Heroin Drug Info – What It Is, Signs and Symptoms of Use, Dangerous Effects
What Is Heroin Abuse?
Heroin is an addictive substance commonly known by a lot of different names such as smack, mud, dope, brown sugar, big H or thunder. It is semi-synthetic in nature. It is developed by extraction from poppy plants and is derived from morphine. Consumers lose control over the usage which is what makes this substance harmful. Between 2002 and 2017, there was a 4.1-fold rise in the total number of deaths involving the use of opioids such as heroin, according to a statistic.
Heroin is often used by mixing it with other substances such as sugar, powdered milk, starch or talcum powder. This impure form of heroin is even more harmful to the body. Since the actual quantity of heroin cannot be measured, this might lead to overdosing.
Heroin can be consumed through smoking, snorting or by directly injecting it into the body. Users feel a “rush” as soon as the drug enters the body. It is followed by some instant physical effects on the body such as a dry mouth, runny nose, flushed skin, watery eyes, small pupils, and heavy legs and arms. The drug’s effect can last as much as 8 hours.
Because of its highly addictive qualities, heroin has developed into a popular market all over the world, in spite of being illegal. Users of this drug expose themselves to a huge list of risks that could prove dangerous for the body in the long run.
Signs and Symptoms of Using Heroin
Heroin users, especially long-term users, might become successful initially in concealing the symptoms of their drug abuse. There are, however, certain signs that are noticeable during the time of heroin use and after:
- Drowsy appearance
- Unable to breathe normally
- Pupils become small
- Having a dry mouth
- Erratic actions and behavior
- Alternating between being alert and disengaged
- Feeling disoriented.
The signs mentioned above are not exclusive to heroin use. There are more definitive symptoms that one should look out for. These are mostly related to possessing tools that are used for injecting or preparing the drug:
- Silver spoons that have been burned
- Needles and syringes that are not required for other purposes
- Burnt Gum packets or aluminum foil
- Burnt straws
- Shoelaces missing (used for injections)
- Small bags containing a powdery substance.
Heroin abuse can induce the following behavioral changes:
- Not making eye contact
- Deceptive behaviors such as lying
- They spend a lot of time sleeping
- Major decrease in performance at school or work
- Having problems with speech
- Lack of maintenance of physical appearance or hygiene
- Distancing from family and friends, hanging out with new groups
- Decrease in motivation
- Wearing long clothing to hide marks made from needles
- Fading interest in favorite hobbies and pastimes
- Hostile behavior and emotional outbursts toward loved ones
- Borrowing or stealing a lot of money; selling away valuables
- Lack of self-esteem and body image issues.
As users develop a tolerance for the drug and increase their usage quantity, certain physical signs start to manifest:
- Loss of weight
- Arms contain needle marks
- A runny nose with no medical condition to explain it
- Infections due to injections
- Bruises and cuts from picking the skin
- Change in menstrual cycle for women.
Why Is Heroin Bad for the Body?
This powerful narcotic produces a lot of side effects that might lead to greater complications in the user’s body.
Following are the short-term side effects:
- Respiration system is affected, as a result, the breath becomes shallow. Users that consume heroin through snorting can damage their mucosal tissues present in the nose.
- Proper mental functioning is affected. Addicts experience extreme mental disorders such as depression and display antisocial characteristics.
- Lesser pain experienced from emotional and physical challenges.
- Having an uncontrollable urge to itch or pick at the skin where needles have made a mark.
In the long term heroin abuse might lead to serious side effects that may ultimately result in death:
- Problems of the heart such as infected valves and lining
- When needles are shared with infectious diseases such as Hepatitis B and C or HIV are spread
- Pulmonary Diseases such as Pneumonia and Tuberculosis
- Collapsing of veins leads to tissue death or blood clots
- Bacterial infections might develop as a result of frequent cutting and probing of the skin
- Problems with the Liver
- Rheumatological diseases like Arthritis
- Problems with bone density.
The heroin that addicts purchase from the street or other illegal sources aren’t screened or standardized. The dosage may vary or the impurities mixed with it might prove harmful for the user. All these together causes the risk of overdose or even death.
Using Heroin frequently can cause lasting changes in the brain’s physical structure and physiology. It can also cause imbalances in hormonal and neuronal systems that are very difficult to reverse. According to studies, heroin leads to the deterioration of white matter in the brain. This affects the individual’s ability to make decisions and regulate behavior. It not only affects the individual but also everyone around them. Steps should be taken to get rid of this addiction as early as possible in order to avoid the long-term conditions.