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 / Heroin / Can You Become Addicted To Heroin The First Time?

Can You Become Addicted To Heroin The First Time?

Heroin has contributed to the opioid crisis that has been plaguing the United States for decades now. The synthetic opioid heroin is derived from morphine. After surgery, patients who are hospitalized often get morphine as a means of providing them with some relief from the pain they are experiencing.

 

Morphine is usually only given to people in much pain, as users risk becoming addicted to it. In the United States, however, heroin has no recognized medical use. It takes time for the body to become physiologically dependent on a drug. Still, even a first-time heroin user may develop intense psychological cravings for the substance shortly after taking their first dosage.

Is the First-Time Use of Heroin Likely to Cause Addiction?

Even though the odds are against it, if you try heroin and find that you like it, there's a good chance you won't ever escape its temptation. First-time heroin users still face the genuine risk of fatal overdose, which is much more dangerous than the risk of becoming addicted to the drug.


As the COVID-19 pandemic and the national opioid epidemic collided in 2020, many opioid overdose deaths and other drug-related accidental deaths were reported across the United States.

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How Soon After Using Heroin Do People Typically Become Addicted?

Medically Reviewed:

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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The question of how quickly one might get dependent on heroin requires us to remember that we are all different. Factors that increase vulnerability to developing a heroin use disorder include:

Mode of Ingestion

 

Heroin is a refined drug that can be used in many ways. Heroin is often used by inhaling (snorting), injecting, or smoking. Any of these methods can lead to addiction, but injecting heroin directly into your bloodstream is usually the most dangerous because its effects start quickly and powerfully.

Quantity, Strength, and Purity of the Drug

 

The drug's purity and strength amplify heroin's effects. As you might expect, the risk of becoming addicted increases with how often and vigorously the substance is used. But even a tiny amount of use regularly can be very addicting.

How Often, As Well As For How Long?

 

The likelihood of a person becoming addicted to heroin is strongly influenced by how frequently they consume it. While this may be true, it certainly does not rule out the possibility of addiction, even with occasional usage. This is because even moderate use may quickly spiral into addiction. The time factor is also essential. Heroin's addictive properties only increase with continued usage.

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Psychological Factors

 

Many people try opioids and other narcotic drugs for the first time to ease the symptoms of illnesses like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Heroin use might be considered a coping method for those suffering from mental problems.

 

This endless cycle of self-medication may result in addiction. Such addictions are notoriously difficult to overcome. This is because being sober needs not just a change in behavior but also the resolution of the traumatic events and other mental problems that typically underlie them.

 

Genetics and the Environment


The exact genetic causes of addiction are still unknown, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports strong evidence that genetics and addiction are linked. It is more probable that you will misuse heroin and get addicted if other family members do so.

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Interactions and Their Effects on Other Drugs on the Body

 

When a person takes heroin along with other recreational or prescribed drugs, it may make them want to use it more and make their bodies more dependent on it. Mixing different drugs is dangerous because it dramatically increases the chance of an overdose.

 

These factors and many others may impact how quickly someone becomes dependent on heroin.

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There are thousands of drug rehabs to select from, making it challenging to choose which is suitable.

Addiction treatment is essential; many methods exist to help pay for drug and alcohol rehab-associated costs.

There is a cost associated with drug rehabilitation, but the advantages of seeking care are worthwhile.

What Happens When You Use Heroin for the First Time?

Heroin is a potent opiate that significantly affects the brain's reward and central nervous systems. Heroin is a depressant of the central nervous system, so it has a calming and sleep-inducing effect on the user. People who use this drug tend to talk slowly, breathe shallowly, and cannot pay attention. The strength of this effect is one of the aspects that leads to the widespread use and abuse of this drug.​

 

Heroin makes the brain produce the feel-good chemicals dopamine and endorphins. A properly functioning neural system secretes these substances to promote survival-related acts like eating and to decrease suffering.

 

The brain quickly establishes a link between the presence of heroin and the production of feel-good chemicals. The user eventually develops dependency and addiction and ultimately needs the drug to get through the day. Besides, the withdrawal effects of heroin make it challenging for users to quit the substance on their own.

 

The following are some indications that addiction has begun to form:

 

  • Continuation of usage despite the complications connected to heroin.

  • Making little progress in reducing or stopping usage.

  • Having constant cravings.

  • Acquiring an increased tolerance for the effects of heroin.

  • Having withdrawal symptoms or becoming "junk sick."

  • Needing more significant amounts of heroin to feel high or begin injecting the substance.

 

First-time heroin users should be aware of the risk of overdosing. When you acquire heroin on the street, you have no idea what it has been cut with or how strong it is. A recent spike in overdoses blamed on heroin laced with fentanyl, a synthetic version of opioids, is a tragic illustration of this trend.

 

To address whether or not a single use of heroin is harmless, the answer is no; every use increases the likelihood of negative consequences.

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Get Heroin Addiction Treatment at Rolling Hills Recovery Center

Not everyone becomes addicted to heroin after their first use of it. However, the path of compulsive use that often leads to a heroin addiction can begin with a single try.


Every person who walks through the doors of Rolling Hills Recovery Center has a unique story about how and why they became hooked on the substance they abuse. Because of this, we make it a priority to tailor treatment regimens to each patient's specific needs to help them overcome their addiction and move on to a sober life. We use a holistic approach that considers the many factors contributing to heroin use disorder and recovery. Schedule your first appointment now!

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Is the first-time use of heroin likely to cause addiction?
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