Heroin is an extremely potent and highly addictive central nervous system depressant that comes from the opium poppy. Heroin can be found on the street where purity and potency varies. This white or brown substance chemically derived from Morphine, may also come in a black and sticky form, most commonly called “black tar heroin.”

Heroin can be snorted, smoked, or injected intravenously. When heroin is injected into the vein, the process is called “mainlining.” This is the most dangerous method for abusing the drug.

Heroin Addiction: Physical Allergy and Psychological Compulsion

Heroin abuse usually begins as recreational use. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for a person to become physically dependent on this extremely dangerous narcotic drug. Those abusing heroin eventually reach a point where they are no longer doing the drug for fun, but they are using it because they physically need it.

Along with physical dependence, heroin addicts are at greater risk for disease and infection. Using heroin intravenously can cause abusers to develop life threatening diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C. Due to society’s awareness to the many health risks and concerns associated with injecting heroin intravenously; the method for administration has decreased.

According to the most recent government study, from 1992 to 2002 “inhalation as the route of administration increased from 20% to 33% of the primary heroin admissions reported to SAMHSA’s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS); while the proportion who injected heroin decreased from 77% to 62%.”

Heroin slang words:

• Aunt Hazel
• black tar
• brother
• chick
• ferry dust
• H
• Harry
• Hazel
• Jones
• Mexican mud
• smack
• tecata
• witch hazel

Heroin Side Effects:

The short and long term effects of heroin combined with the number of reported over-dose related deaths makes heroin one of the most dangerous illegal abused drugs in society today.

Short term effects of using heroin may only last a few hours, but the overwhelming euphoric effect is highly addicting. After a heroin addict gets their “fix” they will experience a very intense rush or blissful feeling of apathy. Following this very numb feeling the heroin addict goes into a state of mind called “the nod,” where the body feels heavy and they go in and out of consciousness. In this stage, heroin addicts drift in and out of reality with no recollection of what’s going on around them.

The major long term effects associated with heroin addiction are that of developing a high tolerance and physical dependence. Once addicted a heroin addict experiences very intense withdrawal symptoms, as well as psychological cravings for the drug. As a heroin addict’s tolerance builds, more of the drug is needed to produce the initial effect. Taking too much or combining heroin with other pharmaceuticals, like benzodiazepines, can result in death. When heroin addicts become physically dependent, they will then experience severe withdrawal symptoms with the absence of the drug.

Heroin addiction is not something that an individual can likely beat alone. A safe medical heroin detox is necessary to begin the recovery process. Once the body is physically freed from the drug, then the psychological component of the disease can be treated. Heroin addiction treatment centers provide the most effective place for an individual to begin the heroin addiction recovery.

Some of the most dangerous side effects associated with heroin addiction include:

• Euphoria
• Blissful apathy
• Drowsiness
• Delirium
• Slurred speech
• Heavy limbs
• Slow walk or pace
• Difficulty walking
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Abdominal pains
• Constipation
• Shallow breathing
• Impaired night vision
• Droopy eyes, especially the eyelids
• Constricted pupils
• Confusion

If you or someone you care about needs help with heroin addiction, please call (877) 674-2164. All calls are confidential.

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