Heroin & Heroin Rehab
The latest craze is labeled – Heroin!
Heroin is near the top of the list of the most widely abused drugs. Among the public, law enforcement and medical professionals heroin has become a major consideration due to its highly addictive and seriously illegal nature and according to research society has reason to be concerned. Out of that concern comes the hope for a drug free society and within that hope comes what some consider the keys to addiction recovery and those keys include effective drug rehab, education and addiction treatment.
Heroin is sold in two forms, a powder which may be either white or brownish in color and a black sticky substance which is commonly referred to as “black tar heroin” on the streets. Morphine is extracted from the seed pod of the Asian poppy plant which is processed into heroin. Street slang names for the drug are “H”, “smack”, “junk”, and “skag”. The title “Mexican black tar” refers to heroin produced in a specific geographical area.
Heroin is known as one o the purer drugs throughout history. Once heroin hits the streets for distribution it is most likely, “cut” with various substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, or quinine (a bitter-tasting drug made from cinchona bark). It may also be “cut” with another drug like strychnine or other poisons. People that purchase heroin off the streets can never be sure of the actual strength of the drug or what it has been cut with. These unknown factors put them at an even higher risk of overdose or death. The frequent sharing of needles and other injection paraphernalia puts users at higher risk of HIV and other diseases that exist within this culture.
Heroin use across the nation!
The use of heroin may actually be underestimated, according to the 1996 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Approximately 216,000 people reported using heroin one month prior to the survey. An increasing trend since 1992 estimates a near 141,000 new people tried heroin in 1995. Recent users under the age of 26 reported smoking, snorting, or sniffing heroin. Youth’s ages 12 to 17 reported an increase in heroin use. First time heroin users have quadrupled from 1980 to 1995 among young users. Increasing numbers of new users include members of the middle class in many suburban areas.
How do abusers use it?
A heroin user will typically snort/sniff, inject, or smoke, the substance. It is not uncommon for a heroin addict to inject up to four (4) times per day. The greatest intensity and most rapid onset of euphoria (7 to 8 seconds) is provided when heroin is injected intravenously (by vein). A relatively slow onset of euphoria (5 to 8 minutes) is the result of an intramuscular (into the muscle) injection. The peaks effects of sniffing or smoking are usually felt within 10 to 15 minutes. A rush is not felt as quickly or as intensely when smoking or snorting as when an intravenous injection is administered. Although the effects and methods of administration are different the addiction remains the same.
Drug treatment facilities located in Newark, Chicago, New York, and Detroit are reporting that snorting and smoking the drug is becoming the new method of choice among heroin users. More affluent communities have heroin appearing on the scene and a more diverse group of users are emerging from the shift in patterns of heroin abuse. Most national data is still reporting the largest group of users remains over 30 years of age. However, the lure of inexpensive, high purity heroin that can be snorted or smoked is appealing to a younger age group across the country.
The long and short of it.
An abuser gets an immediate effect from heroin use which is known as a pleasurable surge called a “rush”. This feeling is typically reported after injection or inhalation of the drug. This effect comes from heroin being converted to morphine in the brain and binding to the opioid receptors. How much of the drug is taken will determine the degree of the “rush” and how quickly the drug enters the brain and binds to the natural opioid receptors. Because heroin enters the brain so rapidly it becomes a particularly addictive drug. Nausea, vomiting, severe itching, dry mouth, and a warm flushing of the skin are all indicators that are experienced with a “rush” from heroin. For several hours after heron has been administered abusers will generally be drowsy and not capable of functioning at full capacity.
Short-term effects include depressed respiration, clouded mental functioning, nausea and vomiting, spontaneous abortion, suppression of pain, “rush”. In the central nervous system heroin clouds mental functions and from this severely slowed breathing can bring about death. Heart functions are greatly impaired as well. On the streets overdose is a huge risk due to the user’s inability to judge the amount and purity of the drug.
In the long run chronic heroin abuse causes severe medical consequences. Collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses (boils) and other soft tissue infections and or kidney disease are all possible consequences of heroin use. Pneumonia, tuberculosis, depressed respirations are complications of the lungs that may occur due to poor health conditions as a result of being a heroin user. Clogging of blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain may result from the additives in street heroin that do not readily dissolve. Vital organs may suffer infection or death of small patches of their cells. Arthritis or other rheumatologic problems are yet another long-term effect that can be caused from immune reactions to these or other contaminants.
Some of the more severe consequences of sharing injection equipment or fluids may result in infections with Hepatitis B and C, HIV and a host of other blood-borne viruses. These quite possibly can be passed on to a sexual partner and children.
Heroin abuse affects your unborn child!
Miscarriage and premature delivery are only two of the more serious consequences of heroin use during pregnancy. SIDS is a serious risk of babies born to mothers addicted to heroin.
Heroin and HIV
Needles and other injection equipment often shared by heroin addicts are a main source of contracting HIV and other infectious diseases. HIV infection is spread primarily through the reuse of contaminated syringes and needles or other paraphernalia by more than one person, as well as through unprotected sexual relations with HIV infected individuals. Injection drug use is a risk factor for nearly one-third of Americans infected with HIV. The fastest growing vector for the spread of HIV in the nation is drug abuse.
Through drug treatment, prevention, and community-based outreach programs, drug abusers can change the behaviors that put them at risk for contracting HIV. Eliminating drug abuse, drug related risk behaviors, such as needle sharing, unsafe sexual practices, and receiving drug treatment are positive ways of preventing the spread of HIV.