Smoking Heroin | Effects & Dangers

If you're suffering from a heroin addiction, you may begin to notice long-term side effects and dangers associated with your drug abuse.

Smoking heroin is a form of drug abuse that causes a euphoria or “high.” Heroin is an opioid and the process of inhaling the drug is also known as “chasing the dragon.”

The use of heroin may require paraphernalia. However, heroin use in the form of smoking only requires a person to have a piece of aluminum foil, a lighter, and the drug itself.

A person smoking heroin places the drug on top of the aluminum foil and heats it until it begins to burn. Once this process takes place, the drug is inhaled with a straw. The effects of smoking heroin will begin almost immediately.

Effects Of Heroin Use

Heroin is an opiate that comes in black sticky goo, white powder, or brown powder. According to the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), common street names for heroin include hell dust, black tar, and smack.

Grown in typically dry climates and originating from poppy seeds of an opium poppy plant in Mexico, heroin is extremely addictive and can cause lasting effects.

Side Effects Of Smoking Heroin

In addition to the euphoric effects of heroin, a person may experience other side effects. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that one may experience unwanted short-term symptoms such as:

  • drowsiness
  • ​heaviness in the extremities
  • nausea
  • warm or flushed skin
  • vomiting
  • insomnia
  • dry mouth
  • difficulty concentrating
  • extreme itching
  • constipation

Methods Of Heroin Abuse

The route of administration of heroin into the body can vary. Some of the other ways heroin can enter the body include:

Dangers Of Smoking Heroin

If you’re suffering from heroin addiction, you may begin to notice long-term side effects and dangers associated with your drug abuse.

Physical & Mental Health Problems

Smoking heroin can cause lasting damage to your lungs, as well as a wide range of other medical issues. Other dangers of smoking heroin include:

  • decline in mental functioning
  • lung disease
  • chronic coughing
  • sexual dysfunction
  • liver and kidney damage
  • depression
  • brain damage

Risky Behaviors

When a person smokes heroin, they have an increased chance of engaging in risky behaviors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This can lead to unsafe sex practices which can cause you to develop hepatitis or HIV/AIDS.

Another type of risky behavior includes sharing needles with others participating in drug use. This type of injection drug use can cause serious vein damage and leave abscesses on your skin.

Heroin Overdose

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), signs of a heroin overdose include:

  • shallow breathing
  • coma
  • convulsions
  • clammy skin
  • bluish-colored lips and nails

Thankfully, if caught in time, heroin overdoses can be reversed with naloxone. This is why it’s imperative to find treatment for your substance use right away.

Heroin Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one live with drug addiction, consider inpatient or outpatient treatment programs.

These rehab programs offer a wide range of recovery services for heroin addiction, including detox support and medication-assisted treatment to address withdrawal symptoms. Behavioral therapy, support groups, and mental health care are likely offered as well.

To learn more about how our outpatient treatment programs can help, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

©2022 Northeast Addition Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.