- Recent studies suggest a shift from injecting to snorting or smoking heroin because of increased purity and the misconception that these forms of use will not lead to addiction.
- When sold at street level heroin is likely to have been diluted or cut with a variety of similar powders. The main dilution is glucose. However, the practice of using other substances such as caffeine, flour and talcum powder is a constant danger to users
- Sharing of injection equipment or fluids can lead to some of the most severe consequences of heroin abuse - infections with hepatitis B and C, HIV, and a host of other blood-borne viruses, which drug abusers can then pass on to their sexual partners and children.
- Slang terms for heroin include: smack, mud, dope, horse, junk, brown sugar, big H, and black tar.
Heroin Side Effects
Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive opiate drug. Its abuse is more widespread than any other opiate. Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. It is typically sold as a white or brownish powder or as the black sticky substance known on the streets as "black tar heroin."
One of the most detrimental side effectst of heroin, is heroin addiction itself. Heroin addiction is a chronic problem, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, and by neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain. Heroin also produces profound degrees of tolerance and physical addiction, which are also powerful motivating factors for compulsive use and abuse. As with abusers of any addictive drug, heroin addicts gradually spend more and more time and energy obtaining and using the drug. Once they are addicted, the heroin abusers' primary purpose in life becomes seeking and using heroin. Heroin literally changes their brains.
Short term heroin side effects include but are not limited to:
- Depressed respiration
- Clouded mental functioning
- Nausea and vomiting
- Suppression of pain
- Spontaneous abortion
Long term heroin side effects include but are not limited to:
- Collapsed veins
- Bacterial infections
- Infection of heart lining and valves
- Arthritis and other rheumatologic
- Infectious diseases, for example, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C