What is heroin and how is it used?

what is heroin

We’ve all heard of  Heroin but there’s not much we actually know about where it comes from. Heroin is highly dangerous, addictive and illegal derivative of Morphine. It is typically sold as a white or a brown powder. Purer forms of heroin can be snorted (ingested through the nose), or it can be smoked. Less purer forms of heroin can also be consumed by injecting it into the muscle or veins.

What effects does heroin have on the body?

Heroin attaches itself to and activates very specific receptors in our brain. It artificially dulls the pain receptors and neurotransmitters and is said to give the user ‘a soothing high’ or ‘a rush’. This stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine which is why people engage in repetitive use. While the effect of this chemical does depend on different variables, it can be definitively harmful, as changing the brains and body’s natural chemistry is disturbed.

What are the long term effects of heroin?

Repetitive and continual heroin use causes changes in the brain’s structure physically while also altering the physiology and neurochemistry. Continued use can cause imbalances that may be hard to reverse and in some cases also irreversible. Long term use has shown problems with regulation of behavior, decision making abilities and affected fight/fight response, that in addition to physical dependency.

If there is an abrupt end to the cycle of use, the user may face severe withdrawals symptoms. Heroin withdrawals are, reportedly one of the most painful withdrawals. Heroin withdrawals do require medical and professional assistance. Some commonly found symptoms are; intense body aches, diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia and pain in the bones.

What can be done for a heroin overdose?

Overdose is a tragic and highly possible consequence of heroin abuse. When in overdose, opioid antagonist block the opioid receptors and reverse the overdose.

Where can I get further information about Heroin use disorder?


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