Pure heroin is a white powder with a tart taste that some people use for its euphoric effects. It’s a highly addictive drug, and it’s derived from the morphine alkaloid found in opium poppy plants. However, this drug contains three times more potent than morphine. Individuals who use heroin generally inject, smoke, or snort it up their nose.
Heroin is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, so it’s use carries stiff penalties. Moreover, the medical use of this drug is illegal in the United States. Most heroin is illegally sold as a white or brownish powder, and it’s usually mixed with other substances such as starch, sugar, powdered milk, or quinine to conceal it. Another type of heroin is known as black tar, which is sticky and hard, similar to coal and roofing tar.
Most heroin users are unaware of its full strength and actual contents, so they’re at high risk of overdose. Furthermore, most of them consume this drug through an intravenous injection because it’s the quickest way to achieve a euphoria rush.
Some of the effects of heroin use include:
Other physical effects may include difficulty breathing, constricted pupils, and nausea. Effects of overdose may include shallow breathing, blue lips and nails, hypotension, convulsions, muscle spasms, and slipping into a coma. Intravenous use can lead to other issues, such as the sharing of contaminated needles, the spread of HIV, hepatitis, and toxic reactions to impurities.
Long-term heroin use can result in medical complications, such as:
Heroin is a short-acting opioid, meaning it takes effect rapidly, but it also leaves a person’s bloodstream just as fast. Withdrawal symptoms start within 12 hours, peak in about three days, and last approximately ten days total, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Detoxification, or detox for short, is the set of interventions used to manage withdrawal symptoms. Since these symptoms arise a few days after the last dose, a person can detox in a substance abuse treatment center that specializes in medical detox. Medical detox usually starts before heroin ultimately leaves a person’s system, and it generally lasts a week. For someone who is heavily dependent on this drug, detox can last approximately ten days. A doctor monitors a patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and temperature to make sure they stay safe throughout this process.
Emotional withdrawal symptoms related to heroin, such as anxiety and depression, may be more prevalent in individuals who have a history of mental illness. Not only does one’s anxiety levels spike, but activities that used to bring joy no longer induce pleasure. Staying in a supportive environment during the peak of these symptoms can help a person get through this process more efficiently.
Some people choose to stay at an inpatient treatment center that can help them overcome their addiction. A combination of detoxification, counseling, medication, and guidance can help a person reclaim their life.
Steps Recovery Centers guarantee that any person who completes any of our programs are welcome to come to our weekly aftercare group for additional support at no charge for life.