Heroin… The Facts

Heroin is responsible for 51% of all drug related deaths. Heroin is a deadly drug that can result in physical dependence within a short period of time. Due to the dangers of the drug, it is important to seek treatment when dependence starts to develop.

The creation of heroin comes from opium poppies. The flowers are used to create several opiate prescription medications. The flowers are grown in several countries, but heroin is primarily produced in Afghanistan and Mexico. Unfortunately, the compounds that reduce pain are also addictive. All opiate drugs require the supervision of a medical doctor.

Heroin is commonly taken as a recreational substance due to the impact on the body. The chemicals cause feelings of pleasure. Abusing the substance depends on the individual, but using a needle to inject a liquid form of the drug is common. Other individuals might smoke the drug or take it as a pill. Using a powdered form to snort the substance or creating a suppository might occur in some cases. The amount of time before the drug reaches the blood stream depends on the method of taking the substance. Heroin is extremely inexpensive – $5 can get you high, $10 can kill you. It is also easy to find in ANY neighborhood. It’s often sold in busy shopping center and gas station parking lots and common teen hangouts. Most dealers will give it to you for free your first time so they can get you hooked.

Regardless of the method used, the risk of an overdose is similar. The number of deaths from heroin has increased from around 2,550 to more than 3,000 individuals from 2006 to 2008. The trend shows an increasing problem.

Side Effects of Heroin

The possible impacts on the body include:

  • Throwing up or upset stomach
  • Problems with breathing
  • Inability to feel or process pain
  • Sickness from infectious diseases
  • Veins that become damaged
  • Taking too much
  • Damage to the kidneys and other organs
  • Dying or near-death experiences

While the side effects are severe, it is not the only danger associated with the drug. Since heroin is commonly injected into the body with needles, the risk of contracting diseases from sharing needles is high. Some individuals will develop HIV, AIDS or Hepatitis C as a result of injecting the drug.

Dependence on heroin leads to roughly 84,000 hospitalizations each year and accounts for more than half of the drug-related deaths in the country. Due to the high expense of the drug, it can also lead to financial ruin since many individuals with an addiction spend around $150 to $200 per day on the substance.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Depending on the dosage and level of addiction, withdrawal symptoms can start within 6 to 24 hours of the last dose. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Symptoms that are similar to a cold or flu
  • High body temperatures
  • Pain in the muscles, bones and joints
  • Upset stomach
  • Feeling hot and cold

Detoxifying the body is a challenge that requires medical supervision. With professional help, it is possible to get through the first difficult step of recovery.

Heroin addiction is a serious problem that impacts many individuals. When an addiction develops, it is important to seek help. If the addiction is not controlled and overcome, then it will lead to financial strife and health complications.