Heroin is an illegal drug in the United States and the majority of countries around the world. It is unlawful because of its potential to cause significant health problems, if not used under the strict supervision of medical authorities. The drug is extracted from the opium plant cultivated in certain countries. The sap inside the seed of the opium poppy plant contains morphine, which is the main ingredient of Heroin.
Heroin is a member of the opiate family, which are drugs derived from the naturally occurring opium poppy plant. Recent research has revealed that Heroin addiction is usually caused by an introduction to certain drugs such as Vicodin and Percocet. In countries, where such prescription drugs are available, users are prone to try Heroin as an alternative because it is available at a much less cost at the black market. Scientists also believe that once an individual starts using Heroin instead of the prescribed drug, they generally never switch back to the prescribed medicine. As a result, health problems continue to increase.
As indicated, Heroin is an illegal substance in almost every country. A form of narcotics, the drug is sometimes referred to as dope, horse, or smack in the streets where it is sold illegally without a prescription. Even though individuals are occasionally aware of the negative side-effects of Heroin, they use it to feel relaxed and induce pleasure.
As morphine affects the part of the brain that deals with pleasure and relaxation, users can quickly become addicted as chemicals in Heroin changes the way reward and motivation pathways work inside the human brain. In simple words, it can be said that using Heroin distorts our ability to reason and make correct decisions at the right time. As a result of disorientation and wrong signals, the user is unable to get rid of the drug because of the convoluted logic.
The Cycle of Addiction
Like most other opioids, Heroin is medically used to relieve pain symptoms. In clinics and hospitals around the world, doctors use Heroin to treat symptoms under the strict guidance of a medical doctrine. Bayer openly marketed Heroin to treat cough symptoms in the 1900s. However, its illegal use was promoted by recreational users who started buying it illegally to induce the sensation of pleasure and relaxation.
Without knowing the ill-effects of Heroin, the cycle of addiction continues to grow until behavioral changes became apparent to family members and other users.
As for those who were using Heroin to treat their pain, the widespread availability of Heroin in the black market without prescription is a significant incentive to use it without doctor’s advice. People treated with prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone felt comfortable buying Heroin because it had the same effect, and it was three times less costly than the prescribed drugs.
Since Heroin tends to change the chemical balance in our brains by inducing wrong signals, most individuals are unable to make a logical decision. As the logic is lost, the user thinks that it is better to use Heroin without consulting the doctor because visiting medical facilities and spending cash for legally prescribed medicine is costly. When Heroin is used without the strictly controlled dose, its abuse can make individuals feel at ease. The result is a sensation of feeling peaceful and relaxed.
Heroin tends to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression for a short time. In their efforts to reduce them of the fear and social pressures, people tend to reuse Heroin after the feeling of stress and anxiety reoccurs. As soon as they feel depressed, they take a dose of Heroin, and the logic of Heroin’s adverse effects continue to diminish with every dose. Soon, the habit becomes an addiction enabling the convoluted and twisted logic to overcome the ordinary human sense. In that instance, the standard reasoning never prevails, and the person becomes addicted.
Experts believe that people who are addicted to Heroin. Do not take the substance to get “high,” but they make it prevent withdrawal. They don’t want to give away the sensation of feeling relaxed and face real-world challenges.
Methods of Intake and Heroin Abuse
People who take Heroin want to feel its full effect. To get their money’s worth; they use methods that make them feel the full impact of the Heroin within a short passage of time. The reason why people want to feel the full effect is that Heroin does not impact the brain fully when it is swallowed. Almost half of the Heroin is quickly washed away through metabolism, leaving the body through saliva and urine. It is believed that Heroin stays in the body up to a maximum of 72 hours.
To feel the full impact of Heroin, users try methods such as smoking, snorting, and injecting Heroin. They use these methods to allow the chemical to reach their brain directly without losing its effectiveness. Snorting and smoking are two of the widely used techniques used by addicts who want to get the maximum impact of Heroin instead of swallowing it. Similarly, injecting is perhaps the fastest method of feeling the effect of Heroin. You may have seen people using Heroin injection, which is also marketed as a lethal method of Heroine intake.
While most people resort to snorting and smoking, it may be many months and years before they resort to injecting themselves. Injecting is considered to be the last stage of addiction because the individual is believed to have given away every sense of logic using the painful and dangerous method of drug delivery. Injecting is also considered extremely dangerous because it can lead to permanent damage to veins and lead to severe infections of bones, joints, and lungs.
When using the injection, the user is often considered to be at the last stage of Heroin addiction; therefore, these users are also prone to share used syringes. Sharing needles makes these users susceptible to HIV and hepatitis, causing deadly complications.
What Happens When Using Heroin the First Time?
For first-time users, using Heroine can be both pleasant and unpleasant experience. It is uncomfortable because first-timers and novice often feel nausea and episodes of vomiting as the drug directly impacts the digestive system of the person. Sometimes, these episodes are so intense that users try to use a different drug. Still, a lot of users can overcome the initial response because the drug tends to offer an intense feeling of satisfaction.
Drug users who have been treated for the drug addiction associate the feeling with the feeling similar to satisfying sexual episodes. However, it is common for the users to describe the feeling as much more intense lasting a very long period. Considering the sensation of Heroin, it is easy to understand why people would like to carry on with the feelings when depressed despite problems with the digestive system.
Adverse Health Impact
Long-term usage of Heroine leads to severe health problems related to the nervous system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. The most obvious impact that most of us can detect is the inability of the person to make decisions and regulate behavior. As the chemical attack brain cell, the cells are damaged to a point where they cannot stimulate without inducing Heroine. Overtimes, many cells die, leading to the shrinking of the white matter of the brain.
The use of Heroin also impacts the respiratory system. Scientific results have shown that Heroin addicts start breathing much slower, which can lead to sudden breathing problems. If a high dose of Heroin is taken, the person can suddenly stop breathing, leading to a coma or instant death.
While the impact on the nervous system and the respiratory system is evident, problems with the cardiovascular and digestive system can remain hidden from the public eye. For instance, the needle used to inject Heroin causes damages to the vein each time it is inserted in the bloodstream. The result of these insertions is damage to the blood vessels that shrink or swell according to the dosage. In almost 32 percent of the cases, the cardiovascular system breaks down, leading to problems such as abscesses, infection, and death.
Experts firmly believe that Heroin addicts also face numerous digestive problems due to the impact of health on the gut. As the food moves slowly through the intestine or it gets blocked, the person is exposed to issues leading to intestinal blockage and emergencies. As most Heroin addicts don’t want to talk about their problems with the bowels, they are forced to reveal their issues once they are treated for emergencies.
Overall, physical signs such as nose bleeds, track marks, and weight loss are only the beginning of the episode. The consistent activity can also lead to mood swings, dishonesty, and criminal activity, which can lead to dangerous situations and jail-terms, leading to additional legal and financial complications.
Addiction Treatment and Recovery
Heroin addiction can be overcome, but it requires intense physical and mental challenges. To deal with the withdrawal, it is necessary to undergo rehabilitation programs that are specifically designed for people who want to leave a healthy life.
As the first step to recovery, the person is introduced to medical detox. The purpose of the medical detox is to enable the person to take replacement medicine that will overcome the urge of Heroin. These medically supervised sessions are always administered by therapeutic therapists who are trained to communicate with the patients.
Using replacement medicines does not mean that the person will not feel the urge to take Heroin; instead, these medicines are provided in combination with effective mental therapy that allows the patient to understand and overcome the challenge. The goal of the program and administrator is to enable the patient to communicate about their problems. The therapist tries to create a friendly environment allowing the other person to tell them about their condition and how they feel at a particular moment. Based on the response, the therapist and medical advisor act according to the situation.
After the medical detox program, experts highly recommend people to enroll in a residential treatment center. The residential treatment center allows individuals to stay in a positive drug-free environment so they can concentrate on the more beautiful things instead of falling victim to the carvings of their mind. The in-patient residential treatment program can take months or even multiple years in extreme cases. Patients appreciate the environment as there are a lot of like-minded individuals who are undergoing similar challenges.
The sense of community and a healthy environment has a positive impact on the person as they are involved in rehabilitation exercise and discussions throughout the day. Talking and communicating with others in a group session helps the person to relax and feel accepted into a society where they can make friends and share their personal experiences. Some of these group sessions are highly emotional, which provides impetus to others to continue with their rehabilitation program.
Once the person has become sober and the impact of addiction recedes, they are encouraged to join an out-patient 12-step recovery program where groups of sober individuals continue to meet and help others to keep towards their path to success. Often, these communities change lives as many sober individuals meet their life partners giving each comfort and courage to overcome the addiction.
If you know someone who is addicted to Heroin, it’s time to help them to adopt a more healthy choice. Talk to the person to help them understand that their path to recovery can start with one decision: to put an end to substance abuse and seek healing. If the person is difficult to convince, seek help from someone that the patient trust and let that person seek an appropriate time to talk to a drug addict. Perhaps, you can also spread the word by sharing the knowledge with someone you know who can benefit from the recovery.