Heroin Is a Rapid Path to Addiction
Many heroin users begin the habit by abusing prescription painkillers. The rising costs of prescription medications and dwindling availability have caused a dramatic increase in the use of the cheaper drug, heroin. The “high” is intense, but lasts only for a few minutes. A budding addict will quickly begin to chase that high, needing more and more of the drug to feel normal.
A 2011 study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that 4.2 Americans who were 12 and older admitted to using heroin at least one time in their lives. The Institute also asserts that 23 percent of people who try heroin will become addicted to the drug. The drug is so addictive, most users go from snorting or smoking to shooting up within weeks.
According to InTheKnowZone.com, the number of heroin users in the United States has almost tripled. In 1999, there were about 68,000 reported heroin users. As of late, there have been around 208,000 reported users. DrugAbuse.gov also reports that nearly a quarter of people that try heroin for the first time eventually will become addicted to it. Once an addiction is formed, it is often identifiable by the significant desire of the user to find and use the drug, oftentimes paired with an oblivious or indifferent attitude toward whatever consequences it entails. This is extremely unfortunate, since heroin can have a very negative affect on the body and mind.
Using heroin has many dangerous consequences. Those that choose to inject the drug are immediately at an incredibly high risk of contracting either hepatitis C or HIV. Sharing needles with other users is oftentimes the culprit of the onset of these diseases and continuous injections can result in unsightly scars all over the arms. Heroin use can also result in overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, infection in the heart, cramping in the intestines, kidney/liver disease, and more. Heroin also places a deathly toll on breathing patterns.
Heroin obtained from the street oftentimes contains dangerous properties and toxins that are notorious for causing irreversible damage to critical organs and clogging blood flow to them.
However, addiction is arguably one of the worst consequences of chronic heroin usage. Addiction keeps the user coming back, placing their life in jeopardy again and again only to appease their body. After an addiction sets in, sobriety becomes the abnormal and the effects of heroin on the brain become the norm for the user. This is why a heroin addict can typically go no longer than a few hours without using the drug.
Women that use heroin while pregnant often give birth to infants with low birth weights and their own addictions to the drug. Infants that are born with addictions to heroin often suffer from NAS (or neonatal abstinence syndrome), and they require hospitalization immediately after being born.
Overall, heroin bestows some pretty devastating short-term and long-term effects on the body. The longer a person chooses to use heroin, the more likely that they will develop long-term, permanent effects such as:
- Bad teeth and breath
- Weaker immune system
- Menstrual irregularity for women
- Sexual impotence
- Weakened muscular structure
- Partial paralysis
Since many long-term effects from heroin often do not set in until the drug has been used for a considerably long time, it is truly never too late to seek help.