Heroin, also known as diamorphine among other names, is an opioid most commonly used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. Medically, it is used in several countries to relieve pain or in opioid replacement therapy. Heroin is typically injected, usually into a vein: however, it can also be smoked, snorted or inhaled. The onset of effects is usually rapid and lasts for a few hours.
Common side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness, impaired mental function, constipation and addiction. Giving up the habit after long-term use, withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of the last usage.
When administered by injection into a vein, heroin has two to three times the effect as of a similar dose of morphine. It typically comes as a white or brown powder.
Symptoms of Addiction
- Dry mouth and skin
- Constricted pupils
- Decreased breathing (if heroin is smoked)
- Itching, vomiting and nausea
- Mental function impairment
- Poor performance
- Regular injection of heroin can cause:
- infected heart valves
- blood borne infections and
Following are the risks associated with regular heroin usage:
- An overdose of Heroin may prove fatal
- Physical dependence due to frequent use
- An overdose may also cause respiratory depression, shallow breathing, hypotension and coma
- Administering heroin injections intravenously may cause HIV, hepatitis and toxic reactions owing to needles being contaminated
- Collapsed veins and
- Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart lining and valves)
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Bacterial infections
- Organ damage (typically caused by additives in street heroin)