What are the warning signs of heroin use? Learn the physical and emotional heroin warning signs to see if your child is exhibiting heroin addict behavior.

How Do I Know if My Child is Addicted to Heroin?

You know your child like the back of your hand and you sense something is off. Their outlook, drive and overall demeanor seem backwards. You’ve noticed, too, that some of their friendships are on rocky ground, their grades aren’t where they should be and they’re falling behind on certain responsibilities and obligations.

As any parent knows, the teenage and adolescent years are inherently challenging, but, to you, this feels like much more than that. You don’t want to let your thoughts ‘go there,’ but drug use has crossed your mind a lot lately. You have no proof, but your intuition has never steered you wrong.

You wonder, “Could my child be displaying addiction behavior?

If you suspect your child is using heroin, don’t ignore this thought. With any type of drug use – especially heroin – it’s better to be safe than sorry. Even if you discover that it’s not heroin or any other kind of drug, at least you fully addressed this life-threatening possibility.

Read on to learn about the warning signs of heroin use and how you can confront your child if you do find that they are using or have become addicted to heroin.

Warning Signs of Heroin Use

What are heroin warning signs? As with anything in life, you cannot effectively help your child if you are unaware of what’s really going on.

If your child is using or addicted to heroin, the warning signs are more than likely hiding in plain sight. That’s why becoming extremely observant and assertive in your words and actions can mean the difference between heroin use and a full-blown addiction or worse – a heroin addiction and death from overdose.

Let’s take a look at some heroin paraphernalia and what the physical and emotional warning signs of heroin use are:

Heroin Warning Signs: Paraphernalia

Drug users and addicts who want to keep their habit a secret are smart about hiding the tools they use and cleaning up after they get their fix. As a parent who has a suspicion of heroin use, you must search your home for signs of use – this includes their room and belongings. Remember, this is their health, well-being and life on the line.

If you see or find any of the following paraphernalia used to prepare, consume or inject heroin, it more than likely means your child is using:

  • Burned silver spoons
  • Needles or syringes
  • White powdery substance or residue
  • Plastic bags with the white powdery substance
  • Aluminum foil with burn marks
  • Straws with burn marks
  • Gum wrappers with burn marks
  • Missing shoelaces or pieces of rubber hose (used to tie off a limb/injection site)
  • Lighter or candles that are out of place

Heroin Warning Signs: Physical

When heroin is or was recently present in the body, it can cause a number of obvious red flags. If you notice any of the following signs – especially frequently – your child may be high on heroin or have recently consumed it:

  • Small pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Shortness of breath or panting
  • Dry mouth
  • Sudden mood or behavioral shifts
  •  Periods of hyper focus followed by sudden and/or severe drowsiness
  • Droopy appearance (heavy extremities)
  •  Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Flushed skin
  • Slowed breathing

Long-Term Physical Warning Signs

If your child has been using heroin for a while, a heroin addiction is present. An addiction occurs because your child’s body has built a powerful tolerance to the drug, requiring them to increase their dosage and frequency of use to experience the desired high. As a tolerance grows, heroin can wreak havoc on your child’s body and overall health, causing these physical symptoms:

  • Cuts, scabs or bruises from skin picking
  • Minor to excessive weight loss
  • Runny nose with no other illness symptoms
  • Absent menstrual cycle (for women)
  •  Needle track marks on arms
  • Infections at the injection site
  • Collapsed veins
  • Abscesses
  • Contracting HIV or Hepatitis C
  • Blood infections and infections affecting the heart

Heroin Warning Signs: Emotional/Behavioral

As an opiate, heroin single handedly rewires the brain’s chemistry and alters the reward and pleasure system of the brain. Because of this, you may notice that their mood, behaviors and actions are apathetic, irrational and extremely out of character.

Since heroin affects every individual differently, there are an abundance of emotional and behavioral warning signs, such as:

  • Lying, cheating and stealing (especially money)
  • Lack of or avoidance of eye contact
  • Anger, hostile behavior and mood swings
  • Anxiety
  •  Increase in sleep
  • Decreased motivation
  • Lack of interest in hobbies
  •  Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Poor hygiene
  • Wearing longer, baggier clothing to hide injection marks, even in warm weather
  • Decreased self-esteem
  •  Increased incoherent speech
  • Poor performance in school or work
  • Broken commitments
  •  Loss of job
  • Legal issues

How to Confront and Talk to Your Loved One About Heroin Addiction

If your loved one is using or addicted to heroin, the time to talk with and help your loved one quit using is now – before a worst-case scenario happens.

Because this is such a difficult and complex issue, we’ve outlined seven tips to help you have a productive and constructive conversation:
1. Educate yourself
2. Pick a sober time to talk
3. Communicate compassion and support
4. Avoid judgmental, enabling language
5. Remind your loved one of the severe consequences of heroin use
6. Highlight all of the people who support them and their sobriety
7. Discuss detox and rehab options that are available

In our article How to Talk to a Loved One about Heroin Addiction, we discuss these seven tips in depth to help you thoroughly prepare and achieve the most advantageous outcome.

Holistic Heroin Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

With your help, your child can stop using, overcome their heroin addiction and build a future where their dreams and goals are realized. Ultimately, your child’s recovery must start with them recognizing they have a problem and wanting to get sober.

Without question, though, your child is never beyond recovery.

When your child is ready to get clean and forge a better life, they can find holistic, life-changing heroin addiction treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery. Here, your child can start to take back control of their life and recover from heroin addiction.

Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery’s all-encompassing, individualized heroin addiction treatment program.

Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

A mother talking to her daughter about her struggles with heroin.

How to Talk to a Loved One about Heroin Addiction

Over the last several years, the heroin epidemic has spread like wild fire.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 11.8 million Americans age 12 and older had abused opioids during the previous year. In 2016, it was reported that 626,000 Americans had a heroin use disorder.

What’s more alarming, however, is the number of heroin-related overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2010-2016, heroin-related deaths increased by more than five times. From 2015 to 2016, heroin overdose death rates increased by 19.5%, resulting in nearly 15,500 people dying in 2016.

For you, this isn’t distant news anymore. The heroin crisis has seeped into your life, taking root in your loved one and ruling their existence.

You have an idea of how it started: Way back when their prescription pain medication ran dry, you believe they turned to heroin – a more accessible, less expensive high. Or, perhaps your loved one’s story starts with curiosity and an honest intention of, “I’ll just try it once.”

But with the vicious cycle in full-swing, you know the odds are stacked against your loved one. You know that the longer the addiction continues, the greater the chance of the unspeakable happening. You want to connect with your loved one and talk with them about their heroin use. But how, you wonder, do you approach such a difficult and complex issue?

Start here. Use these seven tips to have a constructive conversation and help your loved one understand that they can release the shackles of heroin addiction.

1. Educate Yourself

When you’re on the outside looking in, heroin addiction can be near impossible to wrap your mind around – what it’s really like and what your loved one is feeling and going through. That’s why it’s imperative you do your own research about the drug and the addiction before you approach your loved one and request a sit-down talk. It can be helpful to:

  • Read stories about former addicts. In addition to the facts and stats you find, it would be beneficial to read stories and testimonials from recovered heroin addicts. This will help you understand the addiction from a different, personal perspective and provide depth to your growing knowledge of the disease.
  • Steer clear of opinions. Friends and family mean well and only want to help, but unsolicited opinions and advice can cloud your mind with incorrect information. Try to stick to the facts and focus on your mission of helping your loved one as best you can.
  • Contact a heroin recovery expert. If you feel stuck as you prepare for your talk, or you wish to draw insight from a heroin recovery expert, get in touch with an addiction and recovery center. Experts can lend invaluable advice for your conversation.
  • Research treatment options and facilities. Learn about the differences and benefits of in-state and out-of-state treatment facilities, assess the costs, and see if any treatment option is covered by your insurance.

2. Pick a Sober Time to Talk

The most effective conversation will flow from a clear mind (you) and a clean mind (your loved one). This may require some strategic planning on your part if your loved one uses at irregular times. It’s best to find a time when your loved one is not high, tired, stressed, and is of a calm, sound mind.

Try to have the conversation in a familiar, quiet room. This will help your loved one feel safe and support a focused, distraction-free talk.

3. Communicate Compassion & Support

Set the tone immediately by expressing your love and support for your loved one. As hard as it might be, try to remain composed, calm and in control of your emotions. The goal is to have your loved one react positively to your request to talk and favorably receive your thoughts and suggestions.

Without immediately calling out the heroin addiction, ease into the heart of the matter by disclosing your concern over your loved one’s transformed life. Let them know of the inconsistent, harmful behavior you’ve noticed and worry over their health and safety.

Once you’ve said your peace, let your loved one speak. If your loved one is willing to communicate, give them your full attention and do not interrupt. Your nonverbal communication will speak volumes and can help your loved one feel supported and not judged. Prepare for periods of silence, long pauses, denial and/or emotional moments.

4. Avoid Judgmental, Enabling Language

Your loved one is fighting a fierce fight, and deep down, they probably wish they could get clean. They probably feel guilty about what they’re putting you and your family through, but they’re stuck. Because of this raging internal conflict, addicts can quickly become defensive. Try to avoid judgmental comments and gestures.

Additionally, because your loved one is ruled by their addiction, their ability to follow through with promises and commitments is compromised. Do not try to bargain, bribe, or give incentives. Since heroin addiction must be met with professional recovery support, these actions will only set you and your loved one up for failure.

5. Gently Remind of the Consequences of Heroin Use

If you think it will help, inform your loved one of the stats you found during your research. As noted at the beginning of this article, heroin has been claiming lives at a dangerous rate. This insight could be a wake-up call for your loved one.

6. Emphasize All the People in their Corner

Your loved one is the only one addicted to heroin, but their choices, actions and behaviors have a severe ripple effect on your entire family and extended support system.

Call out specific times your loved one’s addiction had a negative affect on you and your family. From there, remind your loved one of everyone who loves them, supports them, and wants to see them recover and thrive.

7. Present Treatment Options

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs out there. Its more habit-forming than alcohol, crack, and other substances. This is why recovery from heroin addiction must be managed by medical and addiction professionals.

Present the viable treatment options you discovered during your research and ask your loved one if they would be willing to go to rehab. It’s okay if your loved one is not willing to go at first. Let the entire conversation sink in and follow up with your loved one in a few days to see how they’re doing and if they made any decisions.

Heroin Detox and Rehab at Ranch Creek Recovery

If your loved one is in the grips of heroin addiction, Ranch Creek Recovery can help. Learn more about our heroin addiction treatment program or contact us today to learn about our facility and holistic approach to addiction treatment.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607



Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Opioid Misuse in the Past Year. Accessed March 29, 2018. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm#opioid.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heroin Overdose Data. March 29, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/heroin.html.

A group of people talking in a support group about their challenges with addiction

The True Face of Heroin Addiction: Who Uses Heroin the Most?

Take a moment and think about who you think uses heroin. What sort of people come to mind? Did you picture rock stars and celebrities like Steven Tyler and Philip Seymour Hoffman? Or maybe you thought of the disheveled junkies portrayed in movies and television shows. When you think about how many people use heroin, chances are, you’re not going to see the whole picture. While the news loves to cover celebrity drug addictions, the reality is those who use heroin the most are regular people we interact with every single day.

Let’s take a closer look at heroin addiction and the types of people who use heroin the most.

Opioids: The Doorway to Heroin Addiction

The United States is currently facing an opioid epidemic. By 2015, an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and today, 21-29% of patients prescribed opioids misuse or abuse them.

You may be thinking, “Okay, but what do pain killers have to do with heroin addiction?”

And the answer is, opioids and prescription drugs like OxyContin® open the door to heroin use. In fact, research shows that nearly 80% of Americans who use heroin reported using prescription pain killers first. Once users build up a tolerance to pain killers, they quickly transition to stronger drugs like heroin. While heroin addiction has been around since the drug was first invented in 1874, one of the scariest parts about it today is how many users never see it coming.

The New Face of Heroin Addiction

Picture a young college athlete who gets prescribed a pain killer to manage the pain after ankle surgery. Or a man in his 50’s who gets prescribed OxyContin® for chronic back pain. Under regular circumstances, these two individuals would stop taking the prescription once they no longer needed it.

The problem is when the addiction kicks in without them or their doctor noticing. When their current doctor no longer provides a prescription, they’ll bounce from one physician to the next to get more opioids. Eventually, this tactic will run its course, and they’ll have no choice but to turn to the streets to acquire illicit opiates like heroin. If you’re wondering who uses heroin the most, now you can understand why it may not always be who you think it is.

If their addiction is left unchecked, they could build a tolerance to heroin and seek synthetic opioids. What does heroin do to a person compared to synthetic opioids? The answer is simple: they are even more dangerous. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil carry a much higher potential for overdose.

How to Help a Heroin Addict

Does this sound like your son, daughter, spouse or another loved one? Maybe you’ve noticed sudden changes in mood and behavior, missing valuables or money and “track marks” on their body that can be traced back to around the time they started using prescription pain killers. If so, there’s a way to help your loved one overcome their heroin addiction.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we offer a safe place where your loved one can receive one-on-one care for their heroin addiction and recover at their own pace. Contact us today to learn more about our heroin detox and rehab programs.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607





What Is Detox From Heroin Really Like?

Heroin is a highly addictive substance that gains control mentally in a way not many other drugs do. For that reason, people struggling with heroin addiction need to seek specialized treatment and detox for heroin addiction if they are to overcome it. The reason heroin addiction is more complex to treat than other substances is that it not only takes control mentally but physically also. It is the combination of mental and physical dependence that cause the distressing withdrawal symptoms associated with detoxing from the drug and also increase the likelihood of relapse.

What to Expect from Heroin Detox

The whole issue of heroin detox has been clouded by how it’s represented in movies and mainstream media. The images of someone in deep physical pain and distress alone in a dank, dark room is something that deters many people suffering from addiction issues from taking the crucial first step towards recovery that detox represents. Nevertheless, prolonged heroin abuse can cause some serious health complications, some of which can be life-threatening. That’s why early intervention with a full detox and treatment program is always going to yield a faster and more effective recovery.

The facts are quite different from the perception and in an attempt to dispel some myths about heroin detox; we are going to take a closer look at exactly what’s involved.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

The heroin withdrawal symptoms take place in the immediate hours after abstinence and the symptoms presented can range in severity. Unaided heroin detox is never recommended as it is impossible to say how any individual will respond to suddenly not using. There should be some kind of medical assistance close at hand to treat withdrawal symptoms as they present during the detox process.

Some of the signs and symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Intense cravings for the substance that can become an obsession due to the two layers of addiction associated with heroin.
  • Profuse sweating that is not explained by physical activity or environment, with periods of chills and feeling very cold. These extreme changes in body temperature are caused by physical dependency and it is the body’s craving for heroin that creates this feverish condition.
  • Deep and sometimes intense muscle and bone pain with varying degrees of intensity. Some patients report a feeling of becoming really heavy and sluggish both mentally and physically.
  • Nausea, vomiting, fever, runny nose and watery eyes.
  • Cramping in the legs and arms and occasionally the lower back. The physical sensation is a constant need to stretch to relieve the cramping sensations, which can be so severe that patients can lash and kick out during this phase of withdrawal.
  • Becoming emotionally overwhelmed is a withdrawal symptom of heroin which is entirely normal when the body is being cleansed of the drug.
  • Perhaps one of the most distressing withdrawal symptoms from heroin are the thoughts that can go through a patient’s mind while in detox. Irrational fears and paranoia may surface together with feelings of guilt and shame. Negative thought processes may become so extreme as to make the patient feel as though they are no longer able to cope. Mood swings become more extreme and frequent and sometimes this can trigger other underlying mental health conditions such as personality disorder or schizophrenia.

There is no doubt about the fact that withdrawing from a substance as addictive as heroin is extremely challenging and this is where personalized drug addiction treatment can be very beneficial.

The Path to Recovery from Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is lonely for patients; they often are unable to see a clear path to recovery. The knowledge that detox is a challenging process can make people very reluctant to take that step, although programs at qualified drug rehabs are the best environments to ensure discomfort is minimized. Having someone on-hand who is qualified and trained to deal with the sometimes severe symptoms of withdrawal provides huge support to a patient seeking drug addiction treatment.

Taking the Next Step to Detox from Heroin

In addition, formalized and supervised detox and drug rehab treatment centers provide personalized detox plans so that individual needs and requirements are met, with active therapies like CBT and counseling underpinning the progress made during and after detoxification. Although it is more difficult to treat heroin addiction than it may be other substances, this does not mean it is impossible. A comprehensive treatment program that addresses both the physical and mental aspects of heroin addiction is the most direct path towards a healthy life in recovery.

Equine Therapy

The Benefits of Equine Therapy in Heroin Addiction Recovery

As we have become better informed about the area of addiction, more therapy options have become available to patients seeking heroin addiction treatment. Some of these therapies are known as experiential, which are a range of interventions designed to focus patients on actual involvement, engagement, and interaction with different types of experiences as part of addiction treatment. One of these experiential therapies is known as equine-assisted therapy and involves working with horses in a therapeutic setting.

What Is Equine-Assisted Therapy?

Equine therapy is enormously valuable in promoting emotional growth because horses are incredibly intuitive, instinctive creatures capable of detecting a person’s mood. Not only do they sense what someone is thinking and feeling but they respond accordingly. This is extremely beneficial to people with addiction as they may have lost touch with their own emotions. Equine therapy helps promote patients’ self-awareness to such a degree that they learn to better understand how to control the way they feel.

Benefits of Equine Therapy for Addiction

The benefits of equine therapy cannot be underestimated as for many patients undergoing this form of experiential treatment; it proves to be life-changing. Working with horses is usually incorporated into a wider, more holistic treatment program and has proven to be particularly effective with people who have had difficulty in sticking to a heroin rehab program. Because heroin is so highly addictive, many people who have abused the drug for prolonged periods of time can be particularly resistant to treatment.

Equine therapy allows them another route that is less challenging for them to engage with.

How Does Equine Therapy Work for Treating Heroin Addiction?

Every heroin addiction treatment program should be devised on a patient-by-patient basis because everyone has individual needs and requirements. Because heroin addiction develops on both a physical and mental level, there are two ‘layers’ to the withdrawal symptoms experienced. This can make detox and rehab particularly challenging, especially if there is a history of long-term heroin abuse and often, patients drop out of programs feeling unable to meet the challenges ahead of them.

Equine therapy provides an alternative that is not a standalone solution but can add significantly to the efficacy of a treatment program overall. The way working with horses helps people with heroin addiction is that they are encouraged to develop a relationship with the animal while taking care of its basic needs. Horses are herd animals with complex social structures and so they can be territorial. Although in dogs this can sometimes result in aggression, a horse has a more intuitive response to external stimuli and can quickly sense what the intentions are of someone approaching them.

Examples of Herd Mentality in Horses

For example, in the wild horses roam together in packs led by alpha males. When another horse is introduced to the pack, the alpha male will immediately sense if they are a threat or if they are submissive and respond accordingly.

However, in a similar way to dogs, horses can develop deep attachments with the people who care for them and this is one of the important takeaways for people in equine-assisted therapy. In the initial days of engaging with a horse, patients learn how to approach the animal based on what response they want to elicit from the horse. They will have learned through trial and error that feeling fear or tensing up can be sensed quickly by the horse and they can respond by being jittery and nervous because they are uncertain as to what will happen next. This teaches patients how to modify their behavior in order to get a different response and ultimately, this is a skill that becomes invaluable in recovery.

How Equine-Assisted Therapy Works

In a rehab setting, working with horses gives people with addiction issues a new focus and also the opportunity to care for and nurture another living creature. Placing someone else before themselves is something that many addicts have lost the ability to do and so they can relearn how to transfer their focus from themselves to others by caring for the daily needs of a horse. Because they are big animals, they require considerable care and so there’s a big element of discipline and hard work involved but the rewards are enormous. The feeling of being appreciated by an animal as majestic as a horse can be an enormous boost to someone’s feelings of achievement and self-worth.

Heroin Withdrawal

What Helps with Heroin Withdrawal?

Level of Dependency Dictates Severity of  Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Although there are different routes an individual may have taken to get there, once addicted to heroin the risk to life is homologous.  There is no difference in the deadly effects to the user who got there due to legitimately prescribed pain medications that turned into an opioid dependency, or the street user whose recreational drug use escalated to junkie status.   Regardless of the origin of one’s heroin addiction, the bottom line is the same:  heroin kills.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that in the last decade heroin use has doubled.  In 2013, an estimated 8,200 people lost their lives due to a heroin overdose, and those numbers have continued to climb ever since.  Heroin abuse and overdose, including opioids in general, including fentanyl, has ballooned, becoming a national epidemic.

Once an addict reaches the point where they realize they will surely die unless they get help, the door has opened to recovery.  However, the knowledge that he or she will have to endure the daunting difficulties of withdrawal and detox may pose such a deterrent to receiving treatment that they may not pursue it at all.  Misinformation and fear combine to give the addict another reason to just remain in their deadly habit, which is why clear information about the heroin withdrawal process is so important.

What Heroin Withdrawal Looks Like

Withdrawing from any drug that the body has become dependent on is difficult and unpleasant at the very least, and could be fatal if not managed properly (in the case of alcohol withdrawal specifically).  Heroin withdrawal will vary depending on how dependent the brain has become to the drug, so the duration and severity of heroin use dictates the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Medically supervised withdrawal is warranted for long-term users, as severe physical and psychological symptoms may become life threatening.  Those severe symptoms include depression, hypertension, rapid heart rate, anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms, and intense craving.  Those who may attempt to go through withdrawals on their own may quickly relapse at the onset of such serious symptoms, so a supervised withdrawal is imperative for the entrenched addict.

For someone who hasn’t abused heroin in high doses over a long period of time, the withdrawal symptoms can be managed with some outpatient support.  Mild to moderate heroin withdrawal symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea, sweats, fatigue, trouble concentrating, agitation, tremors, and muscle aches.  Symptoms generally begin within 8 hours of the last dosing of heroin and peak at 48-72 hours.

After the acute phase of withdrawal ends, some may experience post-acute symptoms, such as foggy thinking, difficulties managing stress, sleep disturbances, memory problems, concentration problems, mood swings, and occasional cravings.

Help for Heroin Withdrawal

The mindset that the addict takes at the outset of the decision to stop using heroin will heavily dictate the withdrawal experience.  Once it is determined whether medically-supervised detox is indicated or not, it is important to not expect the worst, as this causes tension in the body and only escalates the withdrawal symptoms.  Here are some things that will help with heroin withdrawal:

  • It is highly recommended for someone in the early phase of recovery to be admitted to a quality rehabilitation program where intensive therapy can solidify sobriety.  Discontinuing the use of heroin is simply the beginning of the process of living a clean and sober life.  The support and companionship found in a high quality addiction treatment program is invaluable to a long-term recovery.
  • Heroin addiction typically leads to a physically depleted body, and a quality rehab addresses this by providing a menu of nutrient rich foods.  To restore health, a diet rich in lean proteins (fish, chicken, turkey), vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and lots of hydration will benefit recovery.  In addition, nutritional supplements like B complex, vitamin C, and magnesium are recommended.
  • Accountability to self. Write a letter to yourself describing the reasons why you have decided to get clean, including goals and aspirations for the future.  When cravings hit, continually revisit what you wrote and recommit to sobriety.
  • Stay distracted. Going through withdrawals is an unpleasant experience, so keeping yourself distracted will help you avoid dwelling on every little sensation your body experiences during the process.  Watch comedies, take walks, read something inspiring and motivational, and visit with non-using family and friends to help pass the time.
  • Some people might benefit from the supportive environment of an Narcotics Anonymous or non 12-step program, garnering strength from the members and making new sober friends as well.
  • Medically supervised withdrawals may include anti-craving medications such as buprenorphine, naloxone, or naltrexone.  These opioid antagonists help block the opioid receptors and help to maintain abstinence.

Ranch Creek Recovery for Quality Heroin Addiction Treatment

Ranch Creek Recovery is a private recovery facility located in a beautiful estate.  The calm serenity of the hillsides offer the perfect environment for recovery.  Ranch Creek Recovery offers both residential and intensive outpatient services to treat heroin addiction, with round-the-clock staffing to aid and assist in detox and withdrawal.  Our holistic approach addresses the unique needs of each client with a wide range of therapeutic options to enhance recovery.  In addition, our amino acid therapy helps the individual in heroin withdrawal by easing the symptoms of cramping, joint pains, headaches, nausea, diarrhea and cravings.  Contact us today at (877) 997-8931 .


Heroin Addiction in Orange County

Heroin Addiction Spike in Orange County, CA

A Surge in Heroin Addiction in Orange County, CA Sounds Alarm

Orange County, California is a beautiful metropolitan suburban enclave in Southern California.  The OC, as it is affectionately referred to, has always enjoyed a positive reputation—after all, it is the home of Disneyland, the happiest place on earth—featuring beautiful coastal communities and rolling foothills.  Affluence abounds in Orange County, and conservative values still generally prevail.  Parents still take the family to church on Sundays and about 70,000 OC kids attend pricey private schools.  Why then are heroin-related overdoses and deaths spiking in Orange County?

According to data from the Orange County Coroner’s office, fatal overdoses spiked to about 400 in 2015, a six percent jump from 2014, and a 63% increase since 2005.  The majority of these overdose deaths, 286, involved opioids such as heroin, Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin.

The epidemic is not just sweeping Orange County, but, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is claiming 78 lives a day across the United States.  In California, out of its 58 counties Orange County has the 17th highest rate of drug and heroin overdoses statewide.

Factors that May Contribute to the Rising Heroin Addiction in Orange County

While heroin was once considered the drug of the lower socioeconomic strata, afflicting poor minorities primarily, it is now permeating the population across income, race, gender, or geographic location.  Even small rural communities have seen an enormous impact of heroin on their youth.  The term “suburban junkies” has been coined to refer to the dramatic shift from urban-based addicts to those who reside in the toney communities like Orange County.

Some of the factors that may be contributing to the dramatic increase of heroin addiction in Orange County include:


In many cases of opioid addiction and death, heroin was not the first drug of choice.  In this affluent county, teens and young adults have been recreationally abusing prescription opioids, paying upwards of $30 per pill, in their quest to achieve a high.  What often transpires is the desire to continue to relive that high, and through ready availability of cash or accessing the pills in parents’ medicine cabinets, they eventually develop a tolerance and become dependent on the drugs.

However, at some point in time, the cost becomes prohibitive and the young person, mostly white males, who is now addicted seeks a cheaper and more readily available substitute in heroin.  Because today’s heroin is more pure, and has also been cut with fentanyl in many cases, accidental overdose can occur.  Heroin addiction in Orange County is becoming rising problems in many affluent communities across the region.

The Drug Trade Contributing to Heroin Addiction in Orange county

The close proximity of Orange County to the Mexican border, where the majority of the heroin being distributed across the country comes in, keeps the costs down for local users.  Also, the type of heroin called black tar, coming in from Xalisco, Mexico, is extremely potent.

A trend has developed where fentanyl is being sold under the guise of heroin or in fentanyl-laced heroin, unbeknownst to users, contributing to many accidental overdose deaths.  Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is about 50 times more potent than heroin.  Drug cartels in Mexico have been ramping up production of this deadly drug in recent years.

Prescription Pain Medications

Over-prescribing of pain medications like OxyContin has also been identified as a precursor to someone developing a heroin habit.  Recent legal action against certain doctors, referred to as “pill mills,” has sent a powerful message to the medical community about over-prescribing these dangerous and addictive medications.  Even though legitimately prescribed for pain following injury or surgery, it is now becoming apparent how addictive these drugs are and a return to former methods of pain management are evolving.

Dr. Padma Gulur, a pain specialist at U.C. Irvine, has established a coalition of hospitals, health insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, and public health agencies to collect drug overdose data and then encourage physicians to scale back on prescribing opioids.  In an interview this year with KNBC news correspondent Vikki Vargas, Gulur stated, “We prescribe these medications, but don’t have adequate safeguards in place to ensure that excess medications don’t flood our community.”

Naloxone Needed

Naloxone, known under the brand name of Narcan, is an antidote to heroin overdose that can be sprayed into the nose or injected into arm or leg muscles to stimulate breathing that has stopped during an overdose.  Naloxone is becoming more readily accessible to law enforcement, first responders, and hospitals potentially saving many lives that would otherwise have been lost to a heroin or opioid overdose.

“Naloxone saves lives; it just does,” Dr. Gulur stated.  “Looking at the data from the coroner’s office, these are preventable deaths.”

The cost of naloxone is skyrocketing, however, creating difficulty for communities to provide this important life-saving intervention harder to finance.  Nevertheless, in the past few years more than 30 states have established policies designed to increase access to naloxone.  In 2014, the U.S. Attorney General urged law enforcement agencies nationwide to train personnel to administer naloxone.  Naloxone is not the answer to the heroin epidemic, but until more education and awareness is available regarding the dangers of opioids, it will save lives.

Ranch Creek Recovery Treats Heroin Addiction

Because of its proximity to Orange County, California, Ranch Creek Recovery is an excellent option for receiving quality treatment for a heroin or prescription pain medication dependency.  Ranch Creek Recovery offers a holistic inpatient treatment program that is tailored to the individual and encompasses all aspects of well-being.  Located in the serene hills of Temecula, Ranch Creek Recovery provides just enough distance from Orange County to allow for treatment without the potential triggers or temptations of home.  Call us for more information about our innovative treatment program at
(877) 997-8931