Heroin is an addictive drug which belongs to the opiate family, and includes any morphine-based medication. The drug is derived from the poppy plant and known by the chemical name diacetylmorphine. Becoming addicted to heroin can happen the very first time a person uses the drug and is one of the most difficult to conquer.
Many people who are addicted to heroin will agree that using only one time can result in a full-blown addiction and when the drug is not used withdrawal sets in so a person is driven to use more. Like many other drugs, heroin can be smoked, snorted or injected into a vein. Users prefer the injection route because of the immediate effects produced, it is also the most common way the drug is used.
Heroin has a unique way of working on the human body and acts upon the central nervous system. The effects of heroin begin within approximately seven seconds and can last for several hours. Using heroin results in the user feeling extreme euphoria and elation, which is what makes the drug so initially appealing. Only after a person suffers from a full-blown heroin addiction is the situation recognized as being grave and serious.
Immediately after being used, heroin enters the blood-brain barrier and is converted into morphine. Once the initial euphoria has subsided, a person will experience dry mouth, sweating, flush skin and paranoia. Later, the person can be prone to episodes of vomiting, itching and tremors and much worse. Heroin also acts as a sedative and will make the user fatigued and sleepy for a period of many hours. The drug also interferes with cognitive abilities, as a person is impaired the situation graduates into respiratory and breathing rate slowing down.
The worst part of using heroin is the highly pleasurable feelings imparted to the user and are what lure countless numbers of people to try the drug. Heroin gets into the body quickly and because of how good it makes a person feel, they want to do more and more. Dependency and tolerance develop almost immediately and the cravings will take over and the person is prone to doing anything to be able to use heroin.
Long-term physical damage that occurs from an addiction to heroin includes brain, heart and central nervous system damage. Kidney, liver and lung damage, secondary infections, abscesses and bone problems such as osteoarthritis and arthritis are also common due to long-term heroin abuse.
Withdrawal from heroin is a serious situation which requires monitoring by a skilled team of medical professionals. Within hours of last ingesting heroin, a person will become violently ill and display a number of possibly life-threatening symptoms such as rapid and strong body movements, convulsions and severe vomiting. Heroin addiction is one of the most common and rapidly rising forms of drug addiction in the country. Without the right professional help a person suffering from an addiction to this drug can experience an overdose and die.