Constellations Recovery | Understanding Heroin Addiction
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Understanding Heroin Addiction

Heroin Addiction

23 Nov Understanding Heroin Addiction

Heroin, commonly known as smack, brown, junk, etc. is an opioid drug synthesized from morphine, extracted from the opium poppy plant. Opium was originally used to treat sleeplessness, and pain. Diamorphine (Medical Heroin), prepared from morphine is 2-3 times more potent and faster in its onset of action. It is prescribed as an analgesic, cough suppressant, and antidiarrhoeal. The drug has been illegal in the USA since 1924.

Heroin has earned its reputation as one of the most addictive, enthralling, and deadliest drugs on the planet that causes sensations ranging from stillness and tiredness to states of high and euphoria. It sedates the central nervous system and has direct impact on critical functions of the body including respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Heroin overdose can leads to unconsciousness, coma, and even death.

Heroin is mostly smoked or injected for faster effect, but it (pure form) can also be inhaled which produces an instant high. All three routes deliver the drug to the brain very quickly, which contributes to a high risk of addiction. Oral ingestion does not usually produce a rush, but use of heroin in suppository form may have some intense euphoric effects.

How to identify a heroin addict?

Heroin intake produces a “downer” effect which causes a feeling of euphoria. It blocks the ability of neurons in the brain to detect pain. Some of the visible symptoms of a Heroin addict are:

  • Sudden changes in behavior or actions
  • Dry Mouth (Always thirsty)
  • Disorientation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constricted Pupils
  • Persistent hacking cough
  • Shivering
  • Nosebleeds


The above signs don’t necessarily mean that the person is a Heroin abuser. More definitive warning signs of Heroin abuse include the stuff that is used to prepare, inject or consume Heroin:

  • Aluminum foils or gum wrappers with marks of burn.
  • Plastic bags with white powdery residue
  • Burned silver spoons
  • Needles or syringes not used for other medical purposes
  • Straws with burn marks
  • Razor blades, credit cards and IDs with a powder residue on them
  • Rolled up dollars or papers, etc.


Behavioral symptoms of Heroin abuse and addiction include:

  • Lack of interest in hobbies.
  • Decreasing attention to physical appearance or hygiene.
  • Wearing long sleeve shirts even in warm weather.
  • Unexplained absence of valuables, or stealing money.
  • Aggressive behavior towards loved ones.
  • Decrease in performance in school or office, loss of job.
  • Avoiding eye contact.


The physical side effects of Heroin abuse:

Many people find heroin very unpleasant and never take it again, while some get addicted. Tolerance to heroin increases the quantity and frequency of Heroin consumption. Increased tolerance to heroin results in various physical side effects such as vomiting, breathing suppression, and cough which increases the possibility of choking. It also reduces the sex drive and ability to have an orgasm.

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Needle marks on arms
  • Loss of menstrual cycle in women.
  • Constipation
  • Infections at injection sites.


Signs of overdosing on Heroin include slow and shallow breathing, muscle spasms, hypotension, convulsions, coma, and death. Intravenous heroin usage can result in spread of hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other medical complications.

Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin withdrawals are extremely painful. The fear of facing a withdrawal causes people to continue abusing heroin. It is one of the major reasons why people are unable to quit heroin once they get addicted. However, if a person is mentally strong and keeps themselves determined for sobriety then he/she can pass through the withdrawal period and begin to get better. A professional treatment plan is highly recommended for people trying to quit heroin. Here are some of the withdrawal symptoms of heroin:

  • Cold sweats
  • Difficulty in developing a normal sleeping pattern.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Unstable moods
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Painful muscle cramps


Heroin addiction going rampant in the US:

The impact of Heroin addiction can be felt all across the US. Heroin has been acknowledged as one of the drugs with exceeding abuse concerns in local regions of the US.

Heroin use has increased across the United States among men and women in all age groups and at all income levels. The death rate of heroin overdose nearly quadrupled in a decade from 2002 to 2013. In year 2013, more than 8,200 people died due to Heroin overdose.

Heroin Addiction

  • Heroin consumption doubled in the adults of age 18-25 in the past decade.
  • 9 in 10 heroin addicts have used one other drug too.
  • People addicted to alcohol and marijuana have a high risk of heroin addiction.


Sober living for Heroin Addiction


Treatments including medications and behavioral therapies have been found extremely effective. Recovering from heroin dependence is extremely difficult, but with the right support of sober living facilities and their wide range of services, long-term sobriety is possible.

Remember, drugs are a waste of time, money and life! They have the ability to destroy everything that you hold dear in your life. Entering a rehab is the best possible way to ensure a sober life. To maintain long-term sobriety and reduce the risk of relapse, you can enroll into any of the sober living NY homes and programs available in the US.

Overcome your heroin addiction once for all and start a new life of sobriety!