Heroin: Modes of administration and Its Effects
Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive opioid. Opiates are a group of drugs that create a sense of euphoria (a rush) and a sense of relaxation.
Heroin is a product of morphine. Morphine is a natural element of the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. It has diverse names such as Chiva, Big H, Horse, Smack, Brown Sugar, and Boy.
Heroin users feel warm and secure. It is like they are covered by a warm blanket that safeguards them from emotional and physical pain.
Modes of Administration
Heroin smoking is different.
Heroin addicts heat it on an aluminum foil or a spoon. Vaporized fumes are then inhaled through a glass tube or a rolled up foil as opposed to inhaling the burnt smoke.
This process is referred to as ‘chasing the dragon.’
Injection is the most popular method and bears the highest risk. It gives a quick, headier rush.
Dissolved heroin enters the bloodstream through a vein on the arm.
This method is known as ‘banging,’ ‘shooting up,’’ digging’ or ‘mainlining.’
Powder heroin is inhaled through a straw or rolled up bank note.
Many users believe that this mode is less addictive as it only gives them a nod and no rush. This is a fallacy. Pure heroin is highly addictive regardless of the method of administration.
Effects of Heroin Abuse
Risk of Contracting Chronic Diseases
Sharing of unsterilized straws and syringes raises the risk of contracting hepatitis B and C and with an eventual liver damage.
There is a risk of contracting HIV due to the shared equipment. Addicts on a ‘rush’ cannot make responsible sexual choices.
Collapsed or Damaged Veins
Additives in street heroin may contain impurities that are hard to dissolve. These impurities lead to blockage of the blood vessels.
An infection of the blood vessels and heart valves is common due to the use of unsterilized tools.
Heroin addiction is also known as Opioid Use Disorder. It is characterized by an obsessive desire to use heroin and an inability to control heroin use despite its harmful effects.
Addicts neglect other aspects of their lives in pursuit of heroin or when recovering from withdrawals.
What is Heroin Dependency?
A heroin dependent user is unable to function without the drug. Their body develops drug tolerance and requires higher doses to get the same high. Heroin dependency forms as users chase that elusive initial rush or in an effort to avoid the effects of the withdrawal.
User Suffers from Effects of Heroin Withdrawal
A heroin withdrawal starts 6-12 hours after the last dose. It peaks within 2-3 days and wanes by the 7th day.
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is when some users experience weeks and months of withdrawal symptoms.
Heroin withdrawal is rarely lethal for a fit individual. However, it can cause death to the fetus of an expectant user.
What characterizes a Heroin Withdrawal?
Heroin withdrawal is characterized by a deep craving for heroin, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, vomiting and extreme yawning. There is also an overproduction of bodily fluids like tears, sweat, and mucus. The user’s body heat rises, and his/her hair may stand on end. Since heroin works by blocking the pain pathways, heroin withdrawal has a rebound effect. The addict becomes more sensitive to pain.
Heroin overdose deaths are common. In 2016, 15,500 Americans died from heroin overdose.
The ambiguity of heroin purity in the streets raises the risk of a heroin overdose. The content of the stuff cut with heroin is hard to verify.
A heroin overdose is identified by slow breathing, a blackout, and pinpoint pupils.
An overdose can lead to a coma, permanent head damage or even death.
Heroin is a banned drug with the potential for fatal outcomes. Share this info with a loved one.