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Heroin is a white or brown powder or a black, sticky goo. It's an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance in the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. It can be mixed with water and injected with a needle.
The opioid family of drugs includes natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids. Opiates, such as morphine and codeine, are natural opioids found in the opium poppy. Synthetic opioids, such as methadoneare chemically made. Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid: it is made from morphine that has been chemically processed.
It enters the brain quickly and produces a more immediate effect. Most heroin is produced in Asia and Latin America, where opium poppies are grown. Morphine is extracted from the opium gum in laboratories close to the fields, and then converted into heroin in labs within or near the producing country.
In its pure form, heroin is a fine, white, bitter-tasting powder that dissolves in water. Street heroin may come in the form of a white powder, a brown and sometimes grainy substance or a dark brown sticky gum. The purity of heroin varies from batch to batch. Some additives, such as sugar, starch or powdered milk are used to increase the weight for retail sale. Other drugs may be added to increase the effects of the heroin. Fentanyla prescription opioid that is times more powerful than morphine, is sometimes used to cut heroin or other street drugs.
It may also be made into tablets that look like prescription medication. Many overdoses have occurred because people did not know that what they were taking was contaminated with fentanyl. If you or someone you know uses opioids, it is a good idea to have a free naloxone kit.
Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and allow time for medical help to arrive. Heroin is used by a range of people from a variety of cultural, social, economic and age groups. First-time users tend to be in their teens or 20s, but most people who use heroin regularly are over New users often experience nausea and vomiting. The desired effects include detachment from physical and emotional pain and a feeling of well-being.
Other effects include slowed breathing, pinpoint pupils, itchiness and sweating. Regular use in constipation, loss of sexual interest and libido and irregular or missed periods in women. If heroin is injected into a vein, the rush is felt in seven or eight seconds and lasts from 45 seconds to a few minutes. When it's injected under the skin or into a muscle, the effect comes on slower, within five to eight minutes. Regardless of how it is used, the effects of heroin generally last for three to five hours, depending on the dose.
People who use heroin daily must use every six to 12 hours to avoid symptoms of withdrawal.
Regular use of heroin can lead to addiction within two to three weeks. s of addiction include:. Not all people who experiment with heroin become addicted. Some people use the drug only on occasion, such as on weekends, without increasing the dose. However, with regular use, people develop tolerance, and they need more of the drug to achieve the same effects.
This le to physical dependence on heroin. Once someone is dependent, stopping their use can be extremely difficult. People who have used heroin for a long time often report that they no longer experience any pleasure from the drug. They continue to use heroin to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal and to control their craving for the drug. Heroin is dangerous for a of reasons.
The most immediate danger is overdose. In an opioid overdose, breathing slows down and may stop completely. A person who has overdosed is unconscious and cannot be roused, and has skin that is cold, moist and bluish.
If someone is overdosing, call immediately. While you are waiting for medical help to arrive, you can use your naloxone kit to about reverse the effects of All overdose. Research using brain scans shows that long-term regular use of heroin in changes in the way the brain works. While the effect of these changes is not fully understood, this research illustrates that it may take months or years for the brain to return to normal functioning after a heroin stops using heroin. A free tutorial on addictions is available on the Mental Health. Back to top. Keep your finger on our pulse — latest CAMH news, discoveries and ways to get involved delivered to your inbox.
To unsubscribe at any time click the link in our mailing or : unsubscribe camh. Your donation will help us get there. Where does it come from? What does it look like? Who uses it? How does it make you feel? How long does the feeling last? Is it addictive? s of addiction include: using over a longer period or using more than planned wanting to quit or cut down, or trying unsuccessfully to quit spending a lot of time and effort getting, using and recovering from opioids experiencing cravings heroin to fulfil responsibilities at work, school or home as a result of opioid use continuing to use opioids despite the negative social consequences caused by opioid use giving up activities that were once enjoyable using opioids in dangerous situations needing to take more of the drug to get the same effect toleranceAll of physical dependence feeling ill when opioid use about stops withdrawala of physical dependence showing s of opioid intoxication e.
Is it dangerous? The risk of overdose is increased by: the unknown purity of the drug, which makes it difficult to determine the correct dose injection, because the drug reaches the brain more quickly than by other ways of taking the drug, and because the dose is taken all at once combining heroin with other sedating drugs, such as alcoholbenzodiazepines or methadone.
Additional dangers of heroin use include: Injection: Injection drug use puts a person at high risk of bacterial infections, blood poisoning, skin infections and collapsed veins.
Sharing needles increases the risk of becoming infected with, or spreading, HIV and hepatitis B or C. Addiction: The constant need to obtain heroin and the repeated use of the drug can result in criminal involvement or other high-risk behaviour, breakdown of family life, loss of employment and poor health.
Pregnancy: Women who regularly use heroin often miss their periods; some mistakenly think that they are infertile, and become pregnant.
Continued use of heroin during pregnancy is very risky for the baby. What are the long-term effects of using it? Mental Health is Health. the Movement. Become a Change Agent.
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