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Heroin Overdose

A heroin overdose is the worst danger that is connected to the use of the drug, as it can potentially be fatal. The most substantial negative effect of heroin use is that using the drug can result in respiratory depression; additionally, if too high of a dose of this powerful opiate is ingested, breathing can stop all together, and the heroin user could potentially suffocate to death. Even chronic heroin addicts who have used this drug for many years can experience a heroin overdose when they use too much of the drug after a period of abstinence.

A heroin overdose can even occur when a person with a long history of heroin use has developed a high tolerance to the powerful opiate, even when they do not change their regular use of the drug. The reason why so many heroin users have the potential to experience a fatal heroin overdose is because there is absolutely no way to determine the exact content or purity level of the illicit drug.

Heroin overdose warning signs can easily be overlooked, as an observer may not realize that these symptoms are far more intense than the "normal" effects of the drug. The heroin user may normally experience symptoms such as slow breathing, dry mouth, lowering of their blood pressure, and a state of dreaminess. When an individual is in the throes of a heroin overdose, their breathing will become increasingly more difficult and then begin to decrease dramatically; additionally, there will be a weakening of the pulse in conjunction with the lowering of the blood pressure.

An observer of a heroin overdose may notice that the user's fingernails and lips will begin to turn blue. The heroin user may also begin to experience severe stomach cramps, when they are in the throes of a heroin overdose, and could also begin to experience hallucinations, disorientation, and possibly death if they are not treated immediately.

The most common cause of a heroin overdose is related to the adverse effects that occur when an user combines heroin with other types of central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. Heroin overdose deaths have commonly been reported to occur when an individual that is drinking alcohol ingests even the smallest dose of heroin. A person who uses heroin should never combine this powerful opiate with any type of alcoholic beverage; this is a fact that cannot possibly be overstated.

Another often deadly heroin drug combination is most commonly referred to as the "speedball"; this concoction represents the combination of heroin and cocaine. Speedballs have been reported to be extremely dangerous, but the harmful effects of this combination of drugs are primarily related to the negative side effects of the cocaine.

A heroin overdose can cause many long term health problems, such as chronic pulmonary disease, cardiovascular complications, and liver and kidney disease. Viruses and various other types of infections may take up permanent residence in the blood or in various different organs of the body, as a direct result of a heroin overdose.