Diacetylmorphine, commonly known as heroin, was initially synthesized in 1874, but not until 1897 did Felix Hoffman of the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company rediscover the substance while attempting to produce codeine out of morphine. Bayer used the name “Heroin” to convey the heroic feat that heroin can achieve by treating pain without the addictive consequences of morphine use. Heroin addiction side effects turned out to be the exact opposite of what was claimed, with heroin swiftly metabolizing into morphine.
Morphine itself is a synthesized version of opium, derived from the poppy plant, and heroin is a semi synthesized form of morphine. Classified as a Schedule I Narcotic by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), heroin use is not allowed under any circumstance, and has no recognized medical purpose.
Producing an initial euphoric high, followed by intense relaxation, heroin is designated as a downer drug and can be smoked, inhaled or injected. Some users have reported addiction after one single use, attesting to heroin’s powerful potential for addictive devastation.
Heroin in its purest form is white, with a bitter taste, and when mixed with other substances can turn into a brownish color. A third version is black tar heroin, a sticky black substance that is diluted and usually injected.
Heroin Addiction | Short & Long-term Side Effects
Heroin can never be understated, as they can completely change the behavioral pattern of users. The only remaining goal in their lives is how to obtain the next fix, with $300 to $500 a day habits common occurrences. In their minds, people become separated into two groups, the ones who share their company during use, and the ones who do not. Family, friends or jobs become a cloudy distant past as heroin users try to avoid the cruel consequences of withdrawal at all costs.
Dangerous and illegal behavior starts to become the norm rather than the exception and the initial stealing from home can easily spill into society in general. Normal brain functions are thoroughly modified after prolonged use of this immediately addictive drug as users do not even become aware that they are now addicts of the worst form. The horrible thing about heroin addiction and abuse is that the “high” only lasts for 3-4 hours, and then the cycle starts anew.
Common Short-Term Heroin Side Effects:
Alternating states of alertness and drowsiness
Common Long-Term Heroin Side Effects:
Hallucinations, mood swings or mental instability
Bacteria and heart valve infections
HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or C infections due to sharing of drug paraphernalia
Heroin | Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms of heroin use are excruciating and can manifest themselves just within a few hours of heroin use, albeit not life threatening. These intense feelings of discomfort are to be absolutely avoided by heroin abusers.
Since the concentration of heroin is thoroughly unknown to users, overdosing is an enormous risk at every instance of use, but sadly also completely ignored. The frightening addictive potential of heroin is further evidenced by babies born from heroin using mothers who are already addicted to the drug and do not get a chance to lead a normal life.
Of all the side effects, addiction is by far the most heart wrenching and cannot be cured without professional help. Eventually, the addiction leads too in all likelihood incarceration, mental institutions or worse, death. The only avenue of escape is medical intervention and total abandonment of the drug.
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