Heroin is an illicit drug within the family of opiod narcotics. Heroin comes in the form of white powder or a brown sticky substance called “tar heroin”.
Street names for heroin include “dragon”, “china white”, “boy”, “black tar”, “brown crystal”, “Mexican mud”, “junk”, “snow” and “smack”, among many others. Due to heroin’s impact on the brain, users report a “rush” of euphoria upon ingesting the drug. The common method of ingestion is intravenous injection. Heroin enters the blood stream and affects the brain rapidly.
Experimenting is Not a Game
Heroin addiction is extremely dangerous. The fact that it is illegal in the United States leaves users susceptible to legal ramifications from purchasing and/or selling heroin.
Heroin’s chemical composition varies depending on the batch’s origin. Pure heroin is white powder and derived from the dried milk of an opium poppy plant. Impure forms of heroin can include codeine, morphine, and oxycodone. Synthetic or naturally occurring heroin users, beware — heroin remains dangerous and potentially lethal substance.
Some batches of heroin contain:
- Talcum powder
- In rare cases, heroin is mixed with a poison such as strychnine
- Other additives sellers have integrated into the drug.
Lives Are at Stake
Because users do not know the exact chemical composition of a typical dose of heroin, they risk a vulnerability to:
- Interactions with existing medications such as certain prescription pills
- Skin abscesses particularly at the site of hypodermic needle entry
- Infections of heart linings and heart valves
- The birth of a substance abuse problem
- HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, or other infections from shared needles among users
- Accident or injury from driving or operating machinery while under the influence of heroin
- Overdose and possibly death
- Respiratory depression and possibly death
Heroin addiction is characterized by the compulsive desire to use heroin despite the user’s intentions to stop. Negative consequences pile up in a figurative heap. However, heroin addicts find themselves unable to control when and if they use the drug. In addition, the heroin addict has acquired a tolerance for heroin. Thus, their habit becomes increasingly expensive as they must buy larger quantities over a period of usage.
Heroin addicts prioritize drug-seeking above all other obligations and responsibilities, often at the detriment of the heroin addict’s loved ones. Heroin addicts risk legal ramifications for unpredictable behavior exhibited during periods of usage.
When a person is addicted to heroin, the drug no longer produces euphoria and the “rush” that it provided initially.
In terms of an addiction, the user ingests heroin simply to feel normal. The fear of suffering through withdrawal symptoms is often enough to push heroin addicts back onto the street after vain self-willed attempts to stop usage abruptly.
Don’t Suffer Through Withdrawals Alone
An at-home cessation of heroin use — when the heroin addict takes it upon himself to stop using the drug “cold turkey” — almost always fails as an effective quitting method.
Heroin is notorious for its unpleasant withdrawal effects. Withdrawal symptoms generally start within 24 hours after cessation of use and last 7-10 days at a minimum. In some cases, withdrawal effects from heroin can be life-threatening. Without proper treatment, heroin addicts run the risk of becoming violently ill after abruptly stopping heroin use.
Withdrawal effects from heroin include:
- Cold-like symptoms such as watery eyes, fatigue, and runny nose
- Decreased appetite
- Anxiety and panic
- Profuse sweating
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Muscle and bone pain
- Raised body temperature
- Flushed skin
In virtually all cases, It is strongly recommended that heroin addicts undergo a medically monitored detoxification from heroin. Side effects can be closely tracked while under ‘round the clock supervision. Residential rehabilitation programs offer clients the ability to detoxify from heroin in a safe environment immersed in the facilities conducive to recovery.
Clinicians prescribe counter-indicative drugs, in most cases, to mitigate heroin’s painful withdrawal symptoms. For instance, many rehabilitation centers prescribe Methadone in an effort to reduce heroin cravings.
Heroin addicts can affect their unborn baby in a devastating way. Pregnant heroin addicts give birth to an addicted child, causing the infant an unfathomable amount of distress. Babies of heroin addicts suffer through unpleasant withdrawal symptoms similar to the symptoms experienced by adults and require medical attention throughout the process.
Although the recovery process may progress slowly, but the outcome of self-actualization and a restored sense of purpose is well worth the temporary anguish.