Heroin is a powerful illicit opioid that is affecting so many people across the country; it is one of the most well-known illicit drugs in this world. Heroin is known for its pain-relieving properties, and the intense euphoric rush it gives the user immediately after it’s ingested. It comes in a powder form and can range from white to brown and even a black tar color.
Heroin is made from morphine, an opioid pain medication. Once it enters someone’s brain, it is converted back into morphine, hence producing a similar effect as the popular prescription opioids. Heroin has become increasingly popular across the United States over the last 15 years and especially recently due to the new laws and regulations that have been placed on prescription opiates. It is hard to obtain a prescription for any opioid now and once someone becomes addicted to them, they will go to any lengths to prevent the terrible withdrawals and obtain that euphoric rush. Heroin is an easily attainable, cheaper option.
Ways in Which Heroin is Ingested
Heroin is ingested in a variety of different ways; it can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Some people think smoking or snorting heroin is not as addictive as injecting the drug, but heroin is very addictive no matter which method it is used. The drug can have drastic short- and long-term effects on the body. There is a common myth that smoking heroin isn’t as dangerous and that it is safer than snorting or injecting the drug, and that is a hazardous misconception! Ingesting heroin in any form is not safe!
Dangers of Smoking Heroin
Heroin causes a euphoric rush followed by a warming sensation and heavy feeling in the limbs about 10 to 15 minutes after someone inhales the smoke. Following the euphoric rush, the user usually experiences a state of drowsiness often referred to as “the nod” that lasts a few hours. This makes heroin one of the most addictive illicit substances around. Some of the other short-term effects of heroin use include decreased mental functioning, slowed breathing to dangerous levels, respiratory failure, severe itching, and nausea and vomiting. Long-term effects of smoking heroin can cause severe lung complications including pneumonia. Liver disease and changes to the brain are also some of the long-term effects.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that:
Repeated heroin use changes the physical structure and physiology of the brain, creating long-term imbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems that are not easily reversed. Studies have shown some deterioration of the brain’s white matter due to heroin use, which may affect decision-making abilities; the ability to regulate behavior, and responses to stressful situations. (NIH)
Once someone becomes addicted to heroin, terrible withdrawal symptoms occur if the drug is abruptly stopped. Some of these withdrawal symptoms include:
- Restless behavior
- Muscle pain
- Bone pain
- Cold flashes
One of the other dangers of smoking heroin is an overdose. Recently there have been a lot of overdose fatalities from heroin use due to the drug being mixed with the potent opioid painkiller Fentanyl. Users think they are purchasing heroin, and they are purchasing a mixture of heroin and Fentanyl. Fentanyl is deadly in the smallest amounts.
Treatment for Heroin Addiction
There is hope and help available for heroin addiction; there is no need to struggle any longer. The best way to detox from heroin is in a medically supervised environment where the individual can be monitored and the withdrawal symptoms can be treated appropriately. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction problem, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Recreate Life Counseling offers evidence-based addiction treatment for a lasting recovery. Call us today and end the cycle of addiction