Heroin is an extremely hazardous drug that’s responsible for numerous deaths every year. It’s also a common form of drug addiction.
Heroin depresses the central nervous system. This causes a slowing of all the body’s organ systems. An individual could overdose on the drug the first time they use it. Here are some of the potentially lethal symptoms that a heroin overdose can cause:
Users typically inject heroin, and this means that overdoses can occur much faster than overdoses involving most other drugs. This makes it much more likely that an individual who has suffered an overdose will collapse before they have time to seek medical attention.
Heroin users often use contaminated needles. In some cases, they may even share needles with other users. This can contaminate the user’s bloodstream with dangerous pathogens. Here are some blood borne diseases that IV heroin users are at risk for:
The handling of the drug is uncontrolled and often unsanitary during its manufacture and distribution. Since the drug is typically injected rather than taken orally, the body’s defenses against bacteria present in the drug are much lower. This can result in systemic, blood borne infections and infections of the skin. These infections can be fatal
In some cases, these infection can affect the heart. Many infections of the heart are fatal.
Heroin often contains other drugs that the user (and even the individual that the user purchased it from) isn’t aware of. These drugs can cause the heroin to be dangerously potent and make users even more likely to overdose. Heroin also can contain potentially toxic filler products that are used to increase the weight of the drug to increase its street value.
It’s possible for someone to become psychologically addicted to heroin after only one use. As time goes on, the dependency becomes physical as well. This progression happens extremely quickly with heroin.
If physical dependency occurs, the user will experience physical withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to quit. These symptoms are quite severe. Heroin withdrawal can prevent the user from functioning. The illness is often so severe that sleep is impossible, and significant symptoms can last for a week.
A user’s cravings for heroin are especially severe during withdrawal. This makes it impossible for many heroin addicts to quit without medical assistance. In some cases, the withdrawal from heroin can be fatal.
Heroin can cause damage to a user’s kidneys and liver. In addition, veins can collapse as a result of the frequent injections. Heroin users are also at an increased risk of high blood pressure.
Heroin is an illegal narcotic in all 50 states and in other regions of the world. Even possessing small amounts of heroin is often a felony. Users who are arrested for heroin possession are sometimes sent to prison for periods of time of more than a year.
A conviction of heroin possession can result in a felony record. This can make it far more difficult for current or former users to find a job that pays a livable wage. It also can make it difficult to find housing.
Northeast Addictions Treatment Center is a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center in Quincy, Massachusetts. Our team has been helping individuals with Drug or Alcohol Addiction live a life of Recovery since 2016.
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