An Illegal Opiate Drug
Heroin is highly addictive. Users crave heroin all the time. When people try to quit, they have painful withdrawal symptoms. Heroin causes shallow breathing, nausea, panic, and insomnia. It requires greater and greater intake for the user to have the same desired effect.
Heroin is really addictive because it stimulates receptors in the brain which produce an intense sensation of pleasure in the user. This response causes a physical dependence which accounts for the user’s loss of control and the drug’s habit-forming action. Heroin can block pain messages to the brain. Users can often hurt themselves or others without realizing it.
Entry into the body
Heroin is normally taken by injection with a needle into the vein (intravenous injection or IV injection). This method of drug use can have terrible consequences. For example: uncertain dosage levels (due to differences in purity), the use of unsterile needles, drug contamination, or drug combination. Combining heroin with alcohol or cocaine can cause serious health problems such as serum hepatitis, skin abscesses, inflammation of the veins, and cardiac disease.
Needle sharing by IV drug users is becoming the leading cause of new AIDS cases. The AIDS virus can travel from one user to another through blood left in the needle or syringe. There is no cure for AIDS, and no proven vaccine to prevent it. Using heroin during pregnancy is associated with stillbirths and miscarriages and causes babies to show a number of developmental problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Use
- Respiratory Depression
- Constricted Pupils
- Watery Eyes
- Runny Nose
- Loss of Appetite
- Muscle Cramps
Elevations in blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and temperature occur as withdrawal progresses.
Symptoms of Overdose
- Shallow Breathing
- Pinpoint Pupils
- Clammy Skin
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