Health Complications From Heroin Abuse

When most people picture a heroin abuser, they usually picture a skinny, dirty, homeless guy in an ally asking for money or something along those lines, but this is far from reality. A heroin abuser can be anyone. It can be a young good-looking college student to a white-collar businessman and everything in between. Heroin does not discriminate.

Some heroin abusers may have started using prescribed painkillers given to them by a doctor for surgery or some other hospitalization. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), Prescription opioid pain medicines such as OxyContin® and Vicodin® have effects similar to heroin. Research suggests that the misuse of these drugs may open the door to heroin use. Data from 2011 showed that an estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids switch to heroin and about 80 percent of people who used heroin first misused prescription opioids. More recent data suggest that heroin is frequently the first opioid people use. In a study of those entering treatment for opioid use disorder, approximately one-third reported heroin as the first opioid they used regularly to get high.

Health Complications From Heroin Abuse

Where Does Heroin Come From?

Heroin is a natural drug that comes from morphine that is in the poppy plant that is grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance is known as black tar heroin. Other common names for heroin include big H, horse, hell dust, and smack. Impure heroin is usually dissolved, diluted, and injected into veins, muscles, or under the skin.

Heroin users inject, sniff, snort, or smoke heroin. Some heroin users mix heroin with crack cocaine, called speedballing. After the heroin user uses they usually feel a “rush” or a feeling of euphoria. Along with the “high”, the short-term effects follow such as:

  • dry mouth
  • warm flushing of the skin
  • heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • nausea and vomiting
  • severe itching
  • clouded mental functioning
  • “nodding out” a back-and-forth state of being conscious and semiconscious

Health Complications From Heroin Abuse

Repeated use of heroin can cause major health complications such as insomnia, collapsed veins for people who inject the drug, damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus), constipation and stomach cramping, liver and kidney disease, lung complications, including pneumonia, mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder, sexual dysfunction for men, irregular menstrual cycles for women and studies have shown it can even cause permanent brain damage by causing some deterioration of the brain’s white matter. This damage may affect decision-making abilities, the ability to regulate behavior, and responses to stressful situations.

Heroin does damage to your mind and body no matter how you ingest it but the health complications are even more severe for those who inject heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), states that medical consequences of chronic injection use include scarred and/or collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses (boils), and other soft-tissue infections. Many of the additives in street heroin may include substances that do not readily dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs, causing permanent damage, causing permanent damage. Immune reactions to these or other contaminants can cause arthritis or other rheumatologic problems.

Also, sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from drug use can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and a host of other blood-borne viruses, which drug users can then pass on to their sexual partners and children.

Get the Help You Need

At Allure Detox we can help you kick heroin once and for all with one of the most significant advances in the detox field has been the use of something called Medication Assisted Treatment or MAT. MAT is the use of prescription drugs to treat addiction. This form of treatment is one of the chief weapons in Allure’s heroin detox arsenal.

Whatever the case, patients finish heroin detox at Allure prepared for a life of recovery. Along with the compassionate expertise of our staff, MATs make the detox process easier and more comfortable than it’s ever been. Remember that no one has to stay addicted. Let Allure Detox get your life back on track.