Top Facts About Heroin
- Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is processed from morphine, which is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant.
- Heroin can be injected, snorted/sniffed, or smoked. It is highly addictive and enters the brain very quickly. Contrary to popular opinion, all three methods can lead to addiction and other severe health problems.
- There is no cookie cutter heroin user. In fact, many of heroin’s newest addicts are in their teens or early 20s; many also come from middle- or upper-middle-class suburban families.
- Tolerance to heroin develops with regular use, so after a short time more heroin is needed to produce the same level of intensity. This results in addiction.
- Health risks to using heroin include:
- Fatal overdose
- High risk of infections such as HIV/AIDS
- Collapsed veins
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Liver disease
- When an addict stops using, he experiences physical withdrawal which can begin within just a few hours since the last use. Symptoms include:
- Cold flashes with goose bumps
- Muscle and bone pain
- Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose and can last up to a week. Some people experience withdrawal symptoms for as long as a few months after stopping the drug.
- Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health can be fatal.
- Heroin was first manufactured in 1898 by the Bayer pharmaceutical company of Germany and marketed as a treatment for tuberculosis as well as a remedy for morphine addiction.
- Heroin craving can persist years after drug use stops, and can be triggered by exposure to stress or people, places, and things associated with drug use.
- In heroin’s purest form it is a fine, white powder. More often than not, it is found to be rose gray, brown or black.
- Toxic ingredients are usually mixed with heroin so the true purity of the drug and its strength is usually hard to really know.
- Approximately 13.5 million people in the world take opioids (opium-like substances), including 9.2 million who use heroin.