drug users in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. The center is part of a government harm-reduction program that receives support from UNICEF.

Shah worries that the more society abandons HIV-infected addicts, the heavier a toll it will take on children.

“I feel that children suffer the most in the equation of HIV/AIDS and drugs,” he said. “They see their parents suffer and then die. It is important for us to support the children by supporting their parents, so that children can grow up in the presence of their mothers and fathers and have a normal childhood.”

The experience of Suhaimi – a Malaysian single father living with HIV – illustrates Shah’s point.

Recently, Suhaimi pumped air into a tire while his son Rosyam, 12, tightened the bicycle wheel in place with a wrench. After a pinch to ensure the pressure, he nodded to Rosyam to give it a try. The boy lifted the bicycle upright, climbed onto the seat and pedaled it in circles, watched by his stepsister and two stepbrothers.

They were all members of a family joined by HIV and coping with a recent tragedy. Suhaimi’s HIV-positive wife, Ina, had died of cancer only a few weeks before, leaving him as the sole parent to his biological son and Ina’s three children, including one living with HIV.

“I am the father. I am the mother,” said Suhaimi. “It’s not easy to do this. In the morning, I need to prepare their breakfast, then I need to go to work. I am worried particularly for my daughter.”

Destructive drug habit

Ina was Suhaimi’s second wife; they met in 2004. He learned of his HIV-positive status only after the death of his first wife in 2002.

At the time, Suhaimi was hooked on heroin. He had most likely contracted the AIDS virus through injecting with shared needles. Long before his first wife died, his drug habit was destroying his family.

“When I was taking drugs, we were a family but it was incomplete,” he recalled. “The love wasn’t there. I didn’t carry out my responsibilities for my child’s basic needs. Can you imagine, my son is sitting in front of me and in front of my son I’m shooting drugs?”

Positive environment for children

Suhaimi hopes his difficult experience can help others in similar circumstances. He now works for Positive Living, a network for people living with HIV and AIDS in Malaysia.

It was here that he met Ina, a single mother struggling with her illness. She had been rejected by her extended family and had no place to stay. Suhaimi says Ina wanted desperately for her children to grow up in a positive family environment. Despite her absence, it is a wish he intends to fulfill.

“I’m not expecting huge things from my children,” he said. “My wish is that they become useful. Don’t become like me. I want to give them a good education, so they don’t have a wasted life like mine. You don’t have to be rich. The most important thing is to have a happy family.”

Names have been changed to protect the identities of those profiled in this story.