Heroin Addiction

Heroin is an opiate substance derived from the poppy plant, and is one of America's most dangerous and problematic drugs today. An estimated 250,000 Americans are currently addicted to heroin today, and its popularity is gaining among young people. Heroin is derived from morphine which is a natural substance that comes from Asian poppy plant seeds. There is a misconception that snorting or smoking heroin is a safe method of use. Though these methods might reduce the likelihood of over dosing, the risks of becoming heroin dependent will not change. Typically heroin comes as white or brown powder or a black tar like substance which ranges from soft and gummy too hard as coal. Heroin's street names include "dope," "black," "H," "smack," "stuff," "junk," and "Chiva."

Heroin addiction: It doesn’t take long to become hooked on heroin, developing a tolerance to the drug builds fast with regular use. As heroin use continues, the more of this opiate, he or she must take in order to experience the same desired effects. Physical dependence and addiction will develop as higher doses are used over a short period of time. Physical dependence means the abuser's body has adapted to the drug and will experience withdrawal symptoms if the needed amount of heroin is decreased. Some withdrawal symptoms may include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, drug craving, vomiting and diarrhea, and kicking movements, hot and cold flashes, major anxiety, and depression. These peak between 48 and 72 hours after the user's last dose and can subside after a week. Insomnia from heroin withdrawal can last weeks, and the anxiety and depression can last for months. For heavily dependent heroin users in poor health, sudden withdrawal is only occasionally fatal. Heroin abuse is more prevalent now than ever. It demolishes an addict's personal life, health, finances, and his or her personal relationships. Initial heroin use begins with achieving euphoria and soon turns into a downward spiral. Heroin was once considered the drug of choice for poor, inner-city people, when in reality the addiction can be found among adolescents and in more affluent U.S. populations.

Effects of Heroin Serious health conditions are associated with heroin addiction. These include fatal overdose, collapsed veins, spontaneous abortion, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis. Heroin's short-term effects last only for a few hours. After an injection of heroin, a rush surges through the user's body, along with a warm sensation throughout the entire body along with heavy extremities. Throughout this euphoric stage, the user may go "on the nod," which is a state of wakefulness and drowsiness. The brain becomes depressed which in turn lowers mental functioning. After a significant period of time, long-term effects of heroin addiction begin to appear. These may include infection of the heart lining and valves, collapse veins, liver disease, and abscesses. Poor health can lead to pneumonia. Another dangerous aspect of heroin abuse is its additives in street quality heroin. These additives might not dissolve in the body and can clog vital blood vessels that lead to lungs, brain, kidneys, or liver.

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