What Is Heroin?

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Heroin, also known as diamorphine among other names, is an opioid most commonly used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. It is used medically in several countries to relieve pain or in opioid replacement therapy. Heroin is typically injected, usually into a vein, but it can also be smoked, snorted, or inhaled. The onset effects of heroin use are usually rapid and lasts for a few hours.

Pure heroin (diacetylmorphine) is a white powder with a bitter taste abused for its euphoric effects. Heroin is a highly addictive drug, is derived from the morphine alkaloid found in opium poppy plant (Papaver somniferum), and is roughly 3 times more potent than morphine

People inject, sniff, snort, or smoke heroin. Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine, a practice called speedballing.

Heroin use can lead to tolerance. At higher doses over time, the body becomes dependent on heroin. If dependent users stop heroin, they have withdrawal symptoms. 

These symptoms include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, diarrhea and vomiting, and cold flashes with goosebumps.

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How Do People Use Heroin?

Many people smoke or snort heroin. A majority of heroin users inject it into their veins. That is the most dangerous way to take heroin because it’s easier to overdose and you can catch a disease from a dirty needle.

No matter how you take heroinit gets to your brain quickly. It’s also easy to get addicted. Even after you use it just one or two times, it can be hard to stop yourself from using it again.

After taking heroin, you feel a rush of good feelings and happiness. Then, for several hours, you feel as if the world has slowed down. You think slowly and may walk slowly. Some users say you feel like you’re in a dream.

One thing that intensifies the abuse of prescription painkillers such as Morphine pills, and hydrocodone, which are also made from the poppy plant and chemically related to heroin. People who misuse these drugs may start looking for a stronger, cheaper high. Heroin is both.

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The History Behind Heroin Drug.

Heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, carries stiff criminal penalties, and has no acceptable medical use in the U.S.

Heroin was first made by C. R. Alder Wright in 1874 from morphine, a natural product of the opium poppy. Internationally, heroin is controlled under Schedules I and IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and it is generally illegal to make, possess, or sell without a license.

About 448 tons of heroin were made in 2017. In 2016, Afghanistan produced about 66% of the world’s opiumIllegal heroin is often mixed with other substances such as cocaine, starch, quinine, or strychnine.

The U.S. heroin overdose death rate rose nearly 400% between 2010 and 2017. Some of these deaths happen because heroin is laced with other drugs, such as the powerful painkiller fentanylXanax alprazolamand MDMA pills.

Is Heroin Addictive?

Heroin is a highly addictive drugHeroin users often develop a tolerance, which means that they need higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects.

substance use disorder (SUD) is when continued use of the drug causes issues, such as health problems and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home. A SUD can range from mild to severe, the most severe form being addiction.

Heroin addicts who suddenly stop using the drug abruptly may have severe withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms which can begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken include restlessness, severe muscle and bone pain, sleep problems, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goosebumps (“cold turkey”)

Can Someone Overdose On Heroin Drug?

Yes, a person can overdose on heroin. A heroin overdose occurs when a user uses too much of the drug to produce a life-threatening reaction or death. Heroin overdoses have increased in recent years. When people overdose on heroin, their breathing often slows (Respiratory depression). 

This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can have short- and long-term mental effects and effects on the nervous system, including coma and permanent brain damage.

How Can A Heroin Overdose Be Treated?

There exist a range of treatments for Heroin addiction, some of which including medicines and behavioral therapies that are effective in helping people stop using heroin.

Medicines to help people stop using heroin include buprenorphine and methadone. They work by binding to the same opioid receptors in the brain as heroin, but more weakly, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. 

Another treatment is naltrexone, which blocks opioid receptors and prevents opioid drugs from having an effect. 

Behavioral therapies for heroin addiction include methods called cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps modify the patient’s drug-use expectations and behaviors and helps effectively manage triggers and stress.

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