Information on Illicit Drugs

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Heroin Addiction

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a potent, addictive drug that is derived from a natural drug called morphine. Morphine can be found in an opium poppy plant from Asia. Heroin can be identified as a white powdery substance, but this powder may also be a shade of brown. Black tar heroin looks like a black, tacky material.

What are the Consequences of Using Heroin?

Long-term use of heroin can result in degeneration of the brain. Once this happens, the heroin user may have trouble making decisions and controlling their behavior. Spontaneous abortion, infectious diseases, pneumonia and many other health problems are some of the other consequences of using heroin. Babies born to women who take heroin may be very underweight, and these babies may have to be put in the hospital for treatment of heroin withdrawal symptoms. Toxic ingredients that are often added to heroin can cause irreversible damage to important organs like the lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain by creating blockages in the blood vessels. Heroin can make its user so dependent on the drug that if the user decides to suddenly break away from it, they will suffer from unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Death caused by an overdose can be another consequence of using heroin.

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

The person abusing heroin will do just about anything to get it. A heroin abuser will sell all their material possessions to get the money to support their habit. If you see items this person owns start to suddenly disappear, it could be a sign of heroin abuse. Other signs and symptoms of heroin abuse include agitation, slow and shallow breathing, narrowing of the pupils, stomach upset, increased blood flow to the skin, and confusion. Heroin abuse may also encourage productive behavior.

Effects of Heroin Abuse

Habitual use of heroin often makes one physically dependent on the drug. Once this substance is taken, the user may feel extremely happy. They may experience dryness of the mouth, and their limbs may feel heavy. After the feeling of well-being passes, this person may have periods of feeling sleepy and then observant. Individuals who do not take heroin by injection may feel all the effects mentioned, but not the immediate feeling of euphoria.

What are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Heroin?

Withdrawal from heroin can produce harsh symptoms. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal include a feeling of uneasiness, pain in the bones and muscles, insomnia, kicking, loose stools, and throwing up. There may also be times when the person withdrawing from heroin will suddenly feel cold. Someone who’s trying to kick the habit may find it hard to do due to intense cravings for the drug.

Information on Illicit Drugs was last modified: February 8th, 2017 by Treatment Network

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