Beat Heroin Addiction: Comprehensive Treatment in Denver

Are you or a loved one searching heroin addiction treatment Denver residents can rely on? Read on to learn about how we can help.


When seeking heroin addiction treatment Denver residents or people nationwide can access, it’s essential to know more about the disease. This article will describe how heroin works, the signs and symptoms of its use, and how heroin addiction is treated.
We’ll share the important parts of a comprehensive treatment plan for recovery from heroin addiction. Finally, we’ll share information about some of the best heroin addiction treatment Denver has to offer.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a powerful and illegal opioid drug derived from morphine, obtained from the opium poppy plant. It belongs to the class of drugs known as central nervous system (CNS) depressants.
The drug works by slowing down brain function and reducing pain sensations. Heroin typically appears as a white or brown powder but can also be found as a black, sticky substance known as “black tar heroin.”

How is Heroin Used?

Heroin is commonly injected, smoked, snorted, or inhaled. It rapidly enters the brain and binds to opioid receptors, releasing large amounts of dopamine. This surge in dopamine is responsible for the intense euphoria and feelings of relaxation experienced by users.1

Why Do People Use Heroin?

The reasons for heroin use can vary, but common use cases include the following:

  1. Seeking euphoria and pleasure: People seek immediate and intense feelings of euphoria.
  2. Pain management: People may use heroin to cope with chronic pain like cancer, especially when they have difficulty getting legal prescription pain medications.
  3. Escaping emotional distress: People might try to self-medicate to relieve emotional pain temporarily.

Why Is Heroin Addictive?

Heroin is highly addictive due to its effects on the brain’s reward system. With repeated use, the brain becomes tolerant to it, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects.2
This leads to physical dependence, where the body has withdrawal symptoms when the drug is reduced or discontinued.3
The impact of heroin on the brain is twofold:
  • Dopamine Effects: First, heroin activates the brain’s reward pathway by flooding it with dopamine. This reinforces drug-taking behavior. This reinforcement contributes to the compulsive and uncontrollable cravings for the drug.
  • Other Neurotransmitter Effects: Second, heroin disrupts the normal functioning of the brain’s neurotransmitter systems. Long-term heroin use can impair the brain’s ability to make and regulate neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. These regulate mood, emotions, pain perception, and overall well-being.

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

People looking into the heroin addiction treatment Denver offers may wonder how to recognize heroin addiction. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of heroin addiction is crucial. It can help people access early intervention and effective treatment.

Physical and Behavioral Indicators of Heroin Abuse

Not all individuals will show the same indicators. However, the following physical and behavioral indicators are commonly associated with heroin abuse.4

Physical Indicators

Observable effects on the body include:
  • Needle marks or “track marks” on the arms, legs, or other body areas from the injection
  • Frequent nosebleeds or runny nose (if heroin is snorted)
  • Small pupils (often referred to as “pinpoint pupils”)
  • Unexplained weight loss and deteriorating physical appearance
  • Chronic constipation and gastrointestinal issues
  • Slurred speech and impaired coordination
  • Drowsiness or nodding off at inappropriate times
  • Intermittent periods of hyperactivity followed by extreme drowsiness

Behavioral Indicators

A person might act differently. These effects include:
  • Social withdrawal and isolation from family, friends, and activities
  • Significant changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia or excessive sleepiness
  • Unexplained financial problems or stealing to support drug habits
  • Neglecting personal hygiene and appearance
  • Frequent lying and secretive behavior
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Decline in academic or occupational performance
  • Mood swings, irritability, and unexplained aggression
  • Engaging in risky behaviors to get or use heroin

Health Risks Associated With Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction poses short-term and long-term health risks. These are due to how heroin affects the body and the ways people administer heroin.
Some of the significant health risks associated with heroin addiction include:
  • Overdose: Heroin use carries a high risk of overdose, which can be life-threatening. An overdose occurs when a person takes a dose of heroin that overwhelms their body’s ability to handle it. This can result in respiratory depression, coma, and even death.
  • Infectious diseases: Sharing needles or other drug equipment increases the risk of getting infections spread through blood. This includes HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C. These diseases can cause severe, long-term problems.
  • Abscesses and infections: Repeated injections and poor hygiene practices can lead to skin infections, abscesses, and cellulitis. These infections can be painful, require medical intervention, and in severe cases, may need surgery.
  • Endocarditis: Intravenous (IV) drug use can lead to an infection in the heart. Endocarditis can cause heart damage, leading to more complications.
  • Respiratory issues: Heroin use can cause respiratory problems, including chronic cough, lung infections, and pneumonia. People might stop breathing during an overdose.
  • Liver and kidney disease: Long-term heroin use can lead to liver and kidney problems. These include hepatitis, liver failure, and kidney disease. These conditions can have many serious effects.
  • Malnutrition: Chronic drug use can lead to malnutrition.
  • Mental health disorders: Individuals with heroin addiction often experience co-occurring disorders. This means the person has a mental health condition and a substance use disorder at the same time. These disorders can make addiction challenges worse.

Impact on Personal and Professional Life

People seeking the heroin addiction treatment Denver offers may be well aware of the personal and professional impacts of heroin addiction. Just a few of these impacts include:

Social Consequences

The person may have strained relationships with family, friends, and partners. This can be due to lying, stealing, and erratic behavior.

Academic and Work Consequences

Academic or work performance may decline because of a lack of focus and motivation. The person may experience deteriorating cognitive abilities.

Financial and Legal Consequences

The individual may spend significant money on the drug, leading to financial strain, debt, and legal problems. People may get involved in criminal activities, such as theft or drug-related offenses.

Heroin Use Prevalence: Denver, Colorado

Understanding the prevalence helps plan prevention and treatment. By assessing the magnitude of the problem, we can work on providing the heroin addiction treatment Denver residents need.
Specific statistical data may vary over time. However, the following information provides insights into the scope of heroin addiction. Here are some facts on heroin use nationally and heroin-related overdose deaths here in Denver.

National-Level Statistics

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) surveyed Americans on drug use and health. According to the 2021 survey, an estimated 0.4% of individuals aged 12 or older reported heroin use in the past 12 months.5

Overdose in Denver

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment collected data on heroin-related overdose deaths. This number can indicate the issue’s severity. Heroin-related overdose deaths in Denver increased significantly in recent years.6

Why Is Heroin Use Prevalent?

When considering the heroin addiction treatment Denver residents need, we should examine why heroin use is prevalent. There are community-level factors and individual-level factors behind heroin use.

Community-Level Factors

Several factors contribute to the widespread use of heroin in Denver and the surrounding areas. Understanding these factors can help guide prevention efforts and plan the heroin addiction treatment Denver communities may need.
The factors include:
  • Prescription opioid misuse: The misuse of prescription opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, can be a gateway to heroin. Many people who become dependent on opioids turn to heroin as a cheaper and more readily available alternative.
  • Availability and accessibility: Denver’s geographic location and transportation infrastructure make it a hub for drug trafficking networks. It is near major drug trafficking routes and has a demand for illicit substances like heroin.
  • Economic factors: Issues like unemployment, trouble getting healthcare or education, and poverty can increase vulnerability to substance abuse.
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders: Individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are at higher risk of developing heroin addiction.

Individual-Level Factors

Some people have certain characteristics that make them more likely to have a heroin-related substance use disorder. These include:
  • Previous or current substance abuse
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Peer influence
  • Lack of social support
  • Early exposure to drugs
  • Lack of education and awareness

Common Types of Treatment

Fortunately, there is heroin addiction treatment Denver residents or visitors can utilize for recovery. There are various treatment options available to fit the individual’s substance use disorder and schedule.
These programs are focused on addressing addiction causes and supporting long-term recovery. Some of the primary types of treatment will be detailed below.

Inpatient Residential Treatment

For heroin addiction treatment Denver residents may use inpatient residential services. Patients live at a treatment facility and receive round-the-clock care and support.
This highly structured environment provides detoxification, intensive therapy, and skill-building to support recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

PHP offers a higher level of care than outpatient programs, but attendees aren’t required to live at the facility. It involves several hours of treatment daily, typically five days a week. PHP allows people to receive intensive therapy while gradually transitioning back home.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

IOP provides a structured treatment schedule with fewer hours per week than PHP. It offers flexibility for individuals who need treatment while maintaining work, school, or family commitments.
An IOP typically involves group therapy, individual counseling, education, and support services.

Outpatient Counseling

For heroin addiction treatment Denver has several outpatient counseling options. In counseling, people attend sessions with a licensed therapist or counselor.
These sessions focus on:
  • Addressing the underlying causes of addiction
  • Developing coping strategies
  • Supporting long-term recovery

Common Treatment Techniques

There are many types of heroin addiction treatment Denver residents may find helpful. Treatment facilities may use a combination of techniques depending on the individual.
Various effective therapies are available to support individuals in their recovery from heroin addiction. These will be discussed below.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors associated with heroin use. It is often used to address co-occurring disorders and promote relapse prevention.
CBT focuses on:7
  • Developing healthier coping skills
  • Managing triggers and cravings
  • Building resilience

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

This treatment combines elements of CBT with mindfulness techniques. It helps individuals regulate emotions, improve interpersonal skills, and tolerate distress. It is effective for co-occurring disorders, self-destructive behaviors, and emotional dysregulation.

Group Therapy

Group therapy provides a supportive and therapeutic environment where people can share their experiences, receive feedback, and learn from others.
roup therapy promotes peer support, empathy, and accountability. It also allows individuals to practice social skills and receive validation for recovery.

Family Therapy

Family members participate in this counseling treatment. It helps address family dynamics, improve communication, and rebuild trust.
Family therapy goals include:
  • Educating loved ones about addiction
  • Developing the family’s coping strategies
  • Strengthening the support system for the person in recovery

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Many heroin addiction treatment Denver facilities may offer MAT. This treatment combines medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone, with counseling and behavioral therapies. MAT helps manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and normalize brain function.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

This therapy is usually used for people with a history of trauma. It helps individuals heal from traumatic experiences that may have contributed to their substance use disorder.
EMDR involves guided eye movements, or other stimulation techniques, while focusing on distressing memories or triggers.

Equine Therapy

Some Denver addiction recovery facilities may offer equine therapy. Interacting with horses in therapy promotes trust, emotional regulation, and communication skills.

Adventure Therapy

Adventure therapy fosters personal growth and self-discovery through outdoor activities and experiential learning. Individuals develop resilience, problem-solving skills, and a sense of accomplishment during their recovery journey.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

This form of therapy focuses on developing psychological flexibility and accepting difficult thoughts and emotions. It helps individuals identify their values and commit to actions aligned with those values, even in the presence of challenges.

Components of a Comprehensive Treatment Approach

There are key components to the comprehensive heroin addiction treatment Denver area facilities offer. A comprehensive treatment approach is vital in helping individuals overcome heroin addiction.
Here are the ways a comprehensive treatment approach can help people on their recovery path:

Customized Treatment Plan

A comprehensive assessment considers the individual’s addiction severity, co-occurring disorders, and goals.
A personalized plan is then created, considering their unique needs and preferences. This tailored approach addresses addiction’s root causes and meets specific requirements.

Medical Detoxification

When people stop using heroin, they often experience intense withdrawal symptoms. Supervised detoxification (detox) provides medications and medical care to manage symptoms safely. This eases discomfort and reduces relapse risk in early recovery.

Psychosocial Support

This type of support fosters a safe environment for individuals in recovery. They can then share, learn, and build healthy relationships.
Comprehensive treatment offers diverse services, such as:
  • Counseling
  • Therapy
  • Support groups
  • Holistic approaches like mindfulness and art therapy

Relapse Prevention Planning and Aftercare

Treatment facilities with a comprehensive approach usually include relapse prevention planning. People in treatment learn strategies to minimize relapse risks and receive ongoing support for sustained recovery.
This can include:
  • Identifying triggers
  • Developing coping mechanisms
  • Creating personalized prevention plans
  • Participating in aftercare programs
  • Navigating the challenges of transitioning back into daily life

Comprehensive Treatment at Mile High Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are looking for a comprehensive heroin addiction treatment Denver residents and people nationwide can trust, Mile High Recovery Center is here for you. Mile High Recovery Center is an excellent way to gain the tools and support needed to achieve recovery.
Our urban Denver location takes advantage of a vibrant recovery community while respecting the surrounding natural beauty. Our compassionate, skilled team is committed to a judgment-free environment.

Key Benefits of Treatment at Mile High Recovery Center

We’re proud to provide some of the best treatment options available. Our integrated treatment facility provides you with the care you need to reclaim a great quality of life.
Key features of our program include:
  • Personalized treatment plans
  • Evidence-based modalities, including individual counseling, group therapy, and more
  • Treatment techniques such as EMDR, MAT, and adventure therapy
  • Trained, experienced professionals
  • A supportive, healing environment for growth

Contact Us

If you or a loved one is ready to break free from heroin-related substance use disorder, we’re ready to help. Contact us today.
Together, we can embark on a journey to lasting recovery and a brighter future.
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Reach Out Today to See How Mile High Recovery Center Can Help You Heal

If you or a loved one are ready to regain autonomy over your lives and well-being, recovery starts here. Let us guide you toward sustainable wellness and sobriety through our personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique needs and experiences. We look forward to hearing from you!

Mile High Recovery Center makes use of the latest clinical and holistic therapies. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy