Heroin is a natural substance extracted from a species of the poppy plant. On the street, it’s sold in the form of a white or brown powder, or as a sticky black substance called black tar heroin. Heroin’s highly addictive nature leads to almost immediate cravings, even from the first hit. Intense withdrawal symptoms trap users into an addiction cycle.
Heroin was once thought of as the last drug used by those experimenting with drugs, but dangerous new information suggests some young people now try it before any other drug.
How Heroin Is Used
This drug can be smoked, snorted, or, perhaps most commonly, injected. A typical heroin user might inject four to five times daily. Injection is thought to be the most addictive method of consumption, as it gives the most intense and rapid-onset high that users seek to replicate again and again.
However, the high risk of overdose and contracting diseases through injection and needle-sharing means that more users now prefer smoking or snorting: 20% more heroin users now smoke or snort than in 1999.
Short-Term Effects of Heroin
- Impaired Brain
- Feeling of Euphoria
- Slowed Respiration
- Pain Suppression
- Sickness and Vomiting
Long-Term Effects of Heroin
- Skin Abscesses
- Frequent Infections
- Risk of Arthritis
- Altered Brain Structure
- Heart Valve and Lining Infections
- Collapsed Veins
After the high has worn off, users may feel drowsy for hours. Cognitive function is reduced due to the drug’s effect on the brain. Heart and respiratory function slow down – sometimes fatally.
Stats About Heroin Users
- 948,000 Americans say they used heroin in 2016 (Statista)
- Almost 1 in 3 high-school seniors claim it’s easy to get heroin
- It’s found that men are much more likely to use heroin than women
- 80% of heroin users are thought to be 26 or younger
- The average heroin addict can spend up to $200 per day on their habit
- 14% of people who enter rehab say that heroin is their drug of choice
- Approximately 600,000 Americans are in need of heroin addiction treatment
Dangers Associated with Heroin Use
Using heroin doesn’t just lead to addiction – abusers can contract a host of other fatal diseases, usually through sharing needles. 80% of Hepatitis infections every year in the US are suffered by intravenous drug users.
Injectors of heroin and other drugs are at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and other diseases, either through sharing needles or engaging in risky behavior like unprotected sex while high or in return for drugs.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one have become addicted to abusing heroin, you should reach out to medical professionals. Quitting heroin alone is difficult and potentially deadly. For residents of New Jersey and the surrounding areas, you can call SOBA New Jersey or contact us online for help.
SOBA New Jersey is New Jersey’s premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, founded with the goal of helping young adults struggling with substance use disorders and addictions.
Learn more about SOBA New Jersey here.