Heroin Overdoses

You might wonder why heroin overdoses are so common in the United States. Actually, there are many answers to this question. Heroin is an illicit drug that is sold illegally on the streets. Therefore, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has no control over any ingredients that are in the drug. Many dealers mix heroin with other ingredients to increase their profits. Some of these ingredients can even be poisonous.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine that comes from certain opium poppy plants. These plants grow in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Colombia, and Mexico. Heroin is normally a powder, either white or brown. However, it can also be a black sticky substance which is known as “black tar heroin.” Common street names for heroin include Horse, Big H, Hell Dust, and Smack.

Users of heroin most commonly inject it into a vein. However, they sometimes smoke it or snort it. When a person injects heroin, they are at risk of long-term viral infections such as Hepatitis B and C, along with HIV. They are also prone to bacterial infections that infect the bloodstream, skin, and heart.

What are the Effects of Heroin?

Most of the time, drug dealers “cut” heroin with other ingredients. Some of the other additives might include starch, sugar, baking powder, or powdered milk among many others. These substances can clog blood vessels leading to vital organs such as the brain, lungs, liver, or kidneys. If this happens, it causes permanent damage to the user.

Individuals who use heroin report feeling euphoria and pleasure. Some of the other short-term effects include:

  • A warm flushing feeling on the skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Extreme itching
  • A heavy feeling of the arms and legs
  • Nodding off” (going in and out of consciousness)
  • Decreased mental function

The long-term effects of heroin abuse can be much more dangerous. A few of these effects may be issues such as:

  • Lung complications such as frequent pneumonia
  • Infection of the heart lining and valves
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Constipation and stomach cramping
  • Mental disorders such as antisocial personality disorder
  • Abscesses and collapsed veins

Once a person develops an addiction to heroin, they have to keep using the drug simply to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms from not having the drug in their system.

Heroin Overdoses in the United States

In the United States, heroin overdoses have increased over recent years. There are many reasons for heroin overdoses. First of all, a person never knows the purity of the heroin that they are using. The more pure the drug is, the stronger it is. This in itself can cause an overdose if it is purer than what they are used to using. There is no way to know if the dealer has cut the heroin or even combined other substances of abuse with it.

In many cases, reports show that fentanyl is combined with heroin. With this strong substance, an overdose can be immediate. Fentanyl can be up to 50 times stronger than heroin. Many more heroin overdoses involve other substances of abuse such as alcohol or other opioids.

The majority of heroin overdoses occur in addicts. However, a heroin overdose can happen the first time a person uses this drug. Many medical professionals believe that prescription painkillers are gateway drugs to heroin. Prescription painkillers are more expensive on the streets than heroin. Therefore, many individuals who are addicted to painkillers and can no longer obtain them legally turn to heroin.

Seek Help for Heroin Abuse and Addiction

Heroin overdoses are very common in the United States today. If you are struggling with the abuse of or addiction to heroin, don’t take the chance of overdosing on this drug and losing your life. Seek help immediately. Don’t become another statistic. Seek help from an inpatient addiction treatment facility that can help you with detoxification and follow up with an addiction treatment program.

Contact New Beginnings Drug Rehab to learn about a treatment program that we can design for your individual needs and preferences. We can get you into recovery from addiction to heroin (or any other substance of abuse) and back to a sober and healthy life. Don’t put it off any longer. Make that call today. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have.


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