Heroin is probably best known for being injected with a needle into the bloodstream, but it can also be snorted and smoked.
This narcotic painkiller is one of the more addictive drugs due to the extremely short amount of time it takes to enter the brain. Injections get the drug into the brain the quickest, but snorting and smoking the drug also have rapid results.
The drug is particularly dangerous because its purity is always in question, leaving the user to guess how much of the drug can result in a high and how much can result in a fatal overdose.
Street names for heroin include black tar, smack, dirt, diesel, red rock, white junk, salt and brown sugar, depending on the heroin’s color and consistency. It can range from black to white and come in as a powder, rock or crystal formation.
Signs of Heroin Use
Knowing the signs of heroin use is a critical first step to determine if someone you know is abusing drugs. The “heroin chic” trend of the 1990s provided a good indication of what a heroin user can look like. The fashionable trend featured dark circles beneath the eyes, pasty white skin and an overall gaunt and angular appearance. Heroin users often end up looking that way without trying to be chic but rather from suffering of the ill effects of the drug.
How Heroin Works
As heroin speeds its way to the brain, users receive a powerful rush of pleasure along with a dry mouth and flushed skin. The user’s arms and legs can begin to feel extremely weighty and difficult to move.
It’s not uncommon for an injection of heroin to induce vomiting or cause nausea and an extreme itchiness to the entire body. Once the first rush of pleasure subsides, heroin users typically become sluggish, drowsy and unable to think or function with clarity, if at all. Their heart rate and breathing slow down and they may assume the pose known as the heroin nod.
The head slumps forward toward the chest as if the weight of the skull is just too much for the neck to handle and supportive structures have turned to jelly.
Heroin Users Also Experience These Symptoms
- decreased sensitivity, especially to pain
The effects can last for several hours. Needle marks up and down the arm can be a telltale sign of heroin use, although users can inject the drug anywhere they can access a vein. This includes a host of less-obvious locations such as on the feet or between the toes.
If a heroin user crosses the line into a heroin abuse and addiction, long-term use of the drug takes its toll in a number of other ways.
A gaunt, starving appearance can be accompanied by collapsed veins as well as infections in the needle sores and heart valves and lining.
Liver or kidney disease is not uncommon with long-term heroin abuse. Because the drug slows down respiratory functions, pneumonia is another common ailment that can strike the already weak body of the drug abuser.
HIV is always a threat when heroin users share needles, as are hepatitis and other blood-borne infectious diseases.
Deaths from heroin overdose is a huge problem in the united states as you can see from the illustration below.
The Terrible Truth
Due to any number of uncontrolled, toxic substances that can be mixed with the drug, other health problems frequently arise. These can include blood clots, brain damage, irrevocable destruction to other vital organs and the ever-present looming threat of death. “Brain damage” and “Dead on arrival” are two more street terms for the drug. Heroin abuse has even resulted in spontaneous abortions.
Contact Delray Recovery Center Today
If you or someone you care for is currently caught up in the destructive grip of addiction, please seek the help of Delray Recovery Center. We are an addiction treatment provider that understands the struggle. We know the suffering of the addict and the heartache of the families involved.
Call us today at the toll free number above. If you are fearful of voicing the problem, please simply fill out our Contact Form. Any measure of contact is a step in the right direction.