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Article Summary

Heroin

Heroin is drug synthesized from morphine. Morphine is a naturally occurring substance found in an Asian plant known as poppy plant. It is important to note that heroin has health benefits when used as a prescription drug. When used as a street drug, heroin is very harmful. Heroin is in fact an illegal drug that shouldn't be used by anyone without a prescription.

Heroin overdose

The biggest risk of heroin abuse is death. This is a common occurrence from heroin overdose. The main reason why heroin causes death in cases of overdose is because it is very hard to determine heroine purity. Most accidental overdoses happen when pure heroin reaches the streets and addicts are unable to resist frequent usage. Most heroin overdose cases happen when heroin is injected as opposed to snorting or smoking.

Heroin overdose signs include; constipation, dry mouth and small pupils. Other overdose symptoms include weak pulse, low blood pressure, slow breathing, shallow breathing or no breathing at all in severe cases which results in death. Other symptoms include; drowsiness and coma. If you suspect that you have overdosed on heroin, seek immediate medical attention.

Using needles to inject heroin

Heroin addicts prefer injecting heroin into a vein as opposed to snorting or smoking it because this delivers the drug dosage in the fastest way possible. By injecting heroin through a vein, heroin users experience heroin "high" in just a few seconds. When heroin is injected into muscle tissue, the effects take longer to be felt i.e. 5 to 8 minutes.

There are two main problems associated with using needles to inject heroin. One of the problems is transmitting HIV among other deadly diseases (hepatitis B and C) spread through sharing needles. Another problem of using needles to inject heroin is that there is the risk of injecting heroin under the skin.

Adulterants and heroin use

Adulterants refer to substances that are usually added to heroin. It is important to note that heroin can't be taken in its pure form because it can easily cause an overdose. To lower the purity, heroin is usually mixed with adulterants such as starch, nutmeg, sucrose, powdered milk, caffeine, flour, talcum powder and chalk. Other adulterants that can be used include local anesthetics i.e. procaine and lidocaine. It is important to note that most of the adulterants mentioned above may not have immediate harmful effects to heroin users. Adulterants can however cause serious chronic problems i.e. inflamed skin, itchiness and inflamed veins. Adulterants i.e. powder solutions when injected may contain bacteria. When heroin is mixed with a harmful adulterant i.e. strychnine, it causes problems such as; liver failure, convulsions and death if concentration of the adulterant are high enough.

Heroin addiction

Heroin is a very addictive substance. Heroin addiction starts like a joke i.e. person starts using heroine to experiment or relieve stress. Heroin offers a sense of euphoria and relaxation that is unmatched by many hard drugs. Once you start using heroin, becoming addicted is very easy. In fact, you can get addicted the first time you use heroin. Once your body has gotten used to heroin, you must keep on ingesting it to avoid getting very bad withdrawal symptoms. When you reach this state, you can no longer control your heroin use. Instead the drug controls you.

It is important to note that each time a heroine user or addict uses heroin, they risk an overdose among many other heath consequences. This is because it is impossible to tell how pure heroin is once it has been mixed with adulterants. Using heroin is therefore very dangerous.

Long-term heroin usage risks

Heroin users risk developing serious health problems. For instance, heroin users/addicts risk suffering from collapsed or scarred veins, heat valve and blood vessels bacterial infections, kidney and liver disease, abscesses among other soft-tissue infections. Other risks associated with long-term heroin use include crime. You risk becoming a criminal i.e. a thief because heroin addiction can make you do anything including stealing just to buy heroin.

Other risks of using heroin include developing lung related sicknesses i.e. tuberculosis and pneumonia. Pregnant women using heroin risk getting miscarriages, premature babies and still births. There is also the risk of giving birth to a baby with abnormalities.

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