Have you ever wondered how people get addicted to heroin? Many substances can lead to addiction, but heroin is among the worst because substantial effects on the body and mind make it a difficult drug to combat. With all the drugs out there, how can you tell if a person has formed a heroin addiction?
What Is Heroin
Heroin is made from morphine, which is derived from the seed pods of the poppy plant. Morphine is often used as a strong pain reliever in hospitals. Heroin is a more concentrated, synthesized form which is rendered in its pure form as a white powder or mixed with other substances, such as sugar, starch, powdered milk or quinine. This powder can be smoked, snorted or injected.
It may also appear as a sticky, dark substance, often called black tar heroin. This form of heroin is not as pure as the white powder because it is not as highly processed. Created by drug cartels in an attempt to cut costs and increase profits, black tar heroin use in the United States is on the rise as a result of its low price.
How Heroin Is Used
According to a 2014 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, around 4.8 million people had used heroin at some point in their lives, while 435,000 of those people were regular users within a twelve-month period.
Because pure heroin is a powder form, snorting is a popular method of consumption, but it isn’t the only possibility. In powder form, heroin may be smoked as well. These options bypass the necessity of a needle, which may be appealing to newcomers.
Injection is the other option for heroin use. Seemingly the most painful, injection also provides the greatest high. While smoking or snorting don’t require needles, they also do not provide the same immediate rush of euphoria that begins within seconds after injection. Because needles leave marks on the body, a person may attempt to hide the injection sites in concealed places, including between the toes.
How Heroin Affects Your Body
Whatever method is used, heroin has a definitive impact on the body. The influx of heroin into the brain wreaks havoc on the pleasure and pain centers of the brain. When it enters the brain, it is metabolized into morphine and overwhelms the opioid receptors. Consistent use leads those receptors to depend on that influx of morphine, which in turn triggers the addiction. When the brain is deprived of heroin, those receptors go into overdrive, creating the pain associated with withdrawal.
Once the initial euphoria of heroin begins to subside, a person may feel drowsy, slipping in and out of consciousness. Limbs become heavy, the skin flushes and concentration is difficult. As use continues, the body becomes accustomed to this state and needs increased quantities of the drug in order to reach the same sensation.
Being addicted to heroin is a trial that is difficult to overcome. The more it is used, the more the body craves it, leading people into a cycle of need and temporary satisfaction. If you believe someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, understand what they are suffering through. It may be difficult, but help is available.