What is Heroin?
Description of Heroin?
Heroin is synthesized from of morphine which is derived from the opium poppy plants found throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Pure heroin is a white powered that is usually 2 to 3 times more powerful that morphine, however, most heroin that is sold has impurities caused either during its production or by being ‘cut’ with other drugs or ingredients such as powdered milk, sugar or quinine. These impure forms of heroin are usually brownish in color, or even black in the case of Mexican “black tar” heroin. The drug results in a euphoric high that is extremely addictive, and due to the wide variations in purity and potency, there is a very high risk of overdose or death.
What is the Scientific Name of Heroin?
- Morphine Diacetate
What is the Chemical Formula of Heroin?
What is the Origin of Heroin?
Heroin was first synthesized from morphine by the pharmaceutical company Bayer in 1874, however opium drugs made from the opium poppy reaches all the back to ancient civilizations such as the Mesopotamians, Assyrians, and Egyptians. Because of the very long history of addiction and abuse of opium and morphine, heroin was originally intended to be a safer, non-addictive alternative and was used in many common cough medicines and treatments for other illnesses. Eventually it was realized that heroin was also highly addictive and it was banned in 1914. Since then illicit and impure forms of heroin have been produced and sold on the black market by many drug cartels and terrorist organizations which has fueled many global conflicts.
What is the Origin of Heroin?
Heroin is a Schedule I Drug.
What is the Legal Status of Heroin in the US?
- Big H
- Birdie Powder
- Black Tar
- Black Pearl
- Brown Sugar
- China White
- Hell Dust
- Nose Drops
- White Stuff
- Witch hazel
How is Heroin Used?
Most user inject heroin directly into their blood stream. Some people choose to smoke or snort heroin based on the belief that it will be less addictive than when injected, because the euphoric feelings are generally less intense via the alternative routes. This belief is unfounded, however, as heroin is equally addictive regardless of the route taken. The risks associated with sharing needles has also increased the use of these other methods, as well as putting the liquefied heroin in nasal spray bottles.
How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?
The euphoric effects of heroin can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on the purity and potency. Like most opiates, however, the drug can remain in the body, stored in fat tissue, long after the high has worn off. These stored drugs can slowly be released back into the blood stream can cause the high feeling to return or last much longer than most other drugs. It takes much longer for heroin to fully leave a person’s system than most people think.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Short-Term Heroin Use?
What are the Short-Term Effects of Heroin Use on the Body?
- Decreased Heart Rate
- Dry Mouth
- Severe Itching
- Severe Slow Breathing
- Spontaneous Abortion
What are the Short-Term Effects of Heroin Use on Behavior?
- Clouded Mental Functioning
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Long-Term Heroin Addiction?
What are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use on the Body?
- Bacterial Infection in the Blood Vessels
- Collapsed Veins
- Heart Valve Damage
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- Risk of Hepatitis B
- Risk of Hepatitis C
- Risk of HIV
- Scarred Veins
- Soft-Tissue Infections
What are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use on Behavior?
How to Diagnose if You are Addicted to Heroin?
Similar to other opiates, heroin causes a state of relaxation and euphoria, and blocks the pain receptors in the brain. It might be possible for some abusers to hide their heroin use at first, but as the addiction grows, family and loved ones may begin to notice a number of signs and symptoms such as:
- Constricted Pupils
- Dry Mouth
- Periods of being hyper alert followed by suddenly falling asleep
- Shortness of Breath
- Sudden Changes in Behavior
In addition to those, most heroin addicts also possess paraphernalia for preparing and injecting heroin which can include:
- Burnt Aluminum Foil
- Burnt Silver Spoons
- Missing Shoelaces or Belts
- Needles or Syringes
- Small plastic bags of white powder
- Water Pipes
What are the Withdrawal Effects of Heroin?
- Bone Pain
- Muscle Pain
- Severe Drug Cravings
How is Heroin Addiction Treated?
Because heroin and other opiate addictions have been around for a long time, there are a wide variety of treatment options. The first step for most heroin addicts will likely be detox, because the drug can stay in a person’s system for long periods of time and cause a wide range of withdrawal symptoms that should be monitored and controlled by medical professionals. Also if someone overdoes on heroin, it is vital that they receive immediate emergency medical attention. Fortunately there are drugs that can be used to reverse the effects of opiates and help in medical emergencies. Some of these drugs, such as methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine, can also be used during addiction treatment, though they are heavily regulated in the US due to their own risks of addiction. These drugs work by blocking the brain receptors targeted by opiates, effectively ending the pleasurable feeling that heroin produces.
Medication therapy treatments are usually not enough to end addiction on their own however, so most heroin rehabilitation facilities
also use a combination of behavioral therapy and individual or group counseling, in order to treat the underlying problems that lead to addiction as well as developing skills and behaviors to prevent future relapses. Most rehabilitation centers will be able to offer comprehensive treatments for heroin because of its prevalence in society.
What is the Extent of Heroin Use?
Despite the efforts of the war on drugs and the war in Afghanistan, the use of heroin has recently been increasing. The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
’s 2011 Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 607,000 people used heroin each year between 2009 and 2011, which is up significantly from the 374,000 users each year between 2002 and 2005. The biggest increases in new heroin users was seen in young adults from ages 18 to 25. According to the same survey, new users in the young adult demographic increased to 89,000 new users per year compared to the previous 53,000 per year. Older adults also saw dramatic increases from 28,000 to 54,000 for the same corresponding time periods.