Derived from morphine, heroin is a street drug that comes in the form of a white powder, a brown powder or a black sticky substance. No matter what form it comes in, heroin is highly addictive and deadly.
Heroin Classification and Legislation
Heroin is classified as a Schedule I narcotic, which means that it has no medical value whatsoever. Anyone in possession of heroin in the United States has it illegally and is therefore subject to arrest, fines, and jail time depending upon how much of the drug they have.
Heroin goes by a number of nicknames, most of them based upon the color or type of heroin you are buying. For example, “black tar” heroin is common as is “brown sugar” or “white lady.” Other common nicknames for heroin include “boy,” “girl,” “smack,” “dope,” and “H” among others.
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Heroin Methods of Ingestion
There is more than one way to use heroin: smoking, snorting or sniffing, and injecting with a needle. Each of these methods of ingestion provide a heroin high. Intravenous injections provide an almost instant high, intramuscular injections take a few minutes longer and smoking and snorting take a little bit longer than that, but usually no longer than 15 minutes.
Who is using heroin in the United States? The truth is that heroin addicts can be found across age groups, gender lines, racial divides, cultures, and economic classes. Every year, more and more teenagers and adults report having used heroin at least once in the month prior to the study. Also, surveys of reasons for admission to emergency rooms across the country show that heroin is often a contributing factor in accidents and overdose.
Heroin overdose is rarely the immediate death caused from too large a dose of pure heroin, as is often portrayed on television. The process can be painstakingly slow, occurring over the course of a few hours as opposed to a few minutes. Symptoms include slowed, shallow breathing, discoloration of the tongue or lips and drowsiness. If these symptoms are noticed in time there is a greater chance of recovery if help is sought.
Heroin withdrawal can be experienced within six to eight hours of the last dose taken and peak on the third or fourth day. The peak of symptoms by no means is an end to withdrawal, as it sometimes lingers for weeks on end. Withdrawal symptoms mimic a severe case of the flu and include runny nose, tremors, chills, stomach cramps, vomiting, and panic.
Knowing more about heroin and its impact on one’s life is absolutely essential if we are to beat this dangerous drug, which has affected so many people throughout its long history. If a loved one is one of those people, getting them to a treatment center should be a priority. Any delay can have serious consequences.