Heroin & Its Effect on the Body

Heroin is considered to be one of the deadliest and most addictive drugs in the United States.

Heroin is extremely addictive, readily available, and inexpensive – all leading to a deadly combination. A drug that used to more prevalent with those of a lower economic status, is now widespread also including those in the middle and upper classes. Dealers are making lucrative profits not only in the inner city, but in suburbs and small towns across the country. It affects high school students, college athletes, the working class and individuals of all professions. Many addicts started out using prescription painkillers, and then progressed to heroin for a number of reasons. It was cheaper, easier to get, and typically more potent.

To fight this epidemic, knowledge is power. Below is general information about how heroin effects the body.

What is heroin?

Heroin (commonly known as big H, junk, dope, horse, hell dust, smack and more) is an illegal, highly addictive drug made from morphine, a natural substance from the seed pod of various opium poppy plants. While pure heroin does exist, usually it is mixed with other inexpensive substances so dealers can sell more of the drug, thus making more money. Common substances heroin can be mixed with include:

  • Baking soda
  • White sugar
  • Flour
  • Caffeine
  • Rat poison
  • Talcum powder
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fentanyl
  • Powdered milk

As you can imagine, consuming the drug can be much more dangerous in these combinations because there are so many side effects and risks depending on which combination a user receives. To all of us, substances such as laundry detergent, rat poison, and fentanyl would be obvious dangerous combinations with heroin.  Not so obvious though, are substances such as sugar, starches, and powdered milk as they clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, potentially causing permanent damage. Due to the unknown combinations, it is also impossible to know the correct doses or potency, increasing the likelihood of overdose and bad reactions.

What does heroin look like?

Heroin is a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. The more white in color, the purer it is.

Does heroin have a distinctive smell like weed?

Heroin in its purest form is mostly odorless, but when diluted or manipulated can have a vinegar or medicinal smell. If black tar or off-white heroin is smoked, the smell will become a stronger vinegar odor.

How do people use heroin?

Heroin can be smoked, snorted, sniffed or injected under the skin, into the muscle or intravenously.

What effects does a heroin high have on the body?

A heroin high is a rush of euphoria, pleasure, and a sense of well-being. Pain is gone and it also relieves anxiety and depression. Heroin high symptoms include slurred speech, flushed skin, and unnatural happiness. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sleepy eyes and small pupils. After the euphoric rush, the user will become very tired and may even fall asleep. The high can last minutes, but the drowsiness can last for several hours.

Help is available.

Heroin begins as an unbelievable euphoria, so the user keeps coming back for more. Heroin addiction results in a miserable life, desperately looking for the next euphoria because feeling a natural pleasure is no longer possible. Serious long-term health effects may develop. Unfortunately for some, drug addiction ends in an untimely death caused by a heroin overdose. The positive news is that a person can get help. The best approach to treating heroin addiction is medication-assisted therapy combined with counseling, support, and individualized recovery plans. AMC offers you the opportunity to take your life back from the grip of heroin addiction. Contact us today and take the steps towards life long recovery!

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