Heroin Drug Rehab Help-Line

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Heroin Side Effects

Heroin is a highly addictive opiate drug that can cause serious side effects when abused. The most obvious and damaging side effect of heroin abuse is becoming addicted to the drug. Heroin addiction can devastate an individual's life and is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use. The side effect of regular heroin abuse is tolerance to the drug as well as extreme physical dependence. As with any drug, especially opiates, heroin addicts gradually spend more and more time and energy seeking out and using the drug. Once and individual is addicted to heroin, their primary purpose in life becomes using it at all costs.

The short-term side effects of heroin use include but are not limited to:

  • Clouded mental functioning
  • Depressed respiration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rush
  • Spontaneous abortion
  • Suppression of pain
  • The long term side effects of heroin use and addiction include but are not limited to:
  • Abscesses
  • Addiction
  • Arthritis and other rheumatologic problems
  • Bacterial infections
  • Collapsed veins
  • Infection of heart lining and valves
  • Infectious diseases, for example, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C
  • Physical side effects of heroin use:

Heroin is a central nervous system depressant, which means it slows down this system in the body. This can lead to slow heart rate and extremely low blood pressure. Respiratory functions can also be affected and impaired significantly, and prolonged use of heroin can lead to heart and or lung failure. Heroin creates lowered immunity, making the body susceptible to illness. Liver disease and pneumonia just a couple of examples of the problems that can result from side effects of heroin abuse on the user's lowered immune system.

Indirect side effects of heroin abuse:

The repeated use of needles can cause serious and devastating side effects and carries heavy consequences. The fastest way to experience a "rush" is to inject the heroin directly into the blood stream, so needle use is very common amongst heroin users. However, the repeated use of needles can have very negative consequences such as collapsed veins. Injecting heroin into the same spot continuously can result in collapsed veins. Heroin users will then move on to another vein and go through the same process. Some heroin addicts have collapsed several veins as they move on to "usable" access points for needles.

Many heroin users actually use the drug in groups, often even at the dealer's residence or place of business. This results in shared needles which puts heroin users at risk of infectious diseases. Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS can be contracted in this way, diseases that, while they are often "managed", cannot be cured.

Heroin side effects can also be experienced not because of the drug itself but because of additives and impurities which may have been added to the drug. Heroin dealers sometimes mix heroin with other substances to stretch supply and make more money. This can be very dangerous as some of these additives do not dissolve as well as heroin does, which can lead to blood vessel clogging. This can result in side effects of heroin abuse like heart, lung and kidney failure.