Heroin Addiction in South Africa 

About Heroin

Heroin comes from the opium of the poppy plant, it is an illegal drug with a high potential for addiction. Manufacturers refine the plant-based drug opium, and then put it through the process to turn it into heroin. This drug is created in several forms, including white or brown powder-based, sticky black tar, and also in solid black chunks.

Even though the South African nyaope epidemic brings major attention to the dangers of mixing heroin with Dagga or marijuana, heroin is still one of the more addictive drugs and remains most widely abused in South Africa. To use it, people may smoke the drug(chase the dragon), snort it or inject it using a needle or mix it with marijuana and antiretrovirals (which have no narcotic effect at all) to make whoonga/nayope.

Many believe it is impossible to come back from such a powerful substance because of the legacy and stigma attached to heroin addiction. But this is untrue and many addicts recover from their opioid addiction at Houghton House and go on to live full lives.

Be warned heroin is an all-consuming drug

Heroin Addiction at houghton House Rehabilitation in GautengHeroin gives the user a sense of euphoria and relaxation. Heroin is known as a ‘downer’ and induces a state of euphoria and relaxation. It acts on the pleasure centres of the brain. Heroin is an opiate and blocks the ability of the user to feel pain. After using the drug for even a short period, the user may become addicted and physically dependent on it. Heroin acts much like alcohol where alcoholics cannot function without alcohol. There are not many ways to come off the drug,  going ‘cold turnkey’ withdrawal is very physically painful and dangerous and the other option is getting professional help in a medical detox program at a Drug rehabilitation centre like Houghton House Group. Long-term treatment is advised for heroin addicts. This powerful drug can be overcome, and recovery is possible.

Symptoms of heroin use:

  1. Dry mouth
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Tiny pupils (almost like a pinprick) known as “pinned”
  4. Disorientation and confusion
  5. Exhausted appearance and heavy limbs
  6. Suddenly falling asleep/ passing out
  7. Severe and unexplained weight loss


Heroin Addiction at houghton House Rehabilitation in Gauteng person melting heroin in spoon needs heroin addiction treatmentThe above signs are not unique to heroin addiction. There are other, more definitive signs that point immediately to the abuse of the substance. From drug paraphernalia to unexplained puncture wounds.

These include:

  1. Burned and bent spoons
  2. Syringes not being used for medical purposes
  3. Burned aluminium foil
  4. The straw appears to have burn marks
  5. Tiny plastic bags with white, yellow or brown powdery remains
  6. Makeshift pipes

Heroin Withdrawal

Drugs that kick in quickly, usually cause more severe withdrawal symptoms. Heroin withdrawal symptoms occur after quitting long-term use >>> click here for more info 

Never forget: Recovery from Heroin Addiction is possible.

If you believe that your loved one is in the throes of heroin addiction, or if you yourself are caught in the cycle of heroin addiction, it is important to remember that help is available. Contact Houghton House today.

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