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Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is widely prevalent in the United States and while heroin addiction can be fatal it can be treated. Heroin is a fast acting opiate derived from the substance morphine found in certain types of poppy plants. Heroin can be found in fairly pure forms however most heroin is mixed with other substances including sugar, powered milk and starch or more dangerous substances including various poisons.

Heroin is a highly addictive drug therefore leading to high numbers of heroin addiction among its users. Because heroin is most often injected intravenously, users run the risk of contracting HIV and other diseases transmitted through dirty needles and blood.

Heroin is so addictive mainly because it reaches the brain and creates a euphoric reaction so rapidly. In general, opiates block pain messages, create a false sense of calmness by depressing body functions and increase feelings of pleasure in the body and the brain. Heroin addiction itself may well be the most destructive long-term effect of heroin use next to death. Once the body and mind are addicted to heroin the brain’s chemistry is most likely changed permanently. Heroin addiction is characterized by an increase in tolerance, meaning a person must use more of the drug to get the same effect, and a physical dependence on heroin.

Heroin addiction makes it almost impossible for a person to do anything else in life expect look for drugs and get “high”. Because heroin has such powerful effects on a person’s body, many people addicted to heroin will not try to stop because the symptoms of withdrawal are too painful for them to handle. Some will go through the symptoms of withdrawal to bring their tolerance down and enjoy the “high” again. Withdrawal symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea, insomnia, hot and cold flashes, physical pain, and involuntary body movement. These symptoms may occur within a few hours of the last drug use, but the signs may last up to a week and in some even months.

Heroin addiction is deadly and once a user is addicted many of the following long-term effects are possible:

· Bacterial infections
· Abscesses
· Collapsed veins
· Infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS and hepatitis)
· Infections of the heart
· Joint and muscular problems

Heroin addiction implies that a person is no longer functioning as a normal human being because he/she is dependent upon heroin to live. Heroin addiction breaks apart families and relationships, ruins lives and in the end results in death, either by the drug itself or by its deadly consequences: HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, heart failure, clogged arteries, etc.

Heroin addiction can be treatable with the proper environment, care and attention to the suffering addict. Heroin addiction does not take into account how many lives it has ruined or how much debt it has caused. If you or someone you love has a heroin addiction and needs help there is hope. At NIR we offer interventions throughout the US.

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