Heroin is a drug derived from the seedpods of specific poppy flower species that can act as a powerful opioid on our bodies. It usually originates in South America and Southeast Asia, where is it grown and purified into a pure white power that is a highly addictive substance.
Heroin can also be found as black tar drug, which is usually from Mexico and contains impurities.
Heroin acts in a similar way to Morphine in our body, and is in fact converted to Morphine when it enters the brain. It binds with neurotransmitter receptors in our brain that modulate our pain response. Heroin, when it binds with these receptors, triggers the release of dopamine in our brain, which is a chemical that is heavily involved in our pleasure and movement responses, leading to the “rush” that heroin addicts seek and often ruin their lives for. Heroin is highly addictive for this reason.
Heroin abuse affects close to 700,000 Americans every year. Over 13,000 deaths occur every year as a result of a Heroin overdose and the largest growing population this drug is affecting are adults aged 18-25. The rising levels are due to the fact that most people who abuse prescription drugs, such as painkillers, eventually use drugs, as the composition is similar and the drug is cheaper.
Given that Heroin use is rampant, education about the drugs, its effects on our body and treatment options, like drug detox austin tx, can be vital in fighting this epidemic.
The Short-term Effects on Health
Heroin users experience a rush when the drug enters their brain. It immediately increases blood flow to the skin and extremities and gives a dry mouth. Eventually, these symptoms can be accompanied by Nausea, drowsiness and itching. Cognitive function is also greatly reduced for several hours after the drug is intaken.
Heroin is dangerous in the short-term as it lowers our heart rate and our breathing.
Oftentimes, when Heroin is taken with other depressants, it can slow our heart rate and breathing rate to dangerously low levels, which could lead to unconsciousness, coma and brain damage.
Heroin can also decrease your ability to feel pain and may affect your limbic system adversely in the short-term.
The Long-term Effects on Health
Long-term Heroin use is dangerous and extremely hard to stop. Drug creates high tolerance levels in its users, making it extremely hard for users to stop its use, especially without help from experts. Long-term Heroin use also decreases mental function in its users, decreasing their memory, decision-making ability and capacity to regulate behavior.
It can also cause decreased lung function and make users from pneumonia.
Chronic drug use also carries with it other health effects based on the means on use. Users who snort the drug can damage their nasal and mucosal tissues. Users who have injected for a long time can suffer from collapsed veins, bacterial infections and an increased risk for contracting blood-borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C.
Aside from the medical effects of long term drug use, addicts find it impossible to maintain any kind of social or career commitments as the high tolerance levels and the incapacitation by the drug makes it impossible to maintain a job or meaningful relationships. Users become consumed with their daily intake of the drug.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a drug addiction, drug rehab Austin offers programs that aim to take patients through detox and then create for them personalized programs to combat their addictions.