This referral service is free to the public


 

TYPES OF

DRUGS

HOME

Other Resources   Adolescent Drug Rehab 

Drug Rehab Services

Addiction No More


 

HEROIN

Health Hazards

Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Heroin is a highly addictive drug, and its use is a serious problem in America. Recent studies suggest a shift from injecting heroin to snorting or smoking because of increased purity and the misconception that these forms of use will not lead to addiction.

Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder. Heroin is a 'downer' that affects the brain's pleasure systems and interferes with the brain's ability to perceive pain.

EFFECTS

The short-term effects of heroin abuse appear soon after a single dose and disappear in a few hours. After an injection of heroin, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria ('rush') accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Following this initial euphoria, the user goes 'on the nod,' an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system. Other effects included slowed and slurred speech, slow gait, constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired night vision, vomiting, constipation. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulites, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heron's depressing effects on respiration. In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin may have additives that do not really dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs. With regular use, tolerance develops. This means the abuser must use more heroin to achieve the same intensity or effect. As higher doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop. With physical dependence, the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms may occur if use is reduced or stopped. Withdrawal, which in regular abusers may occur as early as a few hours after the last administration, produces drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps ('cold turkey'), kicking movements ('kicking the habit'), and other symptoms. Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48-72 hours after the last does and subside after about a week. Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health can be fatal.

Heroin may depress the body's ability to withstand infection. It produces euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted pupils and nausea. It is the drug most often associated with the transmission of HIV/AIDS because most users inject the drug, often with used, contaminated needles.

As heroin leaves the brain and body, users experience withdrawal symptoms (often described as feeling like a severe case of flu.) They include watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, loss of appetite, tremors, panic, chills, sweating, nausea, muscle cramps, and insomnia. Blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature all elevate. People can overdose on heroin, which reduces the number of messages the brain sends to the chest muscles. The person's breathing slows, and, if the dose is high enough, stops. Heroin use during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, stillbirths, placental abruptions, and sudden death syndrome. Babies of addicts are born dependent on the drug and must go through withdrawal as their first task in life. Typically, a heroin abuser may inject up to four times a day. Smoking and sniffing heroin do not produce a "rush" as quickly or as intensely as intravenous injection, NIDA researchers have confirmed that all three forms of heroin administration are addictive. Over 80% of heroin users inject with a partner, yet 80% of overdose victims found by paramedics are found alone. Heroin accounts for the majority of the illicit opiate abuse in America. The variability in quality of street heroin can range from 0-90%, which greatly increases the risk of accidental overdose and death.

Heroin's potent pain-relieving properties may actually conceal symptoms of real physical illness or disease such as pneumonia and delay treatment. In years past , heroin was used by injecting a needle. Today, heroin can be used by smoking and snorting. Snorting and smoking heroin poses the same risks of overdose and death as that of intravenous users.

STREET NAMES

Big H, Blacktar, Brown Sugar, Dope, Horse, Junk, Mud, Skag, Smack. Other names may refer to types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area, such as "Mexican black tar."

TOLERANCE

With regular heroin use, tolerance develops. This means the abuser must use more heroin to achieve the same intensity or effect. As higher doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop. With physical dependence, the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms may occur if use is reduced or stopped.

Withdrawal, which in regular abusers may occur as early as a few hours after the last administration, produces drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey"), kicking movements ("kicking the habit"), and other symptoms. Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose and subside after about a week. Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health is occasionally fatal, although heroin withdrawal is considered much less dangerous than alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal.

Treatment

There is a broad range of treatment options available for heroin addiction. There are also many effective behavioral treatments available for heroin addiction. These can include residential and outpatient approaches. Several new behavioral therapies are showing particular promise for heroin addiction. . Cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to help modify the patient's thinking, expectancies, and behaviors and to increase skills in coping with various life stressors.

Click on your State or Province

 

---

---

 

IN THE NEWS

 In a Times article it was reported that 1 out of 10 people, in the age group 20 to 35, are addicted to some type of drug or alcohol. Drug and alcohol abuse is seeing a rapid growth in the US and in Canada.

 

---

  Detroit, Chicago,    L.A. New York, Montreal, Quebec, Vancouver and Seattle just to name a few are losing the war on drug and alcohol abuse. ---

  There are more and more people looking and finding help on the internet. DRUG FREE AT LAST is one of the most effective web sites . It's purpose is to help families and addicts alike find the right rehab program and faculty. DRUG FREE AT LAST has helped hundreds of people find peace of mind and help during those trying times.

 

--- 
  We do understand your dilemma we have been there. Just click on the state of your choosing and fill out the form and within 24 hours one of our counselors will contact you and help you save your loved one.

 Link to us      Links  Contact us  Site Map 

Copyright 2001 - 2014 - Drug free at last, All Rights Reserved