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Heroin Effects

Heroin is also known by street names such as brown sugar, dope, big H, etc. It is a very addictive drug that is a derivative of morphine which is an opioid or an alkaloid compound derived from opium. It is available as a white or brown powder or a tar-like substance. Heroin is ingested by injecting into the vein or muscle, smoking, snorting, etc. Heroin works mainly in the areas of the brain that control pleasure and helps to dull pain.

Short-term Heroin Effects

These effects of heroin make an appearance soon after it is used. After heroin is injected, when it reaches the brain the fastest, the user feels a sense of euphoria or 'rush'. Warmth is also felt together with a tingling sensation. The mouth feels dry and extremities feel heavy. The rush is followed by alternate drowsy and wakeful states. Depression of the central nervous system takes place, and the user develops slurred speech, slow and uncontrolled gait. Eyelids become droopy and night vision is impaired. Pupils become very constricted. The user may also experience vomiting and constipation. The heart rate and blood pressure are decreased.

When greater quantities are ingested, the effects last much longer. Some of the effects are falling asleep suddenly (on the nod), impaired concentration, itching on the body, increased urinary output, etc.

Overdose of heroin can cause death. The body temperature drops and breathing slows down considerably. Heartbeat becomes irregular. Overdose of heroin can occur when it is in very pure form, large quantities are injected, and it is used with other drugs such as sedatives or alcohol. One should immediately contact a hospital in case of heroin overdose.

Long-term Heroin Effects

The long-term effects of using heroin are very destructive. Frequent injections lead to collapsed veins. Sharing of needles leads to HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Tuberculosis and arthritis are commonly seen to occur in heroin users. Infection of the lining of the heart is commonly seen in long-term heroin users. Pulmonary diseases including pneumonia also commonly occur. Heroin sold on the street contain many harmful additives. They clog blood vessels and eventually lead to organ dysfunction and collapse.

Consistent and regular use of heroin causes the body to develop tolerance for the drug. The individual then need larger amounts of the drug to realize similar effects as previously derived. These factors lead to physical dependence and addiction.

Abrupt cessation of the use of the drug causes severe withdrawal symptoms in long-term heroin users. These include muscle and bone aches, chills and tremors, severe drug cravings, vomiting and diarrhea, among many others. Withdrawal symptoms occur in about 48 to 72 h following the previous dose. They last for about a week after which they subside. Sudden withdrawal of the drug can be fatal for those patients with poor body health.

Other Heroin Effects

Regular heroin users neglect personal cleanliness and stop looking after themselves. A heroin addict's food habits are bad and over time addicts become nutritionally deficient. Women who are users of heroin suffer from menstrual irregularity and loss of fertility in some cases. Men face reduced sexual capacity and long-term impotence. Both men and women display failure to achieve orgasm. Addicts are depressed and introverted. Pustules are seen on the faces of most drug users. This is primarily attributed to the weakening of the immune system.

The effects on the body due to continued use of heroin are very destructive.

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