Heroin is a highly addictive and illegal drug. Heroin is an opioid, which means the drug influences the body’s opioid receptors, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Heroin, since it is an opioid, can relieve pain or discomfort and replace it with pleasure and euphoria, making the drug very addictive. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) revealed that nearly 15,000 Americans died from a heroin overdose in 2018.
Heroin is made from morphine, which is a naturally occurring substance that is found in certain poppy plants, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The drug can be snorted, injected, sniffed or smoked. Heroin either comes in a white or brown powder, or as a sticky black substance called “black tar.”
Key Signs Of Heroin Use
Some behavioral signs someone is using heroin:
- quick mood changes
- changes in sleep pattern
- putting themselves in bad situations
- borrowing medication or money
Short term side effects of heroin use:
- slurring or speaking slower than usual
- tiny pupils
- flushed skin
- shorter attention span
Long term side effects of heroin use:
- scarred or collapsed veins
- lung complications
- bacterial infections in blood vessels or heart valves
- high risk of contracting HIV
Get Help Now
Although heroin withdrawal is very uncomfortable, it is not life threatening, according to Chicago-based psychiatrist Lauren Pace. And, more importantly, the initial discomfort is worth it in order to be free from addiction and on a new, more positive path.
If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.