Call Us 24/7 (855) 464-8550

There is Hope for a New Life

  • Please enter your name.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
    You entered an invalid number.
  • Please enter a message.
    Please select an option.
About Novus Detox

Heroin’s History & Effects

  • Heroin is one of the best known drugs of abuse.
  • When you mention heroin, most people think of a person who hasn’t bathed or combed their hair in weeks lying on a dirty mattress with a needle stuck in their arm, but this is no longer the case with more middle-class users in recent times.
  • In this article we are going to look at what heroin is, the way it is sold, the health problems, and the withdrawal problems.

What is Heroin and its History?

  • Heroin is processed from morphine which is derived from the opium poppy, the same opium poppy from which many of the legal prescription narcotics are derived.
  • Heroin was first produced from morphine in a lab in Britain in 1874.
  • It remained a scientific curiosity until it was discovered by the Bayer pharmaceutical company in Germany.
  • In 1898, Bayer began promoting heroin as a non-addictive painkiller and cough medicine for children and as a cure for morphine addiction.
  • With the same lack of concern for honesty shown by Purdue Pharma, Eli Lilly and other drug companies today, Bayer deliberately concealed that when the liver metabolized the heroin, the active ingredient remaining was morphine — a drug know to be highly addictive.
  • Until 1914, heroin was readily available.
  • This was changed by the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act which was passed in 1914 to control the sale and distribution of heroin.
  • In a way similar to the approach some “pain management” doctors take today, many doctors prescribed heroin indiscriminately and this allowed many addicts to continue to use heroin.
  • It was not until 1924 that the sale, importation and manufacture of heroin was banned in the United States.

What Does Heroin Look Like?

  • When refined, commercial heroin is usually a white powder with a bitter taste.
  • Pure heroin is rarely sold on the streets.
  • Most heroin sold on the street is a powder varying in color from white to dark brown.
  • The differences in color primarily relate to the presence of additives that “cut” or dilute the purity of the heroin (as explained below).
  • Some heroin, particularly heroin from Mexico, actually looks more like tar and is called “black tar” heroin.
  • On the street, heroin is called “H,” “smack,” “skag,” and “junk.”

How Heroin Produces its Effects

Like other prescription drug narcotics, once heroin gets into the bloodstream:

  • It is carried to the brain and crosses the blood-brain barrier (a barrier that selectively determines what chemicals are allowed to reach the brain).
  • Once across the blood-brain barrier, heroin, which becomes morphine in the liver, activates the endorphin receptors to release more endorphins.
  • The increased endorphins, the body’s natural pain medicine, creates a feeling of comfort and well-being and for many — a sense of euphoria.

How Heroin is Used

The most common methods of heroin use are:

How Heroin is Sold

Heroin, like all illegal drugs, is obtained from criminals who import it from other criminals who obtain it from the following sources:

  • An estimated 90 percent of the world’s opium production occurs in Afghanistan;
  • Although Mexico and Colombia opium production accounts for less than four percent of the world’s total production, they supply most of the heroin to the United States;
  • Mexican growers and refiners supply an estimated 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. heroin market, primarily to dealers west of the Mississippi River;
  • Colombia supplies heroin to dealers in most of the remainder of the states east of the Mississippi.

heroin health effects

Like other central nervous system depressants, even short-term heroin use produces:

  • Clouding and slowing of mental functions;
  • Slowed breathing which may lead to respiratory failure.

However, long-term heroin use can produce:

  • Collapsed veins;
  • Infection of the heart lining and valves;
  • Abscesses;
  • Liver disease;
  • Pulmonary complications–including various types of pneumonia;
  • Depletion of essential nutrients, amino acids and minerals;
  • Dehydration of the body;
  • AIDS from shared needles;
  • Hepatitis C (70—80% of the new hepatitis C infections are among injection drug users.)

heroin overdose

As the body’s health is more and more impaired by heroin use, the body becomes more and more weakened. This can lead to a higher likelihood of a heroin overdose.

The symptoms of heroin overdose are:

  • Pinpoint size pupils;
  • Bluish skin;
  • Bluish fingernails;
  • Looseness of the muscles;
  • Clammy and cold skin;
  • Lowered blood pressure and heart rate;
  • Coma;
  • Severe respiratory distress;
  • Seizures
  • Death.

Sometimes, heroin overdose was primarily caused by the weakened physical condition of the person getting too much heroin.

Other times, heroin overdoses are caused by someone who was used to 40% pure heroin getting 90% heroin on the street.

While using the same amount of 40% pure heroin would not cause an overdose, using the same amount of heroin that was twice as strong can lead to an overdose.

Heroin Withdrawal

Withdrawal from heroin is similar to withdrawal from other narcotics like:

  • OxyContin
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet

Because the use of heroin has caused the body to rely on the drug to produce endorphins, when you stop using heroin, the body is making insufficient endorphins to block the pain signals from the brain. Without endorphins, everything that you do, even breathing, would be painful.

This sudden stop of endorphin production creates what has been described as the worst flu you ever had, only ten times worse.

Some of the symptoms of heroin withdrawal are:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Sweating
  • Lacrimation (tearing or crying)
  • Yawning
  • Rhinorrhea (runny nose)
  • Piloerection (goosebumps)
  • Restlessness
  • Anorexia (eating disorder where people try to starve themselves)
  • Irritability
  • Dilated pupils (larger than normal pupils)
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle and bone pain

heroin treatment

  • Because of the pain and their greatly reduced health, most heroin users will more comfortably and safely withdraw from heroin at a facility like Novus Medical Detox Center.
  • Not only will their withdrawal symptoms and heroin detox be addressed in a real medical detox, they will also receive intravenous treatments to replenish the depleted nutrients, amino acids and minerals as well as get the person hydrated enough to make the withdrawal more comfortable.
  • Once withdrawn from heroin, the next step is to go into a rehabilitation program that will help the person really understand the reasons why they became addicted to heroin or other narcotics and be free from all drugs.


These narcotics are killing our children, parents, brothers, sisters and friends. They are destroying the lives of tens of thousands and adversely affecting hundreds of thousands more. People are turning to heroin as a cheaper alternative to prescribed pain medications. At Novus, we just want to help people become drug free and find a new future.


We develop an individualized medical detox program specifically for each of our patients, which means no recovery will look the same. Our delicious food, nutritional IVs and supplements, and specialized detox protocols are all designed to quicken the healing process. We understand that various addictions present a number of issues for the human body, so we create our IVs and diets to fit the needs of specific withdrawal symptoms.

Our process is all about you, which is why we have private and shared rooms available for our residents. Each room is outfitted with a TV, telephone, and access to the internet. We also provide educational classes that will show you how the drug or alcohol of your choice affects your body. We believe that to effectively fight off your withdrawal symptoms, it is important to know what you are fighting against and what to be prepared for.

To learn more about how we can help you,
call (855) 464-8550 today!

  • Personalized Detox Programs
  • Quality, Patient Focused Care
  • Medical & Personal Support with 24/ Accessibility
  • Enjoy a Therapeutic, Spa-Like Environment
  • Our Programs Combine the Best Medications & Holistic Supplements
  • We Offer Private or Comfortable-Shared Rooms

Success Stories

For a Sustainable Sobriety™
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Student (Heroin)

    It was good—very comfortable and relaxing, unlike any detox I've been to . I made the decision to go to rehab for further treatment. Student (Heroin) ...

    Continue Reading
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Boat Captain (Heroin)

    Can’t think of a thing to better this operation. Each and every Novus employee at some time or another went out of their way to be helpful. I can’t ...

    Continue Reading
  • Suboxone Detox Successes - Plumber (Heroin, Suboxone)

    No there’s nothing bad I could say about my stay at Novus. I have no complaints. I liked all the counselors; All Novus personnel were extremely ...

    Continue Reading

Blog Articles

For a Sustainable Sobriety™
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Student (Heroin)

    It was good—very comfortable and relaxing, unlike any detox I've been to . I made the decision to go to rehab for further treatment. Student (Heroin) ...

    Continue Reading
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Boat Captain (Heroin)

    Can’t think of a thing to better this operation. Each and every Novus employee at some time or another went out of their way to be helpful. I can’t ...

    Continue Reading
  • Suboxone Detox Successes - Plumber (Heroin, Suboxone)

    No there’s nothing bad I could say about my stay at Novus. I have no complaints. I liked all the counselors; All Novus personnel were extremely ...

    Continue Reading
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Student (Heroin, Percocet)

    While here I definitely realized that life through clear and sober eyes is definitely a more tranquil and peaceful way to live your life . Also, I ...

    Continue Reading
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Small Business Owner/Operator (Heroin)

    Medical protocol: perfect. All Novus staff were equally helpful. Novus is great for “detox” but detox is only the first step and aftercare is critical ...

    Continue Reading
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Self-Employed (OxyContin, Heroin, Xanax)

    Everything is pretty much perfect ... everyone here is great in my opinion. Novus really accommodates to anyone's diet and I notice a huge difference ...

    Continue Reading
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Small Business Owner/Operator (Heroin)

    My stay at Novus was absolutely remarkable . After receiving treatment in several other detox facilities, my expectations were not very high. Those ...

    Continue Reading
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Real Estate (Heroin, Methadone, Xanax, Valium)

    Before I came to Novus I was clean for 3 ½ years. While I was clean I was in a treatment program close to my home. During my time in that program I ...

    Continue Reading
  • Heroin Detox Successes - Student (Heroin)

    Best detox I've ever been to. It was a very comfortable and supportive atmosphere. Everyone was awesome... I feel great , better than I've ever ...

    Continue Reading
  • Will Delaware's New Attack on Heroin Be an Example to Other States?

    (Novus reports to professionals in the treatment industry to help support the help needed to handle the epidemic of addiction in the US.) Delaware has ...

    Continue Reading
  • White House Heroin Program Targets Regional Hotspots, But Critics Say It Doesn't Go Far Enough

    The new White House Heroin Program Response Strategy is aimed at combating the national rise in heroin abuse by concentrating on regions of the ...

    Continue Reading
  • New president of Northern Kentucky Med Society pledges more physician help for heroin crisis

    The new president of the Northern Kentucky Medical Society says he will ask the Society’s physicians to take a more active role in combating the ...

    Continue Reading
  • Deaths from prescription painkillers and heroin have soared 200 percent since the year 2000

    The news stories we’ve been seeing and hearing about “soaring increases” in opioid addictions, overdoses and deaths are not over-blown media hype. A ...

    Continue Reading
  • White House honors 10 citizens for leading efforts to stop the prescription opioid and heroin overdose

    In spite of her best efforts to help her son overcome his addiction, Justin Phillips lost 20-year-old Aaron to a heroin overdose in October, 2013. ...

    Continue Reading
  • Florida's mayor says closing pill mills sparked the state's heroin epidemic

    One of Florida’s mayor of Orange County told a Senate subcommittee that she believes the state’s successful campaign to close over a thousand “pill ...

    Continue Reading
  • 'Gray Death' - The Latest Deadly Heroin Mixture

    If someone you care about is abusing street-level opioids like heroin, this information could save their life. A new heroin-based mixture of opioids, ...

    Continue Reading
  • America's drug deaths shifting from West to East - CDC

    In 1999, North and South Dakota were the only states in America with zero deaths from drug overdoses. America’s escalating prescription opioid ...

    Continue Reading
  • The Cost of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

    Drug and alcohol abuse put the lives of countless people in the United States at risk every single day, but the damages go beyond what’s being done to ...

    Continue Reading
  • Heroin Deaths Skyrocket in the Early 2000's

    Heroin use has always been a serious issue in the United States and across the world, but recent reports show that more people than ever are dying ...

    Continue Reading
  • Almost Half of Heroin Users Also Struggle With Prescription Painkillers

    Heroin is often used as the poster child for addiction, but the vast majority of users found their introduction to drug use through another substance. ...

    Continue Reading