Heroin is a powerful opiate with a rich history of misuse. The origin of heroin is opium, which originated from poppies, and caused opium addiction among the ancient Greeks as early as the third century BC. In Europe during the 16th century, an opium-based derivative called laudanum was developed and used as a painkiller and sedative in clinical settings. Laudanum use remained popular in the medical community until morphine was developed in the 19th century. Morphine proved a powerful and addictive painkiller. In the late 1800s, diamorphine, a more powerful derivative of morphine, was developed. It was thought that this new derivative would be less addictive than morphine. This thought was wrong. Another name for diamorphine is heroin, and by the 1930s, it had displaced opium as a cheap and popular narcotic.
In its pure form, heroin appears as a white powder. However, in order to boost profits, most drug dealers cut heroin with other chemicals or substances so that most heroin found on the streets varies from white to dark brown in color. Users get high on heroin by injecting it into their bloodstream, smoking it, or inhaling it up to their nose. Heroin is not a home-grown drug and is brought into the United States from foreign origins such as Mexico and South America or Southeast and Southwest Asia.
Effects of Heroin
The effects of heroin are extremely powerful. When a user injects heroin intravenously, the rush of drug effect is instantaneous. When smoked, the user must wait only a few seconds more before feeling its effects. The effects of heroin last between three to six hours, depending upon the user’s drug habits. Below are reports of how heroin high affects users’ minds and bodies.
- Intense feelings of euphoria and well-being
- An overwhelming sense of love for oneself
- Small doses make users talkative, energized, and confident.
- Large doses put users into a trance-like, incommunicable state
- An initial rush of euphoria is follow by a mellow feeling that all is right in the world
Heroin use poses several health risks to users. Some of these health risks are listing below:
- Abscesses and bacterial infections
- Collapsed veins
- Infection in the heart and valves
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Viral infections, including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C
Signs of Heroin Use
If someone you know is using heroin, confront them about seeking help. If you are uncertain whether or not they are using, consult the common signs of heroin use included below:
- Changes in personal appearance and hygiene
- Constantly borrowing or stealing money or other valuables
- Changes in academic or job performance
- Acting apathetic or lethargic
- Runny, sniffling nose
- Constantly lying or deceiving friends and family members
- Changes in groups of friends
- Changes in activities or interests they used to enjoy
- Excessive sleeping
- Slurred speech
- Breaking commitments
- Unexplained absences from work or school
Take Action! These words alone can be the difference between a life fill with drug and alcohol addiction or one of love, hope, and recovery. Many people who suffer from drug and alcohol abuse have wanted to quit. They have had a sincere desire to be better fathers, wives, brothers, sisters, friends, and employees. Now all they need is to take action by enrolling in an addiction treatment program.