Effects of Heroin

a couple high on heroin

When a family finds out that one of their loved ones is abusing or addicted to heroin, this can be their worst nightmare. Heroin is one of the most addictive substances that can be abused and the effects of heroin are terribly destructive.

The health effects of heroin depend somewhat on how the drug is abused. Is it being smoked, injected or snorted? Smoking can cause respiratory problems because of the contamination from the heroin but also from adulterants use to make the heroin supply go farther. Ironically, respiratory problems can also result even from injected heroin use as opiates suppress the respiratory action of the body. For example, pneumonia may result from heroin abuse.

Other added substances in heroin may also damage and clog the blood vessels connecting the lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain which can cause permanent damage to these organs.

Heroin Use is Associated with Infectious Diseases

Injection drug users often neglect basic actions that would protect their health. If they share needles, they risk sharing hepatitis, HIV or other diseases. Injection can collapse veins, cause infection of the heart lining or valves or abscesses. Unless treated, most of these conditions can progress to more serious conditions that result in death. For example, local infections resulting from the adulterants in black tar heroin from Mexico can turn into necrotizing fasciitis, a fast-moving infection that progressively kills more and more tissue. Black tar heroin may be adulterated with dextrose, burned cornstarch, instant coffee, and sometimes dirt.

Drug users often neglect other basic personal care as well. Many fail to keep themselves clean and groomed and ignore illnesses. Their worlds are mostly consumed with making sure they have enough of the opiate to prevent dope sickness from setting in. The further they go down the road toward addiction, the more this pattern of drug abuse will consume their attention and shatter the pattern of their earlier sober lives. When extended, this effect of heroin use can destroy the person’s sober living skills to the point that they no longer know how to make drug-free decisions.

Certainly, a heroin addict’s diet is normally severely deficient in nutrients, which can lead to other problems.

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms Prevent Recovery

Most heroin addicts have such a severe dread of the dope sickness that kicks in during withdrawal that they will do almost anything to prevent this experience. They are sure that they can’t survive or enjoy anything in life if they are not high on heroin, so they refuse to admit the problem and resist efforts to help them.

But every day, they risk getting a bag of heroin that has been cut less than usual, possibly with the deadly drug fentanyl, which can result in an overdose that sends them to the hospital or morgue.

Recovery from heroin addiction on the Narconon program can be much more tolerable than “cold turkey” experiences the addicted person may have had before. The dread of the sickness does not have to be a deterrent to recovery anymore. At Narconon, an essential component in the recovery of a heroin addict is the New Life Detoxification, a sauna-based program that combines nutritional supplements with moderate exercise and time in the sauna to flush out the residual effects of heroin abuse. This step has been shown to help heroin addicts recover from the cravings that can keep them trapped in addictive behavior.

If you have a loved one struggling with heroin addiction, don’t wait until tomorrow. Call today to find out how the Narconon drug or alcohol recovery program can help.

For more information about heroin, see signs and symptoms of heroin use.


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