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Heroin Addiction

Heroin Addiction heroin drug abuse

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain. It is derived from opium poppy and created using the sap from the poppy pods. There has been an extreme rise of heroin addiction and overdoses in the past few years. With pain clinics and prescription medications limiting the amount of distribution and due to the high cost for opioid medications many are turning back to heroin abuse.  The cost of heroin ranges from $5-$20 a bag versus one prescription medication ranging from $20-$80 depending on the dosage. The cost factor makes it appealing for those to make the change to heroin.


Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

Some of the signs and symptoms associated with heroin abuse

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Small pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Cycles of hyper alertness followed by sudden nodding off
  • Droopy appearances

Finding the warning signs that your loved one, co-worker, or friend may be abusing heroin could include items such as:

  • Burned and bent spoons
  • Burn marks on aluminum foil or gum wrappers
  • Water pipes
  • White powdery substance or residue in small plastic bags
  • Straws or empty pens
  • Missing shoelaces and belts
  • Syringes


Effects of Heroin Use and Route Administration

The effects of heroin use in large doses can cause fatal respiratory depression, poisoning from contaminants from diluted heroin, decreased kidney function, abscesses, and with intravenous injections can contract blood-borne viruses such HIV and hepatitis.

The effects of heroin depend on the route of administration for slow to immediate results. These range from swallowing or ingesting heroin which is the slowest route which can take up to 30 minutes for the drug to start having an effect. It is one of the least used methods when abusing heroin.  Snorting heroin is another route used with straws or rolled up dollar bill to snort the crushed up heroin. Insufflations (snorting) is sending the drug through the sinus cavity when enter straight into the bloodstream. This allows a quicker onset for the effects of heroin to start reaching the “high”. Many of those that refuse intravenous use turn to snorting. Smoking heroin is used with aluminum foil or gum wrappers, the heroin is placed on the foil as the flames from the lighter begins to melt the drug into a liquid form a straw is used to inhale the heroin. Some even use glass pipes or water pipes to smoke heroin.  Finally injecting heroin into the bloodstream to have immediate results often called “slamming”, “banging”, and “mainlining”. For first time intravenous users will experience nausea and vomiting to achieve a euphoria state. Many individuals will continue to use this method of abusing heroin to try to achieve their first “perfect high”. Heroin is extremely addictive due to its potency and the physical dependence with continuous abuse.

Overcoming Heroin Addiction

To overcome heroin addiction, medical detoxification is necessary along with therapy and treatment. Appropriate facilities can help overcome the temptations and urges to go back to using heroin. With a high structured environment and continuous aftercare of treatment can help a heroin addict stay on the path of recovery from their addiction. Heroin rehabilitation is extremely important in achieving the freedom from the addiction.


National Alcohol and Drug Dependency Resource Center can help provide you with the necessary options for you or your loved ones addiction to heroin.  Contact us to receive help today at 800-517-2241.