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The Effects of Heroin: A Closer Look at What Abuse and Addiction does
“The Effects of Heroin: A Closer Look at What Abuse and Addiction does”
Heroin is no doubt one of the most widely-known—and most notorious—illegal drugs in the world. In the public mind, its effects are just “bad” or “terrible.” Rarely do people know the specific things that happen when someone abuse it.
Today we will explore what heroin does to an addicted individual, with a goal of encouraging more people to stay away from the substance, or help users seek treatment.
A Closer Look at Heroin
Heroin is an opiate that has very little medical uses. It is occasionally used to relieve pain ranging from moderate to severe. However, heroin is more associated with recreational use.
Because of the euphoric experience that it provides, many people can easily get hooked on it. Tolerance develops quickly. In no time, a user begins craving more and more of the drug just to get the same effects.
Heroin is typically injected into a vein, but it can also be snorted, smoked, or inhaled. Effects are fast-acting and may last for a few hours.
History of Heroin
Did you know that Heroin is only a trade name for diamorphine? This name is derived from the Greek word “heros,” because of its “heroic” effects on a user. It was first introduced as an over-the-counter drug by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, back in 1895.
Initially, it was advertised as a substitute for morphine, which is supposed to be “non-addictive”. It would later be discovered that heroin is also habit-forming, and people can in fact get addicted to it.
Nowadays, it goes by multiple street names, the most common of which is dope.
Heroin Side Effects
Abusing the drug may lead to a few negative side effects such as respiratory depression, abscesses, constipation, and pneumonia. And because of the nature of recreational drug abuse, people often share needles when taking it. This puts them at risk of various blood-borne illnesses like HIV/AIDS.
Overdose is also possible. It may be treated with naloxone.
Heroin Abuse Statistics
Heroin abuse remains a big problem in today’s society. In fact, as of 2015, around 17 million people use opiates such as heroin. About 1.6 percent of the United States population have used heroin at some point in time.
Heroin and other opiates have caused approximately 122,000 deaths that same year. Opioids cause most of the deaths that involve drug overdose.
Heroin Abuse Effects
Heroin, like other opioids, do not cause many long term adverse effects—aside from dependence and constipation, that is. However, some users have reported severe constipation, weakness, insomnia, and decrease in sexual functioning.
The short term effects also vary from person to person. It may include nausea, vomiting, itchy skin, slowed heart rate, and slowed respiration.
However, intravenous use of heroin is riskier, as we mentioned above. Equipment-related complications may include fungal endocarditis, abscesses, blood-borne diseases, and even poisoning.
Heroin also puts the user at a high risk of death from overdose. Using moderate doses is difficult because proper measurement of heroin is difficult in recreational settings.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
It is recommended that the addicted individual undergoes a medically assisted recovery process. Try to find the best rehabilitation facility near you, and they will help the patient through the detoxification process.
Recovery involves safe detox, wherein the patient is slowly taken off the drug by gradually lowering their dosage. Withdrawal symptoms are managed as they manifest.
Recovering from heroin addiction is very difficult when done alone, and self-regulation is nearly impossible. The risk of heroin relapse is high, so it is best that the patient also experiences behavioral therapy.
Throughout this therapy process, the patient is encouraged to focus on getting better, and learn healthy stress management techniques, so that they can get back to living a sober life, once the detox process is over.