Heroin

Heroin (like opium and morphine) is made from the resin of poppy plants that predominantly grow in South America and, to a lesser extent, Southeast Asia. Milky, sap-like opium is first removed from the pod of the poppy flower and then refined to make morphine. The morphine is refined further into different forms of heroin.

Heroin is most often sold as a white, pink, or brownish powder that has been “cut.” “Cut” means something was used to dilute the heroin, namely sugar, powdered milk, quinine caffeine or other substances. Street heroin is dangerously sometimes “cut” with strychnine or other poisons. The various additives that have been “cut” into the heroin often do not fully dissolve, and when the are injected into the body, can clog the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, kidneys or brain leading to infection or destruction of vital organs.

Heroin bought on the street carries an additional risk: the user never knows the actual strength of the heroin they are buying. Because of this, users are constantly at risk of an overdose.

Street names for heroin include:

Big H

Brown Sugar

H

Hell Dust

Horse

Junk

Nose Drops

Skag

Smack

Thunder

source: drugfreeworld.org

Top 10 most abused drugs

Recent statistics show that there has been a slight shift in the top 10 most commonly abused drugs. The most noteworthy is marijuana, moving from 3rd place to 2nd place recently. Most speculate this is due on part to the legalization of recreational marijuana in many parts of the country.

1-Alcohol: The CDAC notes that, “with over half (51.8%) of U.S. population identified as drinkers, alcohol is the #1 most abused substance. Nearly a quarter of the population participates in binge drinking (58.6 million), and 6.7% of the population reported heavy drinking (16.9 million). As a depressant, alcohol produces impaired coordination and judgment, slurred speech, and blackouts.”

2- Marijuana: Marijuana is the #1 most abused illicit drug and the third most abused drug according to the CDAC. The CDAC reports that, “the dried parts of the Cannabis plant can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination and problems with learning and memory.”

3- Tobacco: At least one quarter of Americans (6.9 million) are users of a tobacco product making it the second most abused drug. Many individuals are drawn to smoking because it stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain and turn on the body’s natural chemicals that produce euphoria. Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, causing long-term systemic effects. These risks include high blood pressure and smoking has been proven to increase the risk of cancer.

4-Prescription painkillers: The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise and has moved up in ranking to be the fourth most abused type of drug. Painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, are the most abused prescription drugs. These drugs can produce effects similar to heroin. Painkillers can have negative effects on the physical body causing heightened sensitivity to sound and light, hallucinations, blackouts and problems with the lungs, central nervous system, stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, heart and death from overdose.

5-Cocaine: Although cocaine gained popularity back in the 1980’s, it still remains on the top 10 list of most abused drugs: listed as the fifth most abused. According to the CDAC, nearly 1.5 million people in America are current users of this white powder. Cocaine use results in severe psychological dependence and intense drug cravings. This is due to cocaine’s short-lived yet powerful effects of euphoria. With cocaine, tolerance builds quickly, making it more dangerous.

6- Prescription Sedatives: The most common sedatives are benzodiazepines and tranquilizers. Approximately 2.4 million people in the U.S. are using sedatives for non-medical purposes. These are highly addictive and can cause memory loss, poor motor coordination, paranoia, stupor, suicidal thoughts, aggression, respiratory depression and coma. Mixing sedatives with alcohol is very dangerous and can cause death.

7- Prescription Stimulants: Prescription stimulant drugs have a high addictive rate and about 1.2 million Americans are currently taking prescription stimulants for non-medical purposes. These stimulants, such as Ritalin or Adderall, are usually prescribed for people who have narcolepsy or ADHD. These drugs increase the level of dopamine in the brain causing feelings of euphoria. Abuse of stimulants can cause heart attacks, strokes, depression, malnutrition, hostility and paranoia. Because stimulants increase energy and focus, teenagers are abusing the drug because they believe it will enhance their learning and test scores. The abuse of these drugs has increased significantly on college campuses across the country.

8- Hallucinogens (LSD, ecstasy): Approximately 1.1 million people are currently taking hallucinogens in the U.S. Hallucinogenic drugs are known as PCP, mescaline, Ecstasy, LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. These drugs cause hallucinations and profoundly affect the perception of reality. Some negative effects of using hallucinogenic drugs are delusions, paranoia, panic, terror, despair, psychosis, and psychological illness. Flashbacks from some of these drugs may occur at anytime after using the drug. LSD is reported to be the most popular hallucinogen among users. LSD, also known as “acid,” is the most potent hallucinogen in the world. It is often sold on blotting paper, or “window panes.” The effects of LSD are unpredictable, altering the user’s mood, personality, and sensations of reality. (CDAC, 2012).

9- Heroin: Heroin is known as the most powerful and addictive drug in the world and its use is increasing in the U.S. Heroin induces euphoria by binding to the opioid receptors that control consciousness, breathing and blood pressure. Long-term effects of using heroin include collapsed veins, partial paralysis, memory loss, intellectual impairment, and disease of the heart, liver and kidneys. Heroin is often diluted with other substances creating a high risk of physical complications and death. It is made from poppy plants and is a highly addictive opiate. It can be injected, smoked, or sniffed and creates a feeling of a euphoric rush. Users feel an increased ability to communicate easily with others, and report heightened sexual performance.

10-Methamphetamine: The tenth most abused drug is methamphetamine, also known as meth, crank, or speed. Although last on the list, it shouldn’t be ignored. Meth is popular among young adults. Meth produces feelings of well-being and energy which can last from 4 to 16 hours. Because of its lasting effects, it is a popular drug for both parties and nightclubs. Meth is highly addictive, and burns up the body’s resources and can cause permanent damage to the brain and body.

 

Common Street Drugs Part 2: Meth, Weed, Heroin

This part 2 follow up discusses 3 more dangerous street drugs that are commonly being used in the U.S. today. Although awareness about the dangers of drug abuse has grown considerably over the last few decades, the problem of addiction continues to exist and, in some cases, is on the increase. Meth, Heroin, and Marijuana are spoken about in the news often. With prescription painkiller addictions turning into street heroin addictions on the rise throughout the entire country and legalization of marijuana in so many states, these drugs pose a new threat that wasn’t around a decade ago because of their easier access.

  1. Methamphetamine – what is it made of and what does it do? How widespread is the use of this drug?
  • Meth is a stimulant often marketed under the name Desoxyn. It is is highly addictive. It was known for being a drug made at home at one time, but because of recent laws, meth ingredients are tougher to get so most of it is coming from South American and Mexico. Meth is ingested by being snorted, swallowed, injected or smoked. Often users change methods. Street names for meth include: Crystal Glass Stove Top, Trash Black Beauties, Chalk, Crank, Yaba. In 2015, agents recovered record setting amounts: 1,686 grams.

2. Heroin – what is it made of and what does it do? How widespread is the use of this drug?

  • Heroin is made from opium, a naturally occurring substance extracted from poppies and it has no accepted medical use, no accepted safe procedure for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for addiction and abuse. Known on the street as Black Tar, Chiva, Smack, Hell Dust, Horse, Negra or Thunder, it comes as a white or brownish powder, or as a black, sticky substance and is typically snorted, injected, or smoked. Often,heroin is cut with other substances such as sugar or powdered milk. Abuse of heroin is widespread and is on the rise. Many law enforcement agencies point to the increase in prescription painkillers as a problem, since many turn to street heroin once their prescriptions are no longer valid.

3. Marijuana – what is it made of and what does it do? How widespread is the use of this drug?

  • Marijuana is a plant that is grown inside or outdoors in North and South America as well as in Asia. The street names for marijuana include: dope, grass, pot, skunk, smoke, weed, yerba, and boom. Marijuana is addictive and as been shown to decrease brain function. Agents are constantly seizing marijuana based drug It is one of the most common street drugs and is also the best known among high school and college aged kids who abuse drugs. With recent changes in marijuana legalization, many seem to turn a blind eye to some of its harmful effects when it is not used for medicinal purposes. The use of marijuana is very widespread.

 

Source: usatoday.com

 

whatisheroinWhat Exactly is Heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive, illegal drug processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed-pod of poppy plants that predominantly grow in South America and, to a lesser extent, from Southeast Asia. In its purest form, heroin is a fine white powder. It most often sold as a white, pink, or brownish powder that has been “cut.” “Cut” means something was used to dilute the heroin, namely sugar, powdered milk, quinine caffeine or other substances. Street heroin is dangerously sometimes “cut” with strychnine or other poisons.

The various additives that have been “cut” into the heroin often do not fully dissolve, and when the are injected into the body, can clog the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, kidneys or brain leading to infection or destruction of vital organs.

Heroin bought on the street carries an additional risk: the user never knows the actual strength of the heroin they are buying. Because of this, users are constantly at risk of an overdose.

Street names for heroin include:

  • Big H
  • Brown Sugar
  • H
  • Hell Dust
  • Horse
  • Junk
  • Nose Drops
  • Skag
  • Smack
  • Thunder

 

Today’s Heroin

The face of today’s heroin users may not be what many of us think of. Most of us are likely to think of heroin addicts or users and criminals or someone who lurks in back alleys. Today’s heroin users, however, are our friends and neighbors, our co-workers and church congregation members.

Sadly, drug use became more prevalent among children in the last few decades. Some children smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol when still very young. Today children are exposed to and participating in these behaviors more than ever. By the time kids graduate from high school, nearly 40% of all teens will have tried marijuana. Some later move on to more addictive substances.

Although it cannot be assumed that all children who smoke marijuana today will become heroin addicts tomorrow, the danger exists. And long-term studies of high school students (drugfreeworld.org) show that few teens use other drugs without first having tried marijuana. With the increase use of marijuana due to legalization, this is worrisome. Once a person can no longer get the initial “rush” they seek from something like marijuana, they may begin to increase drug consumption or to look for something stronger.

Sadly, the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 9.5% of youths aged 12 to 17 in the US were current illegal drug users. Further, in 2008, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported that daily marijuana use among college students had doubled, and use of cocaine and heroin was on the rise as well. Along with that, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, estimated that 16 million people worldwide used opiates—opium, morphine, heroin and synthetic opiates.

Today’s heroin user could be 12 years old, play video games and enjoy the music of his generation. He could appear smart, stylish and bear none of the common traces of heroin use, such as needle marks on his arm. Because heroin is available in various forms that are easier to consume (such as pills) and more affordable forms as well, it is more tempting than ever. It used to be that heroin was injected using needles but now young people (and older people as well) who may have thought twice about injecting themselves with a drug via a needle may not hesitate to consume heroin in easier ways that seem less risky. Teaching young people about the dangers of heroin and public awareness about heroin addiction prevention is key is saving many people from a lifetime of sorrow, health issues, and destruction.

 

heroin02Short and Long-Term Effects of Heroin

The heroin epidemic raging across the United States is wrecking lives and leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Although heroin effects are known to be frightening, many do not realize the direct effects of heroin. There are several short-term effects as well as long-term effects that users experience.

Immediately, however, heroin users will most often experience a rush -which is often accompanied by a warm feeling of the skin and a dry mouth. Sometimes, but not often, the initial reaction can include vomiting or severe itching. Following the rush, the heroin user may become drowsy for several hours. Basic body functions such as breathing and heartbeat slow down.

 

Short-term effects include:

  • “Rush”
  • Clouded mental functioning
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sedation; drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Hypothermia (body temperature lower than normal)
  • Coma or death is possible (due to overdose)

 

Long-term effects include:

  • Bad teeth
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Constipation
  • Cold sweats
  • Itching
  • Weakening of the immune system
  • Coma
  • Respiratory (breathing) illnesses
  • Muscular weakness, partial paralysis
  • Reduced sexual capacity and long-term impotence in men
  • Menstrual disturbance in women
  • Inability to achieve orgasm (women and men)
  • Loss of memory and intellectual performance
  • Introversion
  • Depression
  • Pustules on the face
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia

 

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