24/7 Care and Support

Heroin Detox

For anyone living with addiction, attempting to quit can be an uncomfortable, sometimes even painful experience. Because the prolonged use of heroin makes changes at the chemical level in a person’s brain, perceptions, feelings, and behaviors all become distorted.

Nevertheless, at Pacific Sands Recovery in Santa Ana, California we aim to help those living with heroin addiction to find lasting recovery. This starts with our medically supervised heroin detox in Orange County.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of poppy plants grown in and around Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and South America. Heroin can be a white or brown powder or a sticky dark substance known as “black tar heroin.”

When heroin enters the brain—either through intravenous (I.V.) injection, or it’s inhaled, or smoked—it is converted back into morphine. This morphine binds to the brain’s opioid receptors. As these opioid receptors govern the body’s perceptions of pain and pleasure, the morphine will increase the pleasurable feelings and decrease the pain.

Being an opioid, heroin is classified in the same category as morphine, fentanyl, opium, and prescription painkillers like oxycodone (OxyContin), and hydrocodone (Vicodin). The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), has classified heroin as a Schedule I drug, meaning it poses an “elevated risk” of addiction and has no legitimate medical use.

The Dangers of Heroin Use

Like other opioids, heroin affects the body’s respiratory system and decreases the body’s heart rate. If not monitored, a slowed respiratory system can put a person into a coma and cause hypoxia, or brain damage due to the deprivation of oxygen. Heroin also carries the risk of overdose, collapsed veins, heart infections, liver and kidney disease, and the spreading of infectious diseases.

Aside from addiction, the most common effects of heroin abuse include:

  • Infection of heart valves
  • Pneumonia
  • Pericarditis
  • Cellulitis
  • Abscesses at injection sites
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Accidental overdose

Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

Like other drugs, symptoms of heroin addiction tend to vary among users, based on the user’s genetic makeup, the frequency of heroin usage, and the user’s physical dependency on the drug. While some symptoms are easy to spot, others are barely noticeable to the untrained eye.

A few of the more common symptoms of heroin addiction include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Track marks on the arms or legs
  • Infections on the skin from injection sites
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constant runny nose
  • Confusion
  • Impaired memory
  • Detachment from reality
  • Hallucinations
  • Wild mood swings
  • Agitation

Becoming addicted to heroin can cause lasting damage to the lives of not just the user, but to their friends and loved ones. Addiction to heroin quickly consumes every aspect of a person’s life, preventing them from fulfilling work or school duties or functioning normally at home. Heroin addiction leads to financial disaster and possible criminal behavior, as the addict will come to do anything for the drug. Fortunately, rehab can help and anyone questioning what happens during the rehab process can have confidence we have the tools to help.

What Happens During a Heroin Detox Program?

Heroin detox in Orange County is the process wherein a person stops using heroin. This allows the toxins in a person’s system to leave the body. Detoxing is the first step on the path to recovery from heroin addiction. Upon entering a heroin detox program, people usually undergo a health assessment. This helps determine the severity of the addiction.

The person doing the assessment—usually a doctor, nurse practitioner, or some other medical professional—also checks for any co-occurring mental health disorders. A co-occurring mental health disorder is a mental health disorder that has developed before or during a person’s abuse of heroin. Common co-occurring disorders include anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder.

Timeline of Heroin Withdrawal

  • One to 24 hours. Withdrawal symptoms are felt within three hours of the last use. Sweating and body aches are common.
  • 24 to 36 hours. Withdrawal symptoms intensify. The risk of psychological and physical complications increases.
  • Days four through six. Heroin has left the system but the effects of withdrawal continue. The intensity of these symptoms may decrease but long-term users, or those with other health complications, may struggle.
  • Day seven and onward. The most severe withdrawal symptoms have almost entirely subsided. Addressing the client’s addictive behavior and contributing factors can begin.

24/7 Help Is Standing By

Visit the admissions page at Pacific Sands Recovery today to learn more about detox.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone addicted to heroin stops using heroin—either due to unavailability or because they are trying to quit—their body will feel its absence. This leads to sometimes wild mood swings and personality changes along with the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

The physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bone and muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Muscle spasms
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Intense cravings

Withdrawal from heroin is not life-threatening. However, certain combinations of withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous. For this reason, solo detox is a bad idea. Instead, those with a heroin addiction will want to seek a medically supervised heroin detox in Orange County, followed by professional addiction treatment.

MAT for Heroin Withdrawal

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for heroin withdrawal is a treatment approach that has proven safe and effective in helping people achieve a successful recovery from addiction. Those undergoing MAT for heroin addiction takes prescription medications to end their heroin use safely, without the painful withdrawal symptoms typical of kicking the habit.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are among several medical authorities that endorse the appropriate use of medications during detox and to help people maintain their recovery.

That said, MAT is not a “silver bullet” for addiction. Those taking medications for their heroin withdrawal symptoms must also participate in therapy sessions to develop the skills needed to avoid relapse. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several drugs to treat symptoms of heroin withdrawal.

Pacific Sands MAT program features the following prescription medications:

  • Methadone is an opioid used for pain relief, addiction treatment, and maintenance of opiate dependence. Methadone binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system to produce a pain-relieving effect similar to heroin or other high-strength painkillers.
  • Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. This binding prevents the onset of heroin cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine is included in several brand-name medications, including Suboxone, Subutex, Zubsolv, and Cassipa.
  • Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids like heroin, morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl by blocking the opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Therefore, if a person uses heroin while taking naltrexone, they won’t experience any of its pleasurable effects. Brand name medications containing naltrexone include Vivitrol and Revia.

Find Quality Heroin Detox and Treatment in Orange County

When you are ready to get help for your heroin addiction, the personalized treatment programs of Pacific Sands Recovery in Orange County can help. We provide a caring, safe, and supportive detoxification program to enable you to get better and start your recovery journey on the right foot. We accept GEHA, Aetna and Beacon Health Options insurance plans for those who qualify.

To learn more about our heroin addiction treatment program, or our medication-assisted treatment, contact us today.


  • I would just like to share how Grateful I am with my experience through my addiction at this facility. I couldn’t possibly ask to be in such a “SAFE/COMFORTABLE” environment while receiving treatment for my addiction. I would just like to say Thank you sooo much to ALL the staff there from the Nurse’s to counselors and therapist all of you are a True Blessing in helping me through my journey of sobriety. I couldn’t feel more comfortable there on how they monitored my physical health and on dealing with my emotional health with there therapy sessions and groups I truly see them ALL as Family!

    Andrew N.
  • As a professional in the recovery field I have worked with many detox centers and none compare to The this one. Their staff is incredibly attentive and knowledgable regarding the needs of individuals seeking recovery from the very start. Their facility is welcoming and homey while remaining very luxe. I would recommend this facility to any loved one or friend looking to start down their journey of sobriety.

  • This place helped saved my life, and a great stepping stone to get my life on the right track. Was there first client under new management, caring staff and owners, comfortable place to get you on your feet in sobriety.

  • Great Staff. Comfortable Environment. Awesome place to Get Clean and Sober. Thank you guys for everything.


    Pacific Sands Recovery Center

    1909 W Carlton Pl
    Santa Ana, CA 92704


    Ready to Start Your Journey?

    Reaching out is the first step to a new life. We’re here for you.

      © 2023 Pacific Sands Recovery Center – All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy

      24/7 Help Is Standing By, Call Us Now