A derivative of morphine, heroin is a very powerful painkiller. Its painkilling properties stem from the fact that it mimics endorphins, the natural pain-killing substances produced by the body. As heroin binds rapidly with endorphin receptors, the painkilling effect is extended and magnified, and produces a pleasurable sensation called a “rush”. Heroin users also report that taking heroin gives them not only a warm feeling, but a very distinct sense of well-being as well. This makes heroin one of the most pleasurable drugs in the world. Heroin, however, is also one of the world’s most dangerous illicit drugs. Highly addictive, heroin wreaks havoc on the human body and mind, and has claimed many lives around the world.
Short Term Effects of Heroin Use
Generally, the effects of using heroin set in rapidly, but it all depends on the method of delivery. Snorting or smoking heroin typically requires 10 to 15 minutes for the drug’s full effects to be felt. Injecting heroin is a much faster method of ingesting heroin. It takes 5 to 8 minutes for an intra-muscular heroin injection to set in, while it takes all of 7 to 8 seconds for an intravenous injection to take effect. For most first time users, nausea and vomiting is common.
For those smoking or shooting heroin, a short period of intense pleasure called a "rush" sets in, followed by a sense of contentment and a state of physical relaxation, both of which are indicators of a heroin high. This “high” usually lasts three to four hours. Aside from the usual euphoria that accompanies heroin use, the user also alternates between alertness and drowsiness. There is a certain degree of dryness in their mouth, and their skin appears flushed and feels warm. Heroin also slows their breathing down, and their muscles feel weak. In this state, any problems or issues the user has in their life seem to melt away.
As the immediate effects of heroin slowly dissipate, the user might feel start feeling irritable. Depression from heroin use is also quite common. For many users, the only way to get rid of these non-pleasurable sensations and regain the “high” is to start doing heroin again. It doesn’t take much for a heroin user to become a full blown heroin addict, especially when the user develops a tolerance to the drug and starts to take more in order to get that same high.
Long Term Effects of Heroin
Heroin addiction has its price, and that price if pretty steep. There are so many long term physical effects of heroin use. For one, Constant heroin use causes the brain to reduce or even stop producing its own endorphins. When this is the case, the addict’s body becomes barely capable of managing small amounts of pain or discomfort. This inability is especially magnified in the early stages of heroin withdrawal, making early recovery or heroin detox a particularly difficult exercise. Once heroin detoxification is done, the brain usually starts producing endorphins again. However, the damaging effects of heroin on the brain could take years to recover from.
Its could also lead to liver disease, heart ailments, blood pressure issues, pulmonary problems, weight loss and collapsed veins. The risk of infection is also very high, especially those who inject heroin with shared needles. A number of people who have AIDS and hepatitis C contracted their diseases this way.
The long term psychological effects of heroin use are also great. It is very common for heroin addicts to find it hard to concentrate, learn anything new, or even organize a clear thought. Personal relationships also take a beating due to heroin, as heroin addicts tend to become apathetic and unmindful of the consequences of their addiction to heroin. Worst of all, heroin triggers highly irresponsible and self-destructive behavior in constant users, especially when they resort to criminal acts to get their next heroin fix.