Rising problem of heroin addiction - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Rising problem of heroin addiction

Posted: Updated:
MADISON (WKOW) -- There's been a rising increase in heroin overdoses in Dane County, and the drug has killed more people than any other in the last five years.

Dr. Aleksandra Zgierska, a UW Health family medicine physician, says heroin is highly addictive. She said it's in the same category of substances as morphine or oxycodone.

"It can provide pain management, but also it stimulates a reward center in our brains," Dr. Zgierska said. "And people like the sensation. It releases dopamine, which makes people feel good. Unfortunately this is a short lived sensation and people need to use more and more of a drug, either heroin or opiates of other types, to maintain that feeling."

Dr. Zgierska says people can get hooked on heroin just after trying it once or twice.

"In addition to it's highly addictive potential, it also can cause very serious side effects and problems even after one time use," Dr. Zgierska said. "In the most extreme situation it can cause death."

Dr. Zgierska says the good thing is heroin addiction is treatable, just like any other addiction.

"Success of treatment depends on variety of factors, but one of the main factors is, does the person stick with a treatment," Dr. Zgierska said. "We know that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and the definition is chronic relapsing brain disease, so just like diabetes, people should take care of it lifelong."

According to Dr. Zgierska, there are many signs someone you care about may have an addiction, like dropping responsibilities, behaving differently, keeping to themselves, or depression.

"The main features is loss of control over drugs, a drug takes over and hijacks somebody's life," Dr. Zgierska said.

There are many resources in the Dane County area for people suffering from addiction. Dr. Zgierska says if you have insurance coverage you should call your provider to see what services are covered, and where they are covered. If you do not have insurance, she said you should contact Dane County Public Health Department for help.

Here are some helpful links:
Dr. Zgierska joined us on 27 News at 5 on Friday.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WQOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's pubic inspection file should contact News Director Dan Schillinger at 715-852-5920. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.