Everything You Need To Know About Heroin Abuse And Addiction



Heroin is the first name that comes into our minds when we think about addiction. It is one of the most commonly available drugs. Heroin is basically a drug that comes from a flower named opium poppy. 

This particular type of flower usually grows in South America, Asia, and Mexico. This truly addictive substance has been illegal since 1924 in the United States. It might look like a brown or white powder or a sticky black “tar.” There are several names of heroin, and they are brown sugar, junk, and smack. 

How Is Heroin Used?

The way individuals consume heroin is different. Some people snort it, while some smoke it. In most cases, individuals prefer to inject heroin into their veins. It is indeed the most dangerous way to consume it. 

The chances of overdose are higher in case of injecting it; also, one might get several diseases from the dirty or infected needle. It does not matter how you are taking it; heroin always gets into your brain really quickly. That is why getting addicted to heroin is really easy. 

Even after using heroin once or twice, it can become really hard to stop yourself from taking it further. Just right after you have taken heroin, you get a rush of happiness and good feelings. Then for a couple of hours, you will feel that the world has slowed down.  

Some users also state that they feel like they are in a dream. Heroin is responsible for blocking pain messages and also slows the breathing and heart rate. In case you overdose on heroin, you might stop breathing and eventually die. 

In order to deal with worries, anxiety, and other stressors, many people start using heroin in the first place. As per the study, 75% of users had mental health issues like ADHD, bipolar disorder, or depression. 

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Why More People Are Using Heroin

Since the year 2007, the number of heroin users in the United States has risen steadily. The growing abuse of prescribed painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone that are made from the same poppy plant and also related to chemicals present in heroin is the major reason why heroin abuse is rising. 

Most people use these drugs when they search for a cheaper, stronger high, and heroin is the both. At the same time, heroin is more dangerous. There is simply no way to know what you are actually taking and how strong it is. 

Between the timezone of 2010 to 2017, the death rate of overdose heroin has risen nearly 400%. As heroin is laced with some other forms of drugs, like power painkiller fentanyl, some of these deaths take place. 

Effects Of Heroin

Here are some of the short-term effects of heroin. 

  • A dry mouth.
  • Itching.
  • Euphoria.
  • Warm, flushed skin.
  • Upset stomach and vomiting. 
  • Switching in and out of drowsiness. 
  • A fuzzy brain. 

In case an individual is into heroin addiction or heroin abuse, they might suffer from all these long-term effects. 

  • Kidney and liver disease. 
  • Insomnia.
  • Collapsed veins.
  • Mental disorder.
  • Skin infections, such as cellulitis and abscesses. 
  • Infections of your heart valves and lining.
  • A much higher chance of getting AIDS/HIV, Hepatitis C, and hepatitis B. 
  • Miscarriage and menstrual problems. 
  • Lung diseases, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. 

Heroin Addiction And Withdrawal

Heroin is actually too addictive to ignore. Several individuals who take it often develop a use disorder. It means heroin results in disabilities, health problems, and trouble at school, work, or home as well. 

In case you are too much into heroin consumption, your body eventually develops a tolerance towards that. However, it does not mean that it will not harm you. It actually means that you will require more and more heroin for getting the same high. 

With passing time, your body comes to depend on it. In this scenario, when you quit using heroin, you will suffer from heroin withdrawal symptoms. They include the following. 

  • Chills.
  • Jitters.
  • Muscle and bone pain. 
  • Diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Cold flashes.
  • Trouble sleeping. 
  • Leg movements, which you can not control. 

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Your medical supervision can assist you in finding the treatment plan which will be the best for you. The treatment procedure will include medications along with behavioral therapy. As per the experts, MAT or medication-assisted treatment is the “gold standard” of care, particularly for the individual suffering from heroin addiction. 

When you are on medications, it becomes easier to wean your body off heroin along with reducing cravings. Methadone and Buprenorphine both work in a similar way when it comes to heroin, binding to your brain cells called opioid receptors. 

All these medicines are much more long-lasting and safer than heroin. By blocking all those receptors, Naltrexone mitigates or eliminates the effect of opioids like heroin. This eventually makes them less enjoyable. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy assists you in paying attention to those things you do and think when it comes to drug use. Basically, it provides you with ways to cope better with stress and some other forms of triggers. 

On the other hand, contingency management therapy provides rewards such as money or vouchers in case you stay drug-free. 


In the above article, we have almost covered all the aspects of heroin addiction. Here are some most common questions about addiction, along with their answers, which we think you might like to know. 

Q1: How Does Addiction Affect Behavior?

Often, unethical and risky behaviors are the results of addiction. As per studies, in case you are into substance abuse for really long, it will impair your prefrontal cortex, is involved with attention, planning, emotional regulation, self-control 

Q2: What Is The Physiology Of Addiction?

Inherent physiological characteristics often influence how the individuals are responding to substance abuse along with other types of vulnerability to addiction. The basic physiology of our brain gets altered by the use of alcohol and obviously other addictive substances. All of these also change when the individual with addiction enters into recovery

Q3: How Do Drugs Affect Society?

The possible consequences of illicit drug abuse are indeed widespread. Along with causing severe emotional and physical damage to users, it also negatively impacts their coworkers, families, and others with whom they have contact. 



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