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. Street names for heroin include "smack," "H," "skag," and "junk." Other names may refer to types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area, such as "Mexican black tar." Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and, particularly in users who inject the drug, infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
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. Long-term effects of heroin appear after repeated use for some period of time. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulitis, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration.
Heroin abuse during pregnancy and its many associated environmental factors (e.g., lack of prenatal care) have been associated with adverse consequences including low birth weight, an important risk factor for later developmental delay. In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin may have additives that do not readily 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. The Drug Abuse Warning Network* reports that eight percent of drug-related emergency department (ED) visits in the third and fourth quarters of 2003 involved heroin abuse. Unspecified opiates—which could include heroin—were involved in an additional 4 percent of drug-related visits. With regular heroin use, tolerance develops. This means the abuser must use more heroin to achieve the same intensity of 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 less dangerous than alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal. There is a broad range of treatment options for heroin addiction, including medications as well as behavioral therapies. Science has taught us that when medication treatment is integrated with other supportive services, patients are often able to stop heroin (or other opiate) use and return to more stable and productive lives.
Pure heroin is a white powder that tastes really bad, but you probably won't see it very often on the street, at school or anywhere. Most heroin sold on the street to teens and adults varies in color from white to dark brown, but most will look like light brown sugar. The color can tell you what country the drug came from. Speedballing is when heroin and cocaine are injected into the body together. This is a deadly combination as it enters the body very quickly when injected into a vein. Speedballing will kill you. It is also used by "skin-popping" -- injecting the drug just under the skin and not into a vein.
Short term heroin side effects include but are not limited to: Rush, Depressed respiration, Clouded mental functioning, Nausea and vomiting, Suppression of pain,
Long term heroin side effects include but are not limited to:Addiction, Abscesses, Collapsed veins, Bacterial infections, Infection of heart lining and valves, Arthritis and other rheumatologic problems, Infectious diseases, for example, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C.
Watching someone overdose in front of you, and watch them die, unable to help or call for help because you yourself have been injecting. That is the definition of hell. Recovering from heroin addiction is the hardest thing, not just physically but mentally. You will lose your family and friends, you will be destroying your life. You can't get a job, you'll have a criminal record, you'll be classed as scum of the earth. Life for heroin addicts is being labelled with the stigma of being the faliure, don't do it. Peer pressure is not worth risking your life.
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