Heroin is a powerful opioid. Also called black tar, horse, and smack, heroin is often mixed with other drugs and taken at unknown amounts, which increases the danger it poses. As opioid access and addiction become more of a problem across the United States, heroin can become a “follow-up” drug for some.

Villa Oasis San Diego is equipped to handle heroin addiction at our San Diego addiction treatment center. We understand your path to healing is going to be different from everyone else’s.

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    What is Heroin?

    Heroin is an addictive illegal drug made from morphine, typically extracted from various poppy flowers. It comes in two primary forms:

    • Powder (white or brown), often “cut” or mixed with other drugs
    • “Black tar,” which is a thick, black form that can either be sticky or hard

    Depending on the type and purity of heroin, it is typically injected, smoked, sniffed, or snorted.

    What Are the Effects Of Heroin?

    The effects of heroin can be broadly understood in two categories: short-term and long-term effects. Short-term effects occur during a high, while long-term effects impact the body after continuous usage.

    Short-Term Effects

    The main effect of a short-term heroin high is euphoria, an intense feeling of joy or elation. In addition to euphoria, heroin causes the following symptoms:

    • Shallow breathing
    • Lowered sense of pain
    • Flushed skin
    • Dry mouth
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Extreme itchiness
    • “Cloudy” or “foggy” thinking

    Long-Term Effects

    When an individual uses heroin for a long enough time, they can experience a new set of symptoms. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), these effects arise due to “changes [in] the physical structure and physiology of the brain.” As a person uses heroin more and more, their brain physically changes, which can make recovery challenging.

    Some long-term effects of heroin include:

    • Insomnia
    • Arthritis
    • Abscesses
    • Constipation
    • Depression
    • Liver disease
    • Kidney disease

    Some effects may depend on the specific individual or the way they use heroin. They include:

    • For people with penises, sexual dysfunction
    • For people who menstruate, irregular menstruation
    • For those who inject heroin, collapsed veins
    • For those who sniff heroin, injury to the inner nose

    Heroin use also results in tolerance and dependence. Very quickly, an individual needs more and more of the drug to produce a high. Often, these highs provide diminishing returns. At the same time, the brain struggles to cope without heroin in the body, and the effects of withdrawal can be especially difficult.

    Facts About Heroin Addiction

    Heroin is very addictive, quickly creating a reliance on the drug for anyone who uses it. Those who become addicted to heroin are diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD), a type of substance use disorder (SUD). Although OUD is highly stigmatized, the reality is that those with the disorder are struggling with significant changes to their brain and body.

    Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

    While OUD symptoms broadly refer to addiction to any opioid, those who are addicted to heroin experience symptoms centering around the drug. Some symptoms include:

    • Taking more heroin than intended or for longer than intended
    • Persistent heroin cravings
    • Unsuccessful attempts to lower heroin use
    • Persistent heroin use despite negative consequences
    • Heroin tolerance
    • Heroin withdrawal


    Recovering from heroin isn’t easy. Anyone who’s struggled with heroin use, or known someone who has, knows there are many reasons why. One such reason is withdrawal: a nasty, painful process that can occur when an individual who regularly uses heroin suddenly stops. Some symptoms of withdrawal include:

    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Excessive sweating
    • Runny nose
    • Bone pain
    • Chills

    Treating Heroin Addiction

    Over the years, heroin addiction treatment has grown to include several techniques. Currently, experts use a combination of psychotherapy and medications to treat OUD. Therapies for OUD include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and others. When medication is used in treatment, it’s known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Medications commonly used in MAT for heroin addiction include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

    What to Expect at Villa Oasis San Diego

    No one wants to be struggling with addiction alone ⁠— and no one should be. Villa Oasis San Diego, located in beautiful San Diego, California, offers one of the best opioid treatment programs in California. Our center has a two-to-one staff ratio and offers only six beds, ensuring our residents can receive the full attention they need. Residents can expect to stay for 30 to 45 days, with stay times varying based on need and preferences.

    Our Philosophy

    Villa Oasis is a high-end, person-based treatment center. First and foremost, we understand each resident as their own person with their own life history. When a resident first meets with our staff, we work with them to outline their life experiences, needs, and unique circumstances. After all, no one method works for everyone; we wouldn’t expect all stories to be the same, so we certainly don’t treat you like yours is. We’re here to talk about our residents’ real, authentic experiences and show them authenticity and respect.

    Our Therapies

    At Villa Oasis, we individualize our approach to our residents’ needs and personal lives. We take holistic seriously — in fact, we offer over ten types of therapy. In addition to interventions, medical detox, stabilization, and MAT, we provide the following therapy modalities:

    • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
    • CBT
    • Equine therapy
    • Expressive art therapy
    • MAT
    • Music therapy

    Recovering in Comfort

    The gentle Californian weather, a beautiful villa not too far from the sea, and a comfortable suite to reside in. What more could you want? After all, beautiful natural environments promote mental well-being. As it turns out, you can ask for plenty … and we’re bringing it to you.

    In addition to the beautiful local environment, we offer our residents a variety of comforts. All meals are cooked by our personal, in-house chef. Residents can swim in our pool or watch movies in our on-site movie theater to release stress. We also offer several holistic treatment options, including yoga, breathwork, and sound therapy.

    Find Peace at Villa Oasis

    At Villa Oasis San Diego, we are committed to helping you or your loved one recover in peace and privacy. Our luxury facility is sequestered away from the stress and pressures of the world. During their stay with us, residents are assisted with learning how to live by our 24-hour staff.

    Contact us today to learn about our different programs and services. Learn what sets the Villa apart from other addiction treatment centers.

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