When you take the step to get heroin treatment, you want to be successful. Relapse is always a possibility, so creating systems of care that work together improve the opportunity for success. According to an article published on Science Daily.com, “Recovery-oriented systems of care (ROSC) offer a promising approach to improving care for the millions of individuals who have substance use disorders and, very frequently, co-occurring mental health disorders.”
Why is Heroin So Hard to Beat?
Heroin is highly addictive, which makes heroin treatment difficult and critical at the same time. Heroin has a powerful effect on the brain because the brain wants the pleasure of the opioid. Therefore, the brain becomes dependent on getting what the opioid receptors need to have. The body stops producing the natural feel-good hormones called endorphins, because it gets what it needs from heroin. When a person tries to stop using heroin, the body goes through painful withdrawal. Consequently, such withdrawal frequently sends people back to using again. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has a lot of information on heroin and other drugs. The articles help explain addiction to users and people who care about those in their life on heroin.
Heroin Treatment and ROSC
Recovery Oriented Systems of Care combine treatments to increase effectiveness. A SAMHSA.gov white paper, The Role of Recovery Support Services in Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care lists several systems that work together for heroin treatment and other addictions:1
- Social support provided by sober living communities
- Social support from family members and other allies
- Comprehensive services
- Peer-recovery support
- Recovery coaches
- Recovery check-ups
The same article encourages people seeking heroin treatment or treatment for other addictions that there are many pathways to recovery. There are quite a few Principles of Recovery:
- Is self-directed and empowering.
- Involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
- Is holistic involving the body, mind, relationships, and spirit.
- Has cultural dimensions.
- Exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
- Emerges from hope and gratitude.
- Is a process of healing and self-redefinition.
- Involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma.
- Is supported by peers and allies.
- Succeeds by (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community.
- Is a reality.
Heroin Treatment Process
According to the Science Daily article, treatment may begin with primary doctors. The process is that the doctor does a screening, a brief intervention, and then refers to treatment. While many patients go directly to care, such as Cherry Hill in Baltimore, some patients start with their primary doctor. When a primary doctor is on board, then the patient has another level of support. Treatment centers help people ease through the heroin withdrawal process with medication assistance. As the person stops taking the heroin or other opioid, they take a maintenance level dose of methadone or buprenorphine. Both medications are legal and have a history of success with people who want to end a heroin addiction. Treatment centers also provide counseling that is such an important element in staying clean and beginning a new life.
11 Kaplan, L., The Role of Recovery Support Services in Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care. DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 08-4315. Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2008.
Cherry Hill, MD
2490 Giles Road
Baltimore, MD 21225