“I’ll try it just once,” “There’s no harm in trying,” “I won’t get addicted,” “I can stop anytime…” These are just a few of the many things some people say when they first try heroin.
Unfortunately, they are powerless to escape the vise grip of heroin addiction. Even a single dose of heroin can start a person to be addicted–and it is impossible to turn back.
Why Is Heroin So Addictive?
Heroin, an illegal drug, is a highly addictive drug that produces a “downer” effect. This is because it is an opiate, a class of natural products derived from the opium poppy plant. As such, heroin’s highly addictive property is attributed to its ability to rapidly cause a person to feel relaxed and euphoric because it targets the pleasure centers of the brain. It blocks the brain’s ability to feel pain, and those who shoot up or inhale it feel the ‘rush’.
The rush occurs within seconds when it is injected directly into the vein, which is one of the most common ways of using heroin. However, it can also be sniffed or smoke.
With the rush comes a warm flush on the skin, small or contracted pupils, runny nose, watery eyes, dry mouth, cuts or scabs on the skin, and a heavy feeling in the limbs. Other effects include vomiting, nausea, and severe itching.
After the rush, the person will feel very relaxed and sleepy. At this point, the heart slows down as well as the breathing. The person’s thoughts become cloudy, and he or she will enter a state of trance, which lasts for about 4 to 6 hours.
As people continue to use heroin, their dosage increases as tolerance develops. They would need to take a higher dose to feel the same “rush” as when they last used.
In addition, the body becomes physically dependent on the drug. In fact, many people would use just so they would not feel the withdrawal symptoms.
Signs of Heroin Use and Addiction
Many health problems can be caused by heroin addiction, which is actually one of the most fatal addictive drugs. The health problems include:
- liver or kidney disease
- pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other lung problems
- hepatitis B and C, from sharing needles
- HIV and many other diseases from sharing needles
- bacterial infections in the blood vessels
However, many experts say that the above signs do not equate heroin use. Instead, the things to look out for are possession of heroin paraphernalia:
- needles or syringes
- burned and deformed silver spoons
- shoelaces and other ties that are used for tying off injection sites
- straws with burn marks
- aluminum foil and gum wrappers with burn marks
- small plastic bags with powder residue
- water pipes or makeshift pipes
Those who are abusing heroin will also exhibit the following behaviors:
- sudden change in sleeping patterns, in fact long times spent sleeping
- slurred or incoherent speech
- staring off in the distance
- avoiding aye contact
- lying and being secretive
- picking on skin resulting to scabs and cuts
- losing focus and being unable to perform well in school or at work, even resulting to loss of work or being kicked out of school
- spending time increasingly away from family and friends
- lack of interest towards supposed hobbies and passions
- stealing or borrowing money
- valuables are going missing
- hostile or aggressive behaviour towards loved ones
- wearing long pants or long sleeves to hide “track” marks or needle marks, even in hot weather
If you know someone or if you are suffering from heroin addiction, please get help. Heroin addiction can result to serious medical conditions and complications, including death. Talk to our rehab specialists today: