Rohnert Park, CA (PressExposure) August 15, 2009 -- Heroin is one of the many opioid drugs, similar to morphine, that causes the majority of drug addiction throughout the world. Although this drug became popular in modern age for its recreational purposes, long-term use of the drug would usually lead to addiction. The process in which this happens is due to its components that usually induce profound relaxation and intense euphoria. Because of increased tolerance that later diminishes the effects for which is usually used for, users would then increase their consumption of the drug, which will then lead to physical dependence.
Although it was used medically in the past, heroin is known today as one of the many drugs that causes severe abuse and drug dependence. However, addiction isn't the only problem that therapists are facing when addicts use heroin. Other than tolerance that leads to addiction, heroin use is also the cause of several adverse effects, from the point that the drug enters the body until the drug is dissolved into the system.
Adverse effects of heroin use other than addiction
For intravenous users of heroin (and any other substance), the use of non-sterile needles and syringes and other related equipment leads to several serious risks such as the risk of contracting blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis, the risk of contracting bacterial or fungal endocarditis and possibly venous sclerosis, and abscesses or puss.
Many countries and local governments have begun funding programs that supply sterile needles to people who inject illegal drugs in an attempt to reduce these contingent risks, especially the contraction and spread of blood-borne diseases. According to california drug rehab therapists, the Drug Policy Alliance have released a report that up to 75% of new AIDS cases among women and children are directly or indirectly a consequence of drug use by injection. The United States federal government does not operate needle exchanges, although some state and local governments do support needle exchange programs.
Apart from the needle, heroin overdose is also one of the many adverse effects of heroin addiction. Because of the drive to attain the euphoric sensation that these drug is used to provide, addicts would have to increase their intake due to the build up of tolerance. Apart from addiction and physical dependence, the increase of heroin intake could also cause overdose. There are, however, treatments used to counteract the symptoms of heroin overdose.
A heroin overdose is usually treated with an opioid antagonist, such as naloxone (Narcan), or naltrexone, which has high affinity for opioid receptors but does not activate them. According to california drug rehab therapists, this reverses the effects of heroin and other opioid agonists and causes an immediate return of consciousness but may precipitate withdrawal symptoms. The half-life of naloxone is much shorter than that of most opioid agonists, so that antagonist typically has to be administered multiple times until the opioid has been metabolized by the body.
Death from heroin overdose
Depending on drug interactions and numerous other factors, death from overdose can take anywhere from several minutes to several hours due to anoxia because the breathing reflex is suppressed by Âµ-opioids. An overdose is immediately reversible with an opioid antagonist injection. Heroin overdoses can occur due to an unexpected increase in the dose or purity or due to diminished opioid tolerance. However, according to california drug rehab therapists, many fatalities reported as overdoses are probably caused by interactions with other depressant drugs like alcohol or benzodiazepines.