Heroin is a powerful opioid drug that's made from morphine, which is a substance that occurs naturally in the Asian opium poppy plant. The naturally occurring gummy-like substance is extracted from the poppy seedpods then processed into heroin.
Heroin is an illegal drug manufactured in clandestine labs and highly attainable.
Forms of Heroin
White heroin (powder) is the purest form of the illicit drug but that doesn't necessarily mean it's high in purity because it's often cut with starch, sugar or other substances such as strychnine. White heroin is commonly injected, snorted or freebased which is done by inhaling the vapors (fumes).
Brown heroin (powder) is a less pure and less potent form of the drug. Because brown heroin doesn't dissolve easily in water it's commonly smoked.
Black tar heroin is a sticky gooey substance but also comes in a rock-like chunk form. Black tar heroin contains very toxic additives and contaminants. Black tar heroin is commonly heated up, mixed with water and then injected.
Heroin is also obtainable in pill form on the streets in many areas. Heroin pills are equally as dangerous whether taken orally, inhaled or crushed, heated to liquefy and injected. Powdered heroin is pressed into pill form resembling prescription painkillers like Oxycodone or medication obtained over-the-counter.
Heroin pill users can never be completely sure of the ingredients or potency.
Heroin Use (Short-Term) Side Effects
Heroin enters the brain very rapidly no matter how the drug's administered. Once administered, the effects of heroin are experienced rather quickly. The onset, duration and level of heroin's short-term effects depends on how the drug's administered. Heroin short-term side effects can include:
- Rush, Surge of Intense Euphoric Feelings
- Feelings of Warmth and Calmness
- Reduced Feelings of Emotional and Physical Pain
- Feelings of Heaviness in Extremities
Short-term use of heroin can also have unpleasant effects on the user. Such as:
- Dry Mouth
- Clouded Mental Function
- Irregular Breathing
- Irregular Heart Rate
- Suppressed Breathing (Possibly Fatal)
Heroin Long-Term (Prolonged) Use Side Effects
Long-term use of heroin takes a tremendous toll on the user's mental, emotional, physical health and social wellbeing. Typically, heroin is used for its euphoric pleasurable effects but extended use can have life-changing consequences. Sadly, extended heroin use can even cause permanent, serious mental and physical health complications including:
- Physical Dependence
- Brain Stops Producing Dopamine on its own and instead relies on heroin use to produce.
- Memory Loss
- Cognitive Problems
- Weight Loss
- Weakened Immune System
- Severe Itching
- Lowered Body Temperature
- Severe Constipation, Hemorrhoids, and Anal Tears
- Stomach Cramps
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Menstrual Problems
- Collapsed Veins (Injection)
- Abscesses (Injection)
- Clogged Blood Vessels Leading to Major Organs (Lungs, Liver, Kidneys or Brain)
- Blood Vessel and Heart Valve Infections
- Risk of Hepatitis B and C, HIV and other Infectious Diseases
- Blood Pressure Problems
- Blood Clots
- Heart Problems
- Liver Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Nasal Tissue Damage (Snorting)
- Lung Problems (Depressed Respiration, Pneumonia etc.)
- Arthritis and Rheumatologic Problems
- Risk of Overdose
- Risk of Death
Heroin Addiction Long-Term Use Withdrawal Symptoms
With long-term heroin use painful withdrawal is experienced and the symptoms can be severe and agonizing. Rarely is heroin withdrawal life-threatening but the psychological and physical symptoms experienced are far from pleasant.
Addicted heroin users begin experiencing withdrawal when the last dose they've taken begins wearing off. The symptoms and discomfort level experienced from heron withdrawal depends on the user's dose, level and duration of regular use. Once heroin withdrawal fully begins it's a downward descent from there. Long-term heroin use withdrawal symptoms include:
- Intense Heroin Cravings
- Abdominal Pain
- Intense Muscle and Bone Pain
- Body Cramps
- Muscle Spasms
- Extreme Shaking
- Extreme Sweating
- Restless Legs
- Leg Cramping
- Runny Nose
- Intense Anxiety
- Cold Chills and Goose Bumps
Today heroin is much more dangerous than ever before and anyone using the drug, even first time users risk overdose. Anymore, heroin is cut with very toxic substances and there's no way of truly knowing the potency or dangerous ingredients contained in heroin. There's many different reasons a heroin overdose could occur. An accidental heroin overdose can happen if;
- A lethal dose of heroin is used. Purity levels circulating anymore are very unpredictable and fluctuate.
- The heroin used is laced with the potent synthetic opioid Fentanyl.
- Polydrug use; Drinking alcohol or using other nervous system depressants when using heroin can be potentially deadly.
- The heroin used is laced with carfenentanil which is a sedative used for elephants and other large animals.
- The heroin used is tainted with other unknown contaminants.
Heroin Overdose Symptoms
Heroin overdose symptoms may include:
- Bluish-Purple Colored Lips and Nails
- Pinpoint (Extremely Tiny) Pupils
- Severe Drowsiness
- Dry Mouth
- Weakened Pulse
- Low Blood Pressure
- Slowed Heart Rate
- Depressed Breathing (Shallow, Slow, Erratic and Difficult)
- Breathing Stops
- Stomach and Intestinal Spasms
- Possible Brain Damage Due to Lack of Oxygen
In the past decade, potent pharmaceutical opioids have become widespread drugs of abuse and heroin use has also dramatically increased. Heroin-related overdose and heroin-related fatal overdose is a major health crisis in 2016. Sadly, the opioid epidemic we're facing is very serious impacting people of all ages in all walks of life.