Heroin Addiction Facts

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Basic heroin addiction facts is knowing that heroin is a Schedule I drug as classified by the federal government, that is derived from morphine, courtesy of the opium poppy. It is a depressant that interferes with the brain’s ability to perceive pain.

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Some heroin addiction facts are understanding that heroin can be used in a variety of ways -- addicts can inject it, smoke it or snort it.

According to The Partnership at DrugFree.org on heroin addiction facts, heroin is highly addictive, its effects felt almost instantly. It writes on its web site:

The short-term effects of heroin abuse appear soon after a single dose and disappear in a few hours. After an injection of heroin, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria (“rush”) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Following this initial euphoria, the user goes “on the nod,” an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system.

A regular heroin user will begin to build a tolerance for the drug, so the body will require more and more heroin to achieve the same high.

As the doses get higher, a physical dependence on heroin develops. Withdrawal symptoms can begin just hours after the last hit, requiring even more heroin.

If the addict doesn't get it, the withdrawal symptoms will intensify, usually peaking with 48-72 hours. However, The Partnership writes on heroin addiction facts that "sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health can be fatal."

The effects of long-term heroin use are serious, effecting all parts of the body.

Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulites, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration. In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin may have additives that do not really dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs.

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