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A Brief Guide on Heroin Addiction Treatment in Alabama

Jul 16, 2008
Heroin has always been considered to be one of the strongest forms of drug addiction in Alabama. The very elaborate program on heroin addiction treatment in Alabama is proof enough of that. Heroin is an opioid, a derivative of morphine, and much more addictive than its parent substance. A person who is once hooked to heroin will find it very difficult to come out of that dependency. It will take all the effort the treatment providers can make in order to pull them out of the addiction. Let us answer some questions here on this substance with special regard to heroin addiction treatment in Alabama.

Why is heroin such an addictive substance?

The addiction treatment program in Alabama has studied in detail how heroin addiction works. When a person takes heroin, it triggers the brain to secrete the chemical dopamine, which is responsible for the pleasure sensation in the body. This is why the person enjoys consuming heroin; it marks the release of the pleasure-producing dopamine. But as the person continues with the heroin habit, the brain becomes more and more immunized to the substance, and the secretion of dopamine decreases. This effectively causes a decline in the high produced due to heroin. In order to supplement this decline, the person starts taking more of the substance.

Thus, a progressive increase of the amount of the substance begins. The person starts taking more and more of heroin just in order to experience the same high that was experienced previously. In the process, the person gets drawn deeper and deeper into the addiction. This can lead to an eventuality such as heroin overdose, which is anyway a significant contributor of addiction related deaths within the state.

Where is heroin available in Alabama?

Basically speaking, heroin is available throughout the length and breadth of the state of Alabama. It is actually found much more commonly now that it was found until a few years earlier. Some of the prime areas that have a prevalence of heroin availability in Alabama are Auburn, Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery. The indication that these areas have higher heroin availability is seen from the higher number of people of these areas that are checking into addiction treatment. Within the last five years, the percentage of people who are checking in for heroin addiction treatment in Alabama has gone up by more than 200%.

Though heroin addiction comprises only a small part of the overall extent of drug addiction in Alabama (a 2004 statistic by the Treatment Episode Data Set of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that people checking in for heroin addiction treatment in Alabama are only 4% of the total people checking in for addiction treatment in the state), it is certainly a very concentrated form of addiction and needs great attention.

What are the options available for heroin addiction treatment in Alabama?

Heroin addiction treatment in Alabama is done on an inpatient basis with a detox treatment if the addiction is quite severe in nature, i.e. if the person has been using heroin for a significantly long period of time and if the person has tried other modes of treatment but has not met with success in them. In these centers the preferred medication used for the treatment is methadone. Methadone has been in use for heroin treatment in Alabama since three decades now. This is an opioid itself, and the primary intention of a methadone treatment is to reduce the craving that the person has for heroin.

However, extreme caution is advised with methadone treatment because it is a habit-forming substance itself and it can produce its own withdrawal symptoms if stopped or reduced abruptly. For that reason, this treatment can go on for quite a long time. As the temptation for heroin reduces, the treatment providers will also reduce the amount of methadone to be taken by the patient. A maintenance treatment will always be kept on because it is not possible to stop methadone completely in the short term. Also, methadone can seriously interact with some other prescription drugs. That is the reason this mode of treatment is always administered in an inpatient treatment setting.

There is another opioid that has been recently approved by the FDA for heroin treatment in Alabama. This is buprenorphine, another habit-forming drug, but to a much lesser extent than methadone. Buprenorphine can be prescribed even on an outpatient treatment basis. The introduction of buprenorphine in heroin addiction treatment in Alabama has made it possible for some people who are in mild to moderate stages of heroin addiction to get an outpatient treatment program to cure their condition.
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