Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug that is derived from morphine, a naturally occurring substance found in poppy plants. While morphine is commonly found in medical settings, heroin is not used for legitimate medical purposes, rather it is used recreationally. There are a variety of methods by which one may ingest the Heroin drug, and these include snorting, injecting, and smoking it. Whatever means the user employs to ingest the actual drug, the body will proceed to metabolize the heroin back into morphine.

The recreational users will typically develop a dependency to heroin owing to its euphoric properties. Users will also enter semi-sleep states known as “nodding” off after high doses of the drug. This period is when the danger of death is greatest in Heroin users as a commons side effect of Heroin is nausea and vomiting. Whilst passed out or “nodding” the user runs the risk of expelling vomit and, in effect, choking on their puke.

There is a strong relationship between heroin use and prior prescription drug abuse, but when viewed in context these findings are not as startling as they appear on the surface, although they are trouble nonetheless. 80% of United States citizens abusing Heroin will have begun with prescription drugs. However, there is a silver lining. Among those who have misused prescription medication, a mere 4% will go on to abuse heroin. While having used and abused prescription drugs are strong pull factors for later substance abuse, the findings show that the factors that propel an individual towards further substance abuse and eventually heroin are more nuanced and complicated than the simple narrative we have all heard.

There are numerous health risks that arise from using this drug, both short term and long term. In the short term, a user may experience some combination of dry mouth, flushed skin, impaired mental functioning, “nodding” (passing between waking and a semi-conscious state). In the long term a user can expect collapsed veins, constipation and stomach cramping, live and kidney complications, and pneumonia. These are only the most prominent, there are a great many other possible kinds of complications that may arise from the chronic abuse of this drug.

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