Heroin Effects

Last year, more than 500,000 people used heroin, according to the National Institutes on Health. Additionally, 3.8 million people report having used it at least once in their lives. Heroin is highly addictive and extremely fast acting. It is so addictive that even after just three days, it is possible to experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it.

Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and, particularly in users who inject the drug, infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the short-term effects of heroin abuse appear soon after a single dose and disappear in a few hours. After an injection of heroin, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria (“rush”) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Following this initial euphoria, the user goes “on the nod,” an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system. Long-term effects of heroin appear after repeated use for some period of time. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulitis, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration.

In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin may have additives that do not readily dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to and settle in the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs.

Heroin Street Names

  • Smack
  • Chiva
  • Skag
  • Horse
  • Dog
  • Brain
  • Chaw
  • Stuff
  • Fix
  • Chiva
  • Tar
  • Al Capone
  • Beast
  • Balloon
  • Brown Sugar
  • Dope
  • H
  • Foo Foo

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Heroin Tolerance, Addiction and Withdrawal

Need for heroin addiction treatmentWith regular heroin use, tolerance develops in the body. This means the abuser must use more heroin to achieve the same intensity of effect. As higher doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop. With physical dependence, the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms may occur if use is reduced or stopped.

Withdrawal, which in regular abusers may occur as early as a few hours after the last administration, produces an insatiable drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, kicking movements, and other symptoms. Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose and subside after about a week. Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health is occasionally fatal, although heroin withdrawal is considered less dangerous than alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal.

 

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Heroin Stats

Heroin’s Background