Prescription Opioid Abuse Can Lead to Heroin Addiction

Prescription Opioid Abuse Can Lead to Heroin Addiction

All drugs of abuse have a negative impact on a person's life when they're abused, especially once a person develops addiction to one of them. Some drugs like heroin are very powerful and addictive and can lead to physical dependence very quickly with frequent use. Throughout the United States alone thousands of people have overdosed on heroin and sadly many have not survived.

Some people try heroin just to see what it's like not realizing they could get hooked on the drug after the first use because it's so powerful. The level of euphoria experienced depends on how a person abuses heroin, some may not experience the same level of euphoria from snorting or smoking the drug. Users that inject heroin have said they experience "a surge of euphoria" when using the drug.

Heroin Effects

Other short term effects street heroin produces are the same no matter how the drug is abused such as; a dry mouth, feelings of heaviness in the extremities, their mental function is clouded and they experience flushing of the skin. Euphoria is followed by wakefulness and drowsiness which alternates back and forth, this effect is referred to as going "on the nod".

There are also long term effects associated with use of street heroin that are very serious. Repeated heroin use can lead to tolerance, addiction, and an overdose that could be lethal. Heroin users that inject the drug are taking a huge risk of developing hepatitis, HIV, AIDS, and other infectious diseases. Frequent heroin use can harm the kidneys, liver, heart, veins, and brain, which are vital organs that can be damaged permanently.

Pain Pill Abuse and Heroin Addiction

Today heroin is a much sought after drug on the streets since prescription painkillers aren't as easy to come by anymore, this has caused the price of illegally obtained pain medications to increase as well. Heroin is an opiate also, and produces similar effects opioid pain relievers do when they're abused. Heroin is now a cheaper alternative and many people that have become addicted to pain killers like Vicodin, Opana, Percocet and OxyContin are abusing the highly addictive drug now.

When a person is addicted to pain medications if they're unable to get them they become 'dope sick' which means they're emotionally and physically ill from withdrawal. Out of desperation many people will turn to heroin because it's easy to find and will take away their cravings and emotional and physical pain. Unfortunately the cycle of opiate addiction continues, to avoid withdrawals more heroin is needed, doses will continue to increase over time due to tolerance until the drug has consumed the new heroin addicts entire life.

New users may not be aware of the fact that a lot of the heroin circulating today on the streets is extremely potent because drug dealers want them to get hooked fast. After all, heroin drug dealers are in it for the cash, they want new users to become addicted quick and they don't care what happens to them in the process.

Street Heroin Can Contain Poisonous Chemicals

Contaminated or laced heroin has also been linked to an overdose among users and many of them have sadly been fatal. There is no way to know for sure if the heroin a person is abusing has been laced with another dangerous substance or exactly how potent the drug is. Contaminated heroin or other substances added to the drug can cause irreversible damage to vital organs because blood vessels leading to them can become clogged.

Heroin Symptoms Of Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin addiction are very uncomfortable and can even be painful depending on the individual and their level of dependence. If a heroin addict abruptly stops using the drug or even if their dose is decreased, symptoms of withdrawal can start within a few hours of their last use.

New heroin users don't realize they can experience severe cravings and pain in the muscles and bones during withdrawal if they become addicted to the drug in the future. Other symptoms of heroin withdrawal can include restlessness, anxiety, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold flashes. Involuntary kicking movements also referred to as "kicking the habit" can also be experienced during heroin withdrawal.

The number of people abusing heroin today after being hooked on pain pills due to legitimate health reasons or from abuse is astonishing and continues to grow. Seek help if you've become dependent on painkillers due to legitimate reasons or not. You may think a dangerous drug like heroin could never be in your future but it might, many recovering heroin addicts were addicted to pain pills at one time too and thought the same thing.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Topic Discussion

  1. There are no comments for this post yet. Use the form below to be the first!

Leave a comment


To protect the integrity of our site all comments are reviewed prior to being shown, we apologize for the small delay, but this brings a better experience for our readers. SPAM & rude comments are not tolerated. Using the 'Connect with Facebook' option will get your comment up faster!

Contact A Substance Abuse Counselor

We help people take the first steps toward getting help for their drug and alcohol usage and having drug-free lifestyles. To contact an alcohol/drug abuse counselor, please call 1-800-591-6474(Info iconWho Answers?).

Socialize with us
Close Icon

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on

All calls are private and confidential.