Heroin Effects
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Heroin Effects

Heroin effects are quite serious and can cause lasting health consequences - and even. Heroin use can cause serious problems even the first time that it is used; and because of the drug culture surrounding heroin use, there are indirect problems and diseases that can occur.

Short Term Heroin Effects

  • Analgesia (reduced pain)
  • Brief euphoria (the "rush" or feeling of well-being)
  • Death due to overdose - often the exact purity and content of the drug is not known to the user. An overdose can cause respiration problems and coma.
  • Hypothermia
  • Nausea
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced coughing
  • Reduced respiration; breathing difficulties
  • Sedation, drowsiness

One of the reasons heroin effects are so addictive are because they produce a rather dramatic "rush" or "high." A single dose can be enough to produce a rush, and the after-effects can persist hours later. Here is the progression of heroin effects on the user’s body:

  • After the injection of heroin (this is the most popular way to abuse heroin, but it can be snorted or smoked as well), euphoria is felt. This can take place within eight seconds after the injection. Snorting and smoking take longer for the effects to be felt.
  • The heroin effects of euphoria felt after the injection of heroin comes with dry mouth, warm flushing on the skin and the feeling that your extremities (feet and hands) are heavy.
  • After the initial heroin effects "rush" wears off, one's state fluctuates between drowsy and alert. This is called being "on the nod." In this state, judgment is clouded, and the feeling of heaviness in the extremities may persist. This leads to a surreal experience that some users find attractive.

Heroin effects depress, or slow down, the central nervous system. This can cause the heart rate to slow, and blood pressure to drop. Respiratory functions can also be impaired. Prolonged use of heroin can lead to heart and/or lung failure. Heroin effects create conditions of poor health over all, making the body susceptible to illness. Liver disease and pneumonia are just a couple of the problems that can result from the body's lowered immune system abilities.

Heroin is also a drug for which the body develops a tolerance. This means that as the body becomes used to heroin effects and more and more is needed in order to produce the "rush." Eventually, as increasingly high dosages are needed just to achieve the same thing that the first dose did, the body becomes dependent on the drug. This means that the body in a sense “needs” heroin to function. Heroin effects cause numerous health problems to user’s overall body. However, their body has become used to having the drug present in its system in order to function “normally”.

The drug using culture of heroin abuse can have a very real and lasting impact on someone's long-term health.

  • Heroin effects and the repeated use of needles. Many people do not think about the effects the repeated use of needles can have in terms of heroin effects. However, these effects should not be discounted. Because the fastest way to experience a "rush" is to inject the heroin directly into the blood stream, needle use is very common amongst heroin users. Unfortunately, the repeated use of needles can have very negative consequences.
  • Heroin effects and collapsed veins. Eventually, continually injecting heroin into the same spot can result in collapsed veins. This leads some heroin users to move on to another vein. Some heroin addicts have collapsed several veins as they move on to "usable" entrance points for needles.
  • Heroin effects of additives to the drug. Sometimes heroin dealers mix the drug with other substances to stretch supply and make more money. This can be very dangerous. Some of the additives do not dissolve as well as heroin does, and this can lead to blood vessel clogging as well as heart, lung and kidney problems.
  • Heroin effects on unborn children. It is important to remember that heroin will also affect a fetus. Heroin use can result in spontaneous abortion as well. Low birth rate among children that do survive prenatal heroin exposure is common, and this can cause developmental problems.
  • Heroin effects result in very real problems. The Drug Abuse Warning Network found that eight percent of emergency room visits that are drug related are a result of heroin use. Another four percent of drug related emergency room visits were the result of "unspecified" opiates - some of which could include heroin.
  • Heroin effects and infectious diseases. Many heroin users actually use the drug in groups, often even at the dealer's location. This often results in shared needles. This means that it is possible to get diseases from infected users. Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS can be contracted this way. These are two diseases that, while they are often "managed," cannot be cured.

Long Term Heroin Effects

One of the most detrimental long-term heroin effects is drug addiction. Addiction is a characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use. Addiction is brought on by neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain. Heroin also produces profound degrees of tolerance and physical dependence, which are also powerful motivating factors for compulsive use and abuse. As with abusers of any addictive drug, heroin abusers gradually spend more and more time and energy obtaining and using the drug. Once they are addicted, the heroin abusers' primary purpose in life becomes seeking and using drugs. The drugs literally change their brains.

Additional Heroin Effects

  • Collapsed veins
  • Hepatitis - liver damage
  • HIV/AIDS - due to sharing of needles
  • Increase risk of stroke
  • Lung infections
  • Other bacterial and viral infections
  • Poisoning - from the addition of toxin to the drug
  • Skin infections - from repeated intravenous injections

Heroin Effects
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