Heroin addiction is not a phase. It is one of the world’s most highly addictive substances. Estimates vary, but it is believed that up to 25% of individuals trying heroin for the first time will become addicted. Do not let shame or guilt stop you from getting help for your young adult – quickly. With the median age of death for heroin addicts at 30, realize that death from heroin is inevitable unless the addict gets treatment.

national drug facts

Help spread the facts about Teens and Opiates, including Heroin, visit the National Institute for Drug Abuse, National Drug Facts Week.

Opioid Facts

Heroin Facts

Teens Prescription Drug Abuse

What Is Your State's Prescription Drug Abuse?

state prescription drug abuse addiction

from NIDA


Also to help, here are articles New Hope Recovery Center has written about Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin:

Most Abused Prescription Drugs

10 Warning Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Warning Signs of Heroin Use

Parent's Guide to Prevent Heroin Use/Addiction

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse


Written by: New Hope Recovery Center




vivitrol addiction treatmentAs the science of addiction medicine evolves, doctors have begun using new drugs in revolutionary ways that are changing how we think of and treat addiction.  Vivitrol is a drug used to treat both opioid addiction as well as alcoholism.  Since 2006, when it was first approved by the FDA for alcoholism, many patients have shown much success.  In October 2010, this injectable form of naltrexone was approved to treat opioid addiction as well.  It has since been used successfully by many with addiction to opiates and heroin.

What should you know about Vivitrol and it use in addiction treatment?

What Is Vivitrol?  Vivitrol is an extended-release injectable version of naltrexone that is given once a month.  It is known as an opiate antagonist, meaning it works by binding with and blocking the receptor sites in the brain that would normally be affected by opiates or alcohol.

How Does Vivitrol Work?  Unlike an opiate agonist, the opiate antagonist occupies the receptor site but does not activate the receptor.  This means that the site is tied up without the person feeling the “high” that would come with using a drug that activates the site.  Because the receptors are tied up, when someone on Vivitrol uses alcohol or opiates, they do not feel the pleasurable effects of intoxication.

How Is Vivitrol Different From Naltrexone?  Naltrexone requires a daily oral dose and has been used for years in addiction treatment  There are two main downsides to this self-administered daily dose:  1) it is easy for patients to forget the daily dose,  and patients who forget to take the medication are at a greater risk of relapse; and 2) there is a daily temptation to skip the dose for that day,  in order to drink or use or even to have the possibility to drink or use.

Vivitrol largely eliminates these issues.  It is a monthly shot administered by a health professional.  Its effects last for a full 30 days.   Two main benefits to the monthly shot versus daily tablets:  1) medical professionals can monitor a patient’s compliance and remind the patient when the next dose is needed.  Patients have someone to be accountable to and someone who will be talking with them if they are being tempted to use.  2) Patients are freed from the daily decision to take the dose or not and so there is no daily temptation to use.  Many patients report they have a greater peace of mind knowing there is no possibility to use.  (Actually they could use, but it would have no or very little effect on them.)

Pros of Vivitrol Use:

There are many benefits to using Vivitrol under the care of an addictions medicine specialist.  Vivitrol appeals to many doctors and patients alike, who do not wish to treat an opioid addiction with another opioid medication (also known as agonist treatment).

For individuals who have not been heavily addicted for more than a year and the brain has likely not been radically changed by drug abuse, Vivitrol is an ideal tool to use in early recovery.

Vivitrol drastically reduces cravings for opiates and alcohol.

For some, using Vivitrol while actively engaged in counseling and self-help groups such as AA, NA or SMART Recovery results in lasting sobriety, even after Vivitrol is discontinued.

Vivitrol is an ideal choice for patients coming off of methadone or buprenorphine (maintenance drugs) especially in the first few months, when they are at greater risk for relapse.

For those that work in jobs with frequent travel, such as pilots, business consultants, flight attendants, Vivitrol is appealing because it is a safe, supervised method of treatment that does not require daily dosing.

Cons of Vivitrol Use:

Perhaps the biggest con to Vivitrol is its cost.  Unless one has private insurance that covers prescription drugs well, Vivitrol is very expensive.  The shot can run up to $1200 per month (even higher in some cases).  Even with insurance, copays and deductibles can leave a patient paying quite a bit on a monthly basis.  The company that makes the drug offers patients up to $500 to cover copays or off the cost of the shot for those without insurance.  Even with this financial assistance, Vivitrol can be quite expensive.

Another drawback of Vivitrol is that patients can only get started on the drug after all alcohol and opiates are out of the patient’s system.  Generally this means that the patient has gone through detoxification and has been sober and clean for 7-10 days.  This usually only occurs when the patient is an inpatient program or a hospital setting.

Also, Vivitrol is currently only FDA approved for those 18 and older, although it is used “off label” for younger patients successfully and safely.

Finally, as with all prescription drugs, there are side effects.

Individual Decision

Vivitrol has many advantages and several disadvantages.  It is important for patients and healthcare professionals to understand the full picture when considering Vivitrol for substance abuse treatment.  The decision whether or not to take a drug like Vivitrol is an individual, case by case decision and should be made with a doctor who is properly credentialed.  If the decision is made to use Vivitrol, it should be done in conjunction with formal treatment and/or individual or group counseling for the best results.

New Hope Recovery Center has seen good results with clients who have used Vivitrol.  Most report drastically reduced cravings, increased confidence in their sobriety and a greater peace of mind.  Many have reported that they know it kept them sober and clean.  They realized there are points in any month where the stressors and temptation to use may become very high, but by getting the monthly shot, they knew they would find ways to cope that did not involve using.  You can contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Looking into addiction treatment programs (rehab) for yourself or a loved one can seem overwhelming.  Generally life is already stressful and unmanageable.  Trying to understand what options are available within the treatment world and what would work best is not an easy task.  To give you a starting point, here are 5 frequently asked questions about rehab and addiction treatment that will lead you in the right direction.

1.  How Much Does Addiction Treatment Cost?

The cost of treatment varies greatly based on the provider. It could be free or it could cost over $50,000.00. Many addiction treatment services are covered by insurance.  However, insurance coverage varies greatly by the carrier and the client's specific policy. Some treatment centers don't accept insurance, which means you may need to pay out of pocket at admission, and the provider will "Super Bill" you meaning you pay cash and they give you a bill to submit to insurance yourself. Insurance does not reimburse this amount at 100% or sometimes at all, which can be financially draining on the client and their family members. To avoid this, call your insurance carrier and ask them who is in network, your insurance company should be able to give you a list of facilities to choose from.

New Hope Recovery Center takes most major insurance and can check your benefits for you to determine what coverage you or your loved one has for addiction treatment.  Its important for treatment centers to review your insurance benefits with you and let you know if there are any costs you will need to pay prior to admission. Unexpected financial burdens can just cause more heartache during the recovery process, so if you ask the right questions up front, you should be able to alleviate unexpected bills later on down the road. Some questions that will be helpful when finding out about your insurance  coverage are: (1) Is there is a deductible and if so, how much has been met?  Are there any co-pays? (2) Is pre-certification required? (3) Do you need a PCP (primary care physician) referral (HMO policies only)? (4) If there is a maximum out of pocket cost and if so, how much has been met? (5) Is there a maximum number of sessions available? 

If you do not have insurance and cannot afford out of pocket expenses, state funded programs may be available in your area. Unfortunately, many state funded programs have wait lists and it can be difficult to qualify for treatment. The sooner you call, the sooner you can get in treatment. Always leave your name on the wait-list, they occasionally go quicker than than expected. Not all treatment centers participate in state funded options, but some may have scholarship opportunities or sliding scales. The important thing is to ask the questions about cost before your loved one gets admitted. It is important to remember, some people need to go to treatment more than once to obtain long term recovery, so find a place that fits your needs and is within your budget, paying tens of thousands of dollars on a treatment center will not guarantee your loved one will stay sober. 

2.  How Long Does Treatment Last?

Treatment will depend on the severity and/or type of addiction(s) a person suffers from. Treatment may range from:

  • Hospital based detoxification – Generally 3 to 7 days
  • Residential treatment program – 30 to 60 days
  • Partial Hospital Program (Day Program) – 1 to 4 weeks
  • Intensive Outpatient Program – 4 to 6 weeks
  • Aftercare Program - 6 to 24 months 

Providers offer different levels of treatment, you may need to go to a hospital for detoxification, and then transfer to a residential facility for treatment depending on the provider's continuum of care. Many treatment programs works with each other to ensure a smooth transition from one treatment center to another. 

3.  How Do I Know What Treatment Program Will Work For Me?

Treatment will only really work for you if you work it. Most addicts exhibit impulsive, compulsive, and obsessive thoughts and behaviors which will need to be overcome in order to succeed in rehab.  Also other areas of life can directly affect the chances of a successful treatment outcome. Having supportive friends and family, living in a safe environment, devoting time to your recovery can all  increase the chances of a successful recovery.  It is essential to be open, honest and willing to do whatever is necessary to begin living a sober life. What you put into it will be what you get out of it. It is important to put recovery first.

When looking into a treatment program, ask what the program consists of, visit the location, meet with counselors and staff. Most treatment centers will offer a free assessment to determine what level of care is most appropriate. The best treatment facility for you is one where you feel comfortable, where you feel welcomed and where you will want to stay.

4.  What Kind Of Family Involvement Is Needed?

For the best possible treatment results, family involvement is crucial. Addiction is a family disease, which means treating one member of the family will not ensure long term recovery for the family.  It affects everyone in the family and so the family must work toward wellness.  Even if there have been previous treatment episodes, family involvement is one of the most effective ways to heal the family and its members. Some providers have extended family programs which include support groups, such as, Al-anon and Family Anonymous.

5.  What Is The Process For Getting Into Rehab For Addiction?

The process begins by calling and speaking with an intake person and/or a certified alcohol and drug counselor who can answer any questions you may have. If you and the treatment center feel there is a good fit based on your situation, there will usually be an assessment to establish the severity of the addiction and other problem(s) and to determine what level of treatment is necessary. Information about the process at New Hope Recovery Center: Admissions Process.

Addiction is a progressive and fatal disease.  The longer an addicted person remains in treatment, the better the outcome.

For more information about finding a treatment center right for you, contact New Hope Recovery Center. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, it is important to call and go in for an assessment with a professional.  All assessments at New Hope Recovery Center are confidential with no obligation for further treatment. Recovery is possible, let us help. Call us at 888-707-4673 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

If you are considering addiction treatment, you may find these articles helpful as well:

Prescription Drug Rehab: 5 Important Questions to Ask

Overcoming the Fears of Going to Addiction Treatment

Intensive Outpatient Treatment: The New Standard?

Drug or Alcohol Addiction Rehab in Chicago

How to Find the Best Treatment Center in Chicago


Prescription drug abuse and addiction is something frequently over looked. Stigma is guided by perception and in the field of addiction there is a hierarchy of stigma.  A common stigma easily identified is the public perception surrounding licit and illicit drugs.  Alcohol is perceived as a lesser evil because it is a legal substance, whereas heroin for instance is perceived as one of the most dangerous and hardcore drugs because it is illegal. Alcohol is in fact one of the most dangerous and toxic substances that people abuse and yet it continues to carry less of a social stigma. Prescription pills are perceived as more socially acceptable because they are legal substances that are prescribed by doctors.  However, prescription pills often get acquired illicitly and subsequently abused.

Prescription drug abuse is defined as taking a prescribed drug for non-medical use or not as prescribed.  Prescription pills come in almost every class of drug with the most commonly abused being pain killers (Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin), Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium), and amphetamines (Adderall & Ritalin).  Women and teenagers are two populations significantly affected by the prescription pill epidemic.  The CDC reports that the rate of deaths cause by prescription pill overdoses has more than tripled from 1999-2008.  There is a public notion that since prescription pills are legal, and people get them from a doctor, that they are in fact safer than illegal drugs.  This is not true. Many first time users and careless consumers will take a higher dosage than prescribed or mix combinations of drugs and/or alcohol which can lead to overdosing. In some cases overdose can occur without the presence of an addiction.

It is estimated by National Survey of Drug Use and Health that around 60-70% of prescription drug abusers get the pills from family members or friends, about 17% have a prescription of their own, and about 5-10% get them from dealers or the internet.  The accessibility of prescription pills being around the house of family members and friends entices a lot of curious first time users to experimentation, especially adolescents.  The public’s perception may blur the lines on the acceptability of using prescription pills recreationally or for self-medication but in actuality the line is clearly drawn.  Using prescription pills for nonmedical use or using someone else’s prescription for one’s own use is in fact drug abuse and needs to be addressed.

If you or a loved one needs help for prescription drug abuse, New Hope Recovery Center is here to help. If you would like information about our programs, contact us at 888-707-4636 (HOPE), info@new-hope-recovery.com or visit us in person.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about prescription drugs? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

More Pain Pills Prescribed In Suburbs Than Chicago People living in Chicago’s suburbs are prescribed up to four times as many pain pills per person as those who live in the city, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis shows. In the southern tip of Illinois, it’s up to seven times as much, according to the analysis of federal Drug Enforcement Administration records of the numbers of prescriptions written for the two most popular prescription pain drugs — Oxycodone and hydrocodone. Oxycodone, the more powerful of the two, is the key ingredient in the brand-name prescription painkillers OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Hydrocodone, which like oxycodone is an opiate-based drug, is the main ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.



The recent death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman has once again shined a spotlight on heroin addiction. A true epidemic that is not only impacting inner cities, suburbs and rural areas, but also poor, middle and upper classes, the rich and famous included. Phillip Seymour Hoffman passed away in his New York City apartment on February 2nd, 2014 from a drug overdose. In his home police found heroin, as well as several different prescription medications, such as xanax and klonopin. This tragic event has reminded us that addiction is a life threatening chronic disease that does not discriminate. Many people believe that drug addiction only impacts the poor who live in the gutter.  But  addiction can take any life at anytime. Regardless of who the victim is, where they live or what they do for a living.  Overdose deaths related to heroin and opiates have continued to increase and the numbers are staggering.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was an Academy Award winning actor, who was not only loved by millions around the world, but was also considered one of the most respected actors of his time by his peers. Hoffman started his career with humble beginnings taking supporting roles in TV dramas such as “Law and Order”, but shortly moved to supporting roles in Hollywood films such as “Scent of a Woman” and “Boogie Nights”. In 2004 Hoffman played the starring role in the Truman Capote biopic “Capote”.  It was this role that won him an academy award for best actor. On paper and on screen, we saw what seemed to be a very successful actor, who when not working on his art, was spending time his family.

Hoffman attended New York University, which is where his problems with addiction began. He has stated in interviews that he would use whatever he could get his hands on. It was during these years that his drug use went from experimenting, to abuse and finally to addiction/dependency. In 1989, when Hoffman graduated he checked himself into a 28 day inpatient addiction treatment center.  He remained sober for 23 years. It was during these 23 years of sobriety that he did the majority of his acting and reached goals few actors ever reach. Little is known about Hoffman’s personal life; he was notoriously secretive and would rarely talk about his family or personal life in interviews. What we do know is that throughout the years, addiction stayed with him. Addiction, like diabetes, is a chronic disease which can go into remission, but can also reoccur at anytime if not managed properly.

Sadly, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s addiction to heroin and other drugs reoccurred after 23 years of sobriety.  In 2012, it was reported that Hoffman had began using heroin again after being prescribed strong opiate pain medication for a procedure he had the same year. The use of heroin after using opiate painkillers is a story we see and hear about quite often.  In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse nearly half of all young heroin intravenous users first abused prescription opioids.

In May 2012, Hoffman checked himself into a treatment program for 10 days, but at some point continued to use. 23 years sober and still struggling with addiction, Hoffman found himself in the exact place he was in 23 years prior.

On February 2nd, the world lost Phillip Seymour Hoffman to his addiction. The initial reaction to his death was a mixture of shock and sadness. The world was shocked we had a lost such an accomplished actor we all loved to addiction, but what the world missed is that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was no different than any other type of addict. Hoffman suffered from a progressive disease that when untreated can be fatal. Addiction does not discriminate.

If two good things can come out of this tragic story, it’s the increased awareness of addiction in general and the proof that even after years of sobriety, addiction can claim lives, because addiction is not curable and people have to fight everyday for their sobriety. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a successful, respected man with a loving family.  Mr. Hoffman starred in over 50 films, won countless awards for his art and will be considered one of the most respected actors of our time. He had been sober for 23 years, but somehow the addiction reclaimed his life.  Underneath all this there was an addict and the addict in Phillip Seymour Hoffman was no different than the addict without a home you walk past on the street, the addict who makes your coffee in the morning or the addict who lives next door to you.

There is hope for those with addictions.  Many in Hollywood and elsewhere are urging people to speak out and better understand addiction as the disease it truly is.  Demi Lovato stated. “I wish more people would lose the stigma and treat addiction as the deadly and serious DISEASE that it is.” Addiction can be treated.  When it is not treated it can ruin and end lives.  If you or someone you know has an addiction, reach out for help.

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier addiction treatment facility offering treatment for heroin, alcohol and other substances.  You can reach us at info@new-hope-recovery.com, 773-883-3916 or visit us at 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., #304, Chicago IL 60657.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about Heroin? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below:

Chicago Heroin Addiction and Facts Heroin use in Chicago and surrounding suburbs has continued to escalate.  Heroin is an extremely addictive opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

Heroin Abuse Warning Signs Heroin has been receiving more attention in the news recently. CBS NEWS: Hooked on Heroin;  NY TIMES: Heroin in New England, More Abundant and Deadly; BBC News: Cory Monteith: The Heroin users that don’t fit the ‘junkie’ stereotype; USA Today: OxyContin a Gateway to Heroin for Upper-Income Addicts. Although it can be upsetting this is very helpful because greater awareness about Heroin and its warning signs can help save lives.   Sadly heroin use has increased all over the US, including in the Chicagoland area.

Parents’ Guide to Prevent Heroin Use and Addiction We previously discussed Chicago’s heroin epidemic and saw that the rapid increase in young adults becoming addicted to heroin is truly startling. There are steps that parents can take to prevent their loved ones from becoming a sad statistic of the heroin epidemic.

Chicago’s Heroin Epidemic – Parents Beware As an addiction treatment center in Lincoln Park, Chicago, we see trends in addiction first hand.  Although all addictions are heartbreaking, nothing has touched us as deeply as the current heroin epidemic among young people.  We have seen young adults in their late teens and early twenties struggling to recover from one of the most dangerous, addictive and life-threatening drugs.  It is a hard struggle – for both the addicts and their families.

Heroin (Opiate) Addiction – Suboxone vs. Vivitrol Medication-assisted treatment for addiction, especially opiates (such as Heroin, Vicodin, and Oxycontin), is not new nor is the controversy that accompanies it.  The most recent controversy involves the use of medications to aid in the treatment of opiate addiction, with Suboxone and Vivitrol receiving the most press.  There is an abundant amount of information available on the internet – unfortunately not all of it is accurate. Keep in mind the choice whether to use medication to assist in opiate addiction rehab is a personal decision best made with accurate information and support from an informed addiction health care team.

Perhaps the hardest part of drug or alcohol addiction treatment is actually getting there. The fears about entering an addiction treatment program or facility (rehab) can overpower the will to get sober and keep someone from getting the help they need. With so many unknowns involved, it’s not surprising many people initially decide against treatment for their addiction.

But how many of these fears are healthy and how many are irrational? It’s important to remember that fear or anxiousness surrounding addiction treatment and sobriety is normal and is something most people go through.

People have all sorts of fears about treatment that can range a variety of different questions.

  • Will I have to stop using/drinking forever?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Who can find out I went to treatment?
  • Will I be able to see my family?
  • Can I leave work to go to treatment?
  • Will I have to miss work to go to treatment?
  • How will addiction treatment impact my insurance?
  • How long will I be in treatment for?
  • What happens after rehab?

These are excellent questions.  But fear based on assuming certain answers can deter someone from getting help.  So get actual answers to these questions.  This will allow you to see what addiction treatment is like.

The best way to do this is to reach out to local treatment centers and ask them these questions directly. Most treatment teams have employees knowledgeable about almost all aspects of treatment.  Often you can make a confidential anonymous phone call or have an anonymous electronic chat to you’re your questions answered. Understand that the answers will vary based on different addiction treatment programs.  So be sure to contact more than one to make sure you find a treatment center that will fit for you and minimize your fears.

Another great way to get answers is to talk to others who have been through rehab. There is no better way of learning about something new than picking the brain of someone who has been there before. Have an honest conversation with someone who has been through it before, this can help alleviate your fears.

You can also ease some of your concerns and unknowns by doing do some research online.  Most treatment centers will have a frequent asked question page, or something comparable.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to change your life forever. If you’re thinking about going to treatment for an addiction, but are struggling with fears and unknowns surrounding it, do what you can to address those fears. Write down your fears down and questions and get answers.

New Hope Recovery Center would be happy to answer any of your questions.  Ideally we would love to answer the questions here, but because each person’s situation will be different, it is better if you contact us so we can fully understand your situation.  You can call us at 888-707-4673, email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com or chat with us online by visiting our website: www.new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about seeking help? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below:

Intensive Outpatient: The New Standard? Drug addiction and alcoholism is a progressive disease, so there are many stages of the disease and many different levels of care in which you can treat them. Although the 28 day treatment programs are effective for the severe/chronic cases, Intensive Outpatient is a great alternative. Most people think of a 28 day treatment program when they think of rehab for alcoholism or some other substance addiction.

Residential Drug Rehab: The Inpatient Treatment Option: Finding the right drug and alcohol treatment center can be overwhelming with all the different types of programs available. With so many terms, acronyms and levels of care, many are overwhelmed before they even decide on a program. Residential Day Treatment, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, Inpatient are just a few of the more commons ones. The most well known, inpatient and residential is what has become synonymous when people think of “drug and alcohol rehab.”

Drug or Alcohol Addiction Rehab in Chicago: Seeking help for a drug or alcohol addiction is often an overwhelming and confusing process.  Deciding to get help is a huge step, but can often lead to feeling  overwhelmed wondering where to start.  With so many options (including self-help groups such as AA, NA, CA, CMA, etc.) available, it can seem like a daunting task.

How to Find the Best Treatment Center in Chicago: If you are seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one for the first time, searching the Internet can be extremely overwhelming. There are numerous treatment centers in Chicago, and even more throughout Illinois. Whether you are searching for yourself or a loved one, it is important to know the right questions to ask a drug and alcohol treatment center. It is also important to look at the needs of the individual and make sure you are preparing for long term care.

Insurance Coverage & Rehab – Will your insurance pay for treatment? The reason for having health insurance is to alleviate the large financial burden when dealing with any type of illness.  However, insurance providers are not forthcoming with all the information related to an individual with chemical dependency or substance abuse treatment needs. Insurance providers claim there are no “limits” on benefits for rehab, but all benefits are based on medical necessity. What often goes unstated, is the insurance provider is the sole entity determining what constitutes to be medically necessary.

Heroin use in Chicago and surrounding suburbs has continued to escalate.  Heroin is an extremely addictive opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

Heroin Use

Heroin can be (1) injected, (2) inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or (3) smoked. All three routes of administration deliver the drug to the brain very rapidly, which contributes to its health risks and to its high risk for addiction.  Repeated use of heroin causes changes in the brain, which frequently leads to uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter what consequences may occur.  For some people, heroin addiction begins after they are prescribed opiate pain drugs, but start misusing them.

Heroin Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms begin 6 to 12 hours after the last use, peaking within 1 to 3 days, and gradually subsiding over 5 to 7 days. However, some heroin users experience weeks or months or years of withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin Effects:

  • The heroin “rush” is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and heavy feeling extremities.  It may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe itching.
  • After the initial rush, abusers often feel drowsy for several hours. Mental function is clouded by heroin's effect on the central nervous system. Heart rate slows. Breathing is also severely slowed, sometimes to the point of death. Heroin overdose is a particular risk because the amount and purity of the drug is not accurately known.
  • While using heroin and during withdrawal, the heroin user may experience:
    • Cravings
    • Mood Changes
    • Aches and Pains
    • Excessive Bodily Fluids
    • Diarrhea and Stomach Pain
    • Nausea and Vomiting
    • Fever
    • Restlessness
    • Sleep Problems
    • High risk of infections, such as HIV/AIDS
    • Collapsed veins
    • Infection of the heart lining and valves
    • Liver disease

Chicago Heroin Facts:

  • Heroin production and availability has grown significantly in the past decade. Reports from the National Drug Intelligence Center show larger yields from Mexico have led to purer, less expensive and more abundant supply heroin within the U.S.
  • In Chicago, nearly all heroin comes from Mexico via the Mexican drug cartels and is being distributed by Chicago street gangs, in what the DEA calls “the Perfect Storm”
  • For the past several years, Chicago has ranked first in the nation for heroin overdose emergency room visits.  Chicago heroin related visits are nearly double those of NYC and significantly more than 2nd ranked Boston.
  • From 2007-2011, mortality overdose/deaths increased by 115% in Lake County, IL, 100% in Will County, IL, and 50% in McHenry County, IL.
  • Heroin use in Illinois among white teenagers under the age of 18 has increased by 22%.

At New Hope Recovery Center, we have seen the increased use of heroin among Chicago area young adults first hand.  If you know someone who is using heroin, urge them to get help before it is too late for them.  You can contact us at 800-707-4673 or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

You may also be interested in reading other information about heroin use and addiction:

Heroin Abuse Warning Signs  Sadly heroin use has increased all over the US, including in Chicagoland area. How can you tell if someone you love is abusing heroin?  Look for these warning signs...

New Hope Recovery Center Review: Client Success Story When I first got to New Hope Recovery Center, I was no stranger to treatment. I had several attempts with inpatient treatment centers and detox units. At the time I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be sober, I know I needed to be though. New Hope Recovery Center is where I learned “to want it.” At only 21 years old I was a daily heroin user and an alcoholic, I was not hirable and had burned up all but a few bridges with my family and ...

America's Failed Drug Policy The above Documentary: The House I Live In really pushes Americans to think about how we need to change our strategy when fighting the “War on Drugs.” Recently, Roosevelt University hosted the Third Annual Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy.  This year, the three main panels concentrated on (1) the opiate (heroin) epidemic in the Chicago area, (2) the potential Naloxone (an opiate antagonist that can reverse the effects of opiates) has to prevent overdose deaths and save lives, and (3) the future of drug policy in the United States...

Parents' Guide to Prevent Heroin Use and Addiction We previously discussed Chicago’s heroin epidemic and saw that the rapid increase in young adults becoming addicted to heroin is truly startling. There are steps that parents can take to prevent their loved ones from becoming a sad statistic of the heroin epidemic...

Chicago's Heroin Epidemic - Parents Beware As an addiction treatment center in Lincoln Park, Chicago, we see trends in addiction first hand.  Although all addictions are heartbreaking, nothing has touched us as deeply as the current heroin epidemic among young people.  We have seen young adults in their late teens and early twenties struggling to recover from one of the most dangerous, addictive and life-threatening drugs.  It is a hard struggle – for both the addicts and their families...

Heroin (opiate) Addiction - Suboxone vs. Vivitrol Medication-assisted treatment for addiction, especially opiates (such as Heroin, Vicodin, and Oxycontin), is not new nor is the controversy that accompanies it.  The most recent controversy involves the use of medications to aid in the treatment of opiate addiction, with Suboxone and Vivitrol receiving the most press.  There is an abundant amount of information available on the internet – unfortunately not all of it is accurate...

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

When people abuse alcohol or drugs, they are taking risks with their health.  With Drug and Alcohol abuse it does not take long for damage to occur to one’s brain, body, and mind.  Along with the substance itself, there are risks and dangers associated with the lifestyle of substance abusers.  Certain lifestyle risks include financial, relationship, security, career, and overall personal health. People who take risks with their sexual health will likely come into contact with sexually transmitted diseases which can prove to be quite dangerous.

A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is any disease transmitted by direct sexual contact. Common types of STDs include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, Syphilis, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis.

Symptoms of STDs will depend on the type, but some of the most common symptoms people will experience include:

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Discharge from the penis or rectum
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic Pain (menstrual like/female)
  • Testicular tenderness
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Warts at genital area
  • Itching at genital area

Due to the lifestyle, using addicts and alcoholics are more susceptible to STDs. There are a number of reasons for this, including when intoxicated, people are more likely to engage in unprotected sex. Alcohol/drugs lower inhibitions which may lead to promiscuity. Also, when intoxicated, physical symptoms will be less obvious and can easily be ignored. If on an Antibiotic to treat a STD, the use of substances may interfere with its effectiveness. Antibiotic compliance is less likely among substance abusers and the same goes for most medications.

Prevention is key, make sure to always use a condom for intercourse or dental dam for oral sex. Seek medical attention if any of the above symptoms are present. If unprotected sex has occurred, seek testing immediately. STD testing is simple, inexpensive or free, and confidential. Follow through with medical advice. (for example: repeat testing, full course of antibiotics, etc.)

If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol or drug abuse, seek help quickly. Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are diseases and gets worse over time. Seeking help or getting tested can be scary, but you don't need to do it alone. New Hope Recovery Center provides confidential assessments and treatment for substance abuse. We also have a nurse on staff who works closely with our Medical Director to handle medically related health concerns such as STDs. Contact New Hope Recovery Center by email or phone 773-883-3916.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

As 2013 comes to a close, we wanted to review our most popular articles during the year.  In reviewing the most viewed articles, four major themes emerge as the top concerns and focus of our readers during this year.

Warning Signs

It is clear that many people are interested in determining if they or a loved one suffers from addiction.  Several of our most-read articles dealt with warning signs for various potential addictions.


Heroin, Heroin, Heroin

If there was one prominent addiction theme during 2013, it was definitely heroin.  Heroin received both local and nationwide focus.  Its availability and low price seemed to put it at the forefront for many addiction treatment centers.  Sadly, too many lives were lost due to heroin use this past year, including Cory Monteith from Glee.  Many Chicago-area counties have seen a large increase in the number of heroin/opiate related deaths. Several of our most reviewed articles dealt with heroin.  In addition to the Heroin Abuse Warning Signs mentioned above, these two articles were also very popular:


Parents Concern for Their Children

Another area that received the many readers involved articles written for parents about their children's addiction.  The number of late teens and early twenties in treatment has been drastically increasing in recent years.  The following were our most popular articles geared toward parents:



The final area of our most-read articles dealt with LGBTQI issues and concerns:

All of us at New Hope Recovery Center wish you a Healthy and Happy New Year.  We are looking forward to 2014 and will continue to provide helpful articles on current issues and concerns seen by us and our clients and their families. You can reach New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-HOPE (4673), or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

What role are you?

Families operate as a system, no matter how functional or dysfunctional that may be perceived to be.  Each family member has a role.  It is not necessarily an assigned role, it is often an assumed role based off of learned actions and reactions.  Families which have one or more members who suffer from addiction will most likely find the entire system to be organized by the disease.  When someone is suffering from addiction it is often the family members who notice and experience the consequences first before the actual person does.  The consequences felt by others are real; they are not perceived and therefore in an effort to adapt family members begin to change their role to lessen the consequences they experience.  Change is slow, especially for the one suffering from the disease, so as a result the family balance begins to shift.  Think of it as a baby’s mobile above a crib, not all the toys hanging from the mobile hold the same weight yet it hangs in the balance in its own unique way.  What this looks like in real life is a family which is trying to increase consistency and structure in a system which is becoming more and more unpredictable and chaotic.

This manifestation of specific roles is not always noticeable while it is happening; incremental change is hard to see while it is happening.  A common way a family comes to realize this shift is once the family member suffering from addiction decides to start on the road to recovery.  They may go off to treatment and be ready to work a program only to come back to their family and realize the new role they want is not conducive to how the family system was functioning before.  A similar example is a veteran who returns home from war and has trouble reintegrating into their family and society.  The family and the individual do not always know how to adjust, even if the desire to change is positive.  Claudia Black Ph.D. has taken the work of Virginia Satir on family roles and adapted it to the addictive family.  People do not always fall into one category or another cleanly; sometimes family members take on different roles for different situations.  Where do you see yourself fitting into these categories and what implications can you draw from them?



1. Successful

2. Organized

3. Leadership Skills

4. Decisive

5. Initiator

6. Self-disciplined

7. Goal-oriented


1. Perfectionist

2. Difficulty Listening

3. Inability to Follow

4. Inability to Relax

5. Lack of Spontaneity

6. Inflexible

7. Unwilling to Ask for Help

8. High Fear of Mistakes

9. Need to be in Control




1. Caring/Compassionate

2. Empathic

3. Good Listener

4. Sensitive to Others

5. Gives Well


1. Inability to Receive

2. Denies Personal Needs

3. High Tolerance for Inappropriate Behavior

4. Strong Fear of Anger or Conflict

5. False Guilt

6. Anxious

7. Highly Fearful

8. Hypervigilant




1. Creative

2. Less Denial, Greater Honesty

3. Sense of Humor

4. Close to Own Feelings

5. Ability to Lead


1. Inappropriate Expression of Anger

2. Inability to Follow Direction

3. Self-Destructive

4. Intrusive

5. Irresponsible

6. Social Problems at Young Age

7. Underachiever

8. Defiant/Rebel




1. Independent

2. Flexible

3. Ability to Follow

4. Easy Going Attitude

5. Quiet


1. Unable to Initiate

2. Withdraws

3. Fearful of Making Decisions

4. Lack of Direction

5. Ignored, Forgotten

6. Follows Without Questioning

7. Difficulty Perceiving Choices and Options




1. Sense of Humor

2. Flexible

3. Able to Relieve Stress and Pain


1. Attention Seeker

2. Distracting

3. Immature

4. Difficulty Focusing

5. Poor Decision Making Ability


As mentioned, roles are assigned and assumed based off of learned behavior in the past.    It is important to understand how roles can be restricting in our life.  The label alone has implications for how someone is perceived by others and in turn views themselves.  There isn’t a specific role which someone should strive to be, each role has strengths and deficits.  It is more beneficial to be self-aware of our own strengths and shortcomings so we can attempt to use the information to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives in our day to day life.  The disease of addiction affects the whole family, there are some things one can control and there are others that one cannot.  If you are a loved one of someone who suffers from addiction consider reaching out to a 12-step fellowship near you such as Al-Anon or Families Anonymous:




At New Hope Recovery Center, we involve family and friends as a key component of addiction treatment. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact us at 773.883.3916.

You may also be interested in reading: Addiction in the Family: The Roles We Play

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center