BASIC FACTS ABOUT DRUGS: HEROIN
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a morphine derivative, and morphine is opiumís most potent active
ingredient. First synthesized in 1874, heroin was widely used in medicine in the
early part of the 20th Century, until its addictive potential was recognized.
Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. Street heroin may vary in
color from white to dark brown because of impurities or additives. There is a
dark brown or black form of the drug, as dense as roofing tar or coal, known as
Known on the street as smack, horse, H, junk, or scag, heroin is the most
commonly abused of narcotics. Narcotic drugs (also called opioids) are
derivatives of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) or chemically similar
How is Heroin Taken?
When prescribed, narcotics are most often taken by mouth. Heroin, however, is
generally inhaled or injected, although it may also be smoked. Heroin can be
mixed with tobacco or marijuana and smoked in a pipe or cigarette. It may also
be heated and burned, releasing fumes that users inhale ("chasing the dragon").
Users who choose injection, generally inject directly into a major vein
("mainlining"), although some may start by injecting under the skin ("popping").
Heroin abusers often use other drugs as well. They may "speedball," taking
cocaine or methamphetamine with heroin, or use alcohol, marijuana, or
tranquilizers to enhance the high and blunt effects of withdrawal.
Paying the Price of Heroin Use
The negative consequences of heroin use range from mild distress to life
threatening dangers and include:
Dry, itchy skin and skin infections
Constricted pupils and reduced night
Nausea and vomiting (following early use
or high doses)
Constipation and loss of appetite
Reduced sex drive
Scarring ("tracks") along veins and
collapsed veins from repeated injections
Irregular blood pressure
Slow and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
Fatigue, breathlessness, and labored,
noisy breathing due to excessive fluid in the lungs ("the rattles")
Injuries that result from engaging in any
activity (such as working, driving, or operating machinery) when
incapacitated by heroin use
Hepatitis, AIDS, and other infections
from unsanitary injection
Stroke or heart attack caused by blood
clots resulting from insoluble additives
Respiratory paralysis, heart arrest,
coma, and death from accidental overdose
What is Heroinís Behavioral
The behavioral impact of habitual heroin use is generally
devastating. Most habitual users are incapable of concentration, learning, or
clear thought. Rarely are they able to hold a job. They are apathetic,
indifferent to consequences, and unable to sustain personal relationships. For
many, the inability to honestly earn enough to meet their drug needs leads to
crime. For the overwhelming majority, compulsive use prompts behavior that is
self-destructive and irresponsible, often antisocial, and characteristically
indifferent to the injury, pain, or loss it causes others.
Can Heroin Addicts Recover?
Yes, they can. Treatment takes various forms, and detoxification
may be needed, by some, to manage the effects of withdrawal. The main thrust of
treatment, however, addresses underlying causes of drug abuse and helps
recovering abusers become more self-aware, self-reliant, responsible, and able
to manage stress without the "crutch" of drugs.
does Heroin addiction do to a person?
This Russian girl was
really beautiful in 2004 when she start using heroin. In
next couple of years there was no big changes in her
look. But in 2008 her beauty started to fade rapidly.
The last photos are from this year 2010. You will see
how she looks now. Not really a pleasant view.
Spring in 2010
Autumn in 2010
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