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Vital Information Pertaining to Heroin Treatment in Yonkers, NY

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Recent reports have revealed that Westchester County, New York is seeing a staggering increase in drug-related deaths.

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of drug-related deaths in the county has increased by more than double, putting it among the highest increases in the state of New York. Over the 6-year period, there was a significant increase in opioid-related overdoses, fueled by a surge in heroin abuse. According to The Rockerfeller Institute of Government’s analysis of federal data, deaths increased by 71%.

Annual drug-related deaths in New York City rose increased by 45% over the 6-year period, but there was a staggering 84% spike in large upstate counties outside the city.

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that the number of drug deaths in Westchester County increased by 129% – from 51 in 2010 and 117 in 2015. The rate of deaths related to drugs in the county increased from 5.4 per 100,000 people in 2010 to 12 per 100,000 people in 2015.

The Heroin Enforcement and Assistance Response Team (HEART)

The heroin epidemic is continuing to spread across the United States, and Yonkers is not exempt. To address the issue, the Yonkers Police Department collaborated with St. John’s Riverside Hospital to develop The Heroin Enforcement and Assistance Response Team (HEART).

This initiative includes Yonkers police officers, trained substance abuse counselors and caseworkers who will follow up with arrested heroin abuse suspects, people who survive overdoses and the affected families. The hospital provides the services required for users to overcome their addiction, such as detox, counseling, and rehab.

HEART does not only tackle the aftermath that takes place when a person abuses heroin, but provides the community with resources to help in preventing the addiction.

Heroin Laws in New York

In recent years, heroin has been brought back to law enforcement’s radar because of, in part, some of the higher profile heroin deaths that occurred. Under federal as well as state law, heroin and other narcotics remain illegal in the state, and the laws in New York are quite harsh when it comes to heroin possession, sale, and trafficking. That being said, those suffering from addiction to heroin are provided treatment options by New York.

Overview of Heroin Laws in New York

Possession: When you possess any amount of heroin knowingly, it is a Class A misdemeanor. You can be given a felony charge if you possess:

  • Over 500 mg: Class D felony
  • Over 1/8 ounces: Class C felony
  • Over 1/2 ounces: Class B felony
  • Over 4 ounces: Class A-II felony
  • Over 8 ounces: Class A-I felony
  • Any amount of a controlled substance with intent to sell: Class D felony
  • Any amount of a narcotic drug with intent to sell: Class B felony

Sale: When you sale any amount, knowingly, it is a Class D felony. However, the charge can increase as follows:

  • Over 1/2 ounces: Class A-II felony
  • Over 2 ounces: Class A-I felony
  • Sale to someone under 21 or on school grounds: Class B felony

Trafficking: When you are convicted of being a major trafficker, it is considered a Class A-I felony.

Most Commonly Used Drugs in New York

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the most commonly abused drugs in New York include:

Heroin Addiction

When it comes to heroin, there is a very high potential for addiction. It is due to this that it can be a very slippery slope when it comes to use, abuse, and addiction. However, it is crucial to understand the critical difference between physical dependence and addiction to this dangerous drug.

After regular heroin use for a sufficient period of time, a person will develop a physical dependence. When it comes to physical dependence on heroin, one indication is when over time, the user requires a greater amount of the substance to experience the pleasurable effects they desire.

People abuse heroin for the pleasurable sensations that the drug elicits immediately, including:

  • The “rush” which is a surge of enjoyable sensations
  • A slowed, heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • A calm, warm feeling
  • A heightened sense of confidence and well-being

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

Signs and symptoms of heroin abuse will depend on several factors such as how often, how much and how long the person has been abusing the drug.

Immediate Symptoms: In some cases, users report that the drug causes immediate negative symptoms such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Delayed Symptoms: After the user experiences the immediate effects of heroin, they begin to experience another set of symptoms which involves the slowing down of the body and being less alert and active. The delayed symptoms of heroin abuse include:

  • Feeling drowsy or sleepy for several hours
  • Having a mental state that is foggy or unclear
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • “Nodding” which is when the user will alternate between periods of being asleep and awake

Signs of Long-Term Use: When a person continues to abuse heroin over a period of time, they may exhibit other signs such as:

  • Needle marks and bruising on sites where they inject the drug
  • Skin problems like infections and abscesses
  • Collapsed veins caused by repeatedly injecting the drug
  • Heart problems
  • Disease in different organs of the body, including the kidneys and liver

Once a person begins using heroin, there are three outcomes that are likely to occur – tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

  • Tolerance: This is indicated by your need for more heroin, higher purity or different delivery methods to feel the same effects.
  • Dependence: This is when your body needs heroin to feel normal. Without the substance in your body, withdrawal symptoms will occur.
  • Addiction: This is marked by an increase in energy and effort you put into getting and using heroin, even though you have developed several problems as a result of using the drug.

The reason that these effects transpire is when you use the drug, there is an interaction between active molecules of the opiate and opioid receptors. Located throughout your body and brain, these receptors play a role in modifying the perception of pain, maintaining body functions such as breathing and blood pressure, and rewarding behaviors.

Heroin abuse can result in a number of unwanted social effects, such as troubled relationships with family and friends, financial worries, being fired from work, and legal problems. Additionally, the use of heroin is linked to many long-term consequences involving health, such as:

  • Increased risk for hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other infectious diseases
  • Reproduction issues like inconsistent menstrual cycles and sexual dysfunction
  • Persistent mental health issues like personality changes and depression
  • Damage to the nose tissues and the septum caused by snorting

When pregnant women use heroin, they place themselves as well as their child at risk for low birth weight, miscarriages, and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a condition in which the child is born with a dependency on the drug and enduring withdrawal effects.

Opiate Overdose

When it comes to the effects of heroin, the most serious is perhaps the risk of overdose. Because purity of the drug varies and there is very little information on other substances that are mixed into the drug, it can be extremely difficult to measure dosing. Effects of overdose include:

  • Breathing rate that is dangerously slowed
  • Depressed heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Coma
  • Death

Treatment for Heroin Abuse

When there is dependence and addiction to heroin, it is frequently necessary for the person to seek professional help to overcome and cope with the influence of heroin – there are many effective options available in Yonkers, New York. In heroin recovery, the first challenge you need to go through is being able to endure withdrawal symptoms that begin when your body no longer has the substance.

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin include:

  • Edginess and agitation
  • Widespread muscle and bone pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Feeling cold
  • Involuntary kicking movements
  • Strong cravings for more heroin

In most cases, heroin withdrawal is not deadly, but it can be extremely uncomfortable and dangerous, even prompting users who want to quit to start using again in order to avoid the symptoms.

Since this is the case, it may be necessary to get supervised detoxification to navigate the early stage of recovery in a safe manner. During detox, your symptoms will be monitored by a medical treatment team. They will also provide medications to make you more comfortable as you go through the detox process.

Detox

Detoxification, or detox, from heroin is the first step to recovering from addiction. A lot of people make the transition from detox treatment to a drug treatment center or a drug rehabilitation program for continued treatment. Detox is an important step to take when you want to recover from your heroin addiction as it helps eliminate harmful substances that have accumulated in your system from your use of the drug.

Because withdrawal can peak after a couple of days of your last dose, it is a marvelous idea to seek detox treatment in a drug treatment center that offers medical detox. This may be the most comfortable way to purge heroin from your body and avoid relapsing into heroin use.

Medical detox starts before the drug leaves your body completely and in most cases, it takes between 5 and 7 days. If you are a prolonged user with a heavier dependence on heroin, the detox process may last up to 10 days.

In medical detox, the medical treatment team may use medications and therapy to help your body and brain recover from the effects of heroin. Breathing, temperature levels, heart rate, and blood pressure are all monitored closely to ensure that you are safe and secure throughout the entire process.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

Assessment

Once the detox is complete, the next step you must take is finding the right drug treatment center in Yonkers, NY to continue your recovery treatment. To do this, the first step is the drug addiction assessment. The purpose of this process is to determine if you have an addiction, the extent of your addiction, or if you have any co-occurring conditions and also to help develop a treatment plan for you.

The assessment is typically conducted in private settings by trained professionals who can diagnose addictions, including doctors, nurses, counselors, therapists, social workers, and psychologists. Any information you provide is confidential and only used to help in your treatment for heroin addiction.

You will be given a standardized questionnaire that, will you will need to fill out with information about your drug use, treatment history, health history, symptoms, behavioral patterns, and how your life has been affected by heroin addiction.

You may also be referred to a physician for a medical assessment. This will typically involve a physical examination and tests to diagnose any existing conditions or co-occurring condition. Every part of the assessment is to ensure that you receive the right diagnosis and the right treatment to help you with your addiction.

Pre-Intake

After the drug addiction process, you must go through the pre-intake. This is a simple process that requires you to fill out a form. The professionals who conduct the pre-intake process will also give you a list of documents and personal items that you must bring to the drug treatment facility when the time comes.

Like the assessment, the purpose of the pre-intake process is to help you find the right drug treatment program or to help professionals at the drug treatment center tailor a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and issues.

Although this process is a simple, it is important to bear in mind that it is a critical one. This is because there is no “one size fits all” treatment plan. Every patient’s needs are unique. The pre-intake allows professionals make sure that you find the right treatment program for your heroin addiction.

Intake

Once you have completed the pre-intake process, the next process is the intake. You will meet with staff members of the Yonkers drug treatment center for an interview. You will be asked many questions during this process. Again, this is to help professionals, find out more about your personal drug history and current use so that they can make sure that you receive the right treatment plan for your heroin addiction.

Some of the questions you can expect to be asked include:

  • When was the first time you used drugs? What drug was it?
  • When and why did you decide to seek treatment for your heroin addiction?
  • Do you use other substances with heroin? If so, how often?
  • How has your life been affected by your heroin addiction?
  • What is your medical and mental health history? Do you take any medications for a condition?
  • Are you currently employed?
  • What is your financial situation?
  • How has heroin abuse affected your personal relationships?
  • Have you received treatment for your addiction before? If so, how many times?

Many of the questions asked during the intake process may be difficult to answer. Many people feel embarrassed or ashamed about certain aspects of their life, like their mental health issues, their current lifestyle, etc. However, keep in mind that the whole process is confidential and your answers are only used to tailor a treatment plan that maximizes your chances of recovering successfully from your addiction to heroin.

Inpatient Treatment Program

Now that the formalities are over, it is time to decide what type of treatment program would work best for you. An inpatient program is best if you are a long-term heroin user and require a comprehensive treatment plan to overcome your addiction.

Also known as a residential treatment program (RTP), this type of program requires you to enter a center or rehab for an unspecified period of time. In an RTP, you will receive 24/7 medical care and emotional support from a team of trained professionals. Typically, an RTP runs anywhere from 30 days to 6 months. Some inpatient programs can last as long as 12 months, although this is less common.

In an inpatient treatment program, every day is carefully scheduled and accounted for to ensure that you receive the therapy, counseling and medical care required to successfully recover. Apart from group, family and individual therapy and counseling sessions, RTPs offer educational and vocational courses to help you when you leave the facility and begin life in your community.

Outpatient Treatment Program

Outpatient treatment programs (OTPs) are treatment programs that do not require you to enter a rehab facility. You can receive the treatment you need for your heroin addiction with the help of experienced professionals in a drug treatment center in Yonkers while still being able to live at home and take care of your daily responsibilities.

When you choose an OTP, you will be given a strict schedule to follow. The schedule will involve therapy and counseling sessions you must attend on certain days of the week. You will also be provided with medications to help minimize cravings.

There are also intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) that many recovering addicts use as the next step to recover from heroin addiction after they have completed their primary treatment in a rehab. It is also a poignant option for people who do not need the structure or medical support that is offered by other levels of care. There are many different OTP formats and intensity levels so you will need to learn as much as you can about each to find the best one for your unique needs.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?

Aftercare

Recovery from heroin addiction and abuse does not end when you leave a treatment program. At its core, aftercare is a type of continued treatment for addiction. This type of care comes immediately after a shorter period of addiction treatment care, such as inpatient treatment program or intensive outpatient program.

No matter the treatment provider, the setting or the methods that professionals use in the heroin treatment program, the same goals are shared by aftercare programs, which include the following:

  • Maintaining recovery from heroin addiction, or addiction to any other substance
  • Finding a variety of ways to prevent relapse
  • Achieving a healthy, drug-free life that is filled with meaningful and rewarding relationships and a sense of purpose

An aftercare program provides you with a coordinated support network to help you maintain and build on the progress you made in the drug treatment center.

What happens after discharge?

Sober Living

Sober living can make a major difference for people who require a little time before they actually transition back to society and a normal everyday life. Sober living homes are a form of aftercare. The only difference is that they are more structured and give you an environment that is safe and drug-free. They make the transition from staying in an inpatient treatment program to entering the community once more a little easier.

Sober living homes are ideal for those who do not have a safe or supportive living environment to return to. They have rules and regulations that you and your housemates must follow.

You will be expected to be responsible for yourself, pay your own rent, buy your food, etc. Basically, you will need to do everything as if you were living in your own home. Additionally, a sober living home requires you to submit to random drug testing.

Get the Right Treatment for Your Addiction

Are you tired of being a slave to your addiction? If so, you should immediately start looking at drug treatment centers in Yonkers, New York to help you overcome this terrible disease with a tailored treatment plan. Once you have found the best center, you can receive the treatment and care you need to begin the road to recovery and get help to live a healthy, happy life that is free of drugs.

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