Society today has been clouded and somewhat overtaken by social drugs. Wherever you may look, a drug is being used, whether it is more commonly a cigarette being smoked on the street, or the covert teens smoking marijuana in secluded areas. In any case, there is not one person who can say drug use is not prevalent, since society has made it clear through news, music and everyday life. However, there are certain drugs that seem to be worse than others, and society once again has taught us that through our laws and restrictions. The worse the drug, the more you pay for having it. Basically, drugs have become a part of our life, and you never know when they can land on your doorstep.
An illegal drug, which has taken firm ground in society, is heroin. Heroin is one of the most used hard drugs in society today. Even though it is illegal, surveys have proved that many people have done and are still doing heroin. The worst part is that heroin is classified as having the worst addiction and withdrawal symptoms than any other drug. Heroin is known as H or Brown, and is related to other drugs because of its elementary foundation.
Heroin is related to morphine and codeine, since all three are derived from the opium poppy plant. They are called opiates, and are found in the dried milk of opium poppy seeds. Morphine and codeine are both very effective painkillers and are used for medical uses, such as cough medicines and after surgery painkillers. However, these drugs can form a quick dependency in the people that use them, and therefore must be used with caution.
The opium poppy plant and its use date back as far as 6000-year-old Sumerian texts. The Sumerians are an ancient people, and referred to the poppy plant as the joy plant. In either the 7th or 8th centuries, it is believed that Arab traders brought opium to China, where it was used as medicine. At about the 17th century, it was realized that opium could be smoked. Later on m the Portuguese, then the British were supplying China with most of its opium. Britain would also sell opium to India to be smuggled into China, and in turn, the Chinese government would destroy the opium imports before it reached China. This little plant sparked two wars between China and Britain, and in conclusion, Britain received Hong Kong as compensation for the destroyed opium.
In the Victorian era, opium was taken in the form of a laudanum, which is opium dissolved in alcohol, and it was very popular. Heroin, a white powder, was created in 1874, and was sold as a safe substitute for morphine. However, it was discovered that heroin produced a quick dependency in people. Heroin and other opiates were made illegal in 1920 as part of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Still today, however, Heroin is illegally manufactured and imported, largely from the Indian sub-continent.
As well as killing pain, moderate doses of pure opioids produce a range of mild effects. They depress the activity of the nervous system, including such reflexes as coughing, breathing and heart rate. They also cause widening of the blood vessels, which gives a feeling of warmth and reduces bowel activity, which causes constipation.
Heroin itself can be taken in three ways, injecting a solution of heroin and water into your vein, snorting it, or inhaling it. A person will receive maximum effects if they inject it. Basically heroin makes people feel as if they are in a state of Euphoria for a small amount of time, and cause people to be drowsy warm and content, which kind of detaches you from pain.
After Heroin is injected or inhaled, it crosses the blood brain barrier, and once in the brain, it is converted to morphine and will bind with opioid receptors. This transferring is what gives the user their rush, and the more of the drug, the faster it binds and the stronger the rush. Heroin is particularly addictive because it enters the brain so fast. With heroin, the rush is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the extremities, which may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe itching.
Long-term use of heroin causes tolerance to develop so that in order to achieve the same degree of euphoria, larger and larger doses must be taken. When a person has been off the drug for some time their tolerance decreases and a common cause of death results from a user taking the same amount of drug used before they stopped or cut down. When high doses have been taken for several weeks, a sudden withdrawal causes symptoms of discomfort similar to flu. These include aches, sweating and chills, tremors, sneezing and yawning and muscular spasms, all or some of which usually end between 8 and 24 hours after the last dose of heroin.
Prolonged usage can cause physical damage to the body, although not necessarily from the drug itself. Repeated injections with dirty needles can result in diseases such as Hepatitis, AIDS and Tetanus, especially when sharing needles. Repeated sniffing of heroin damages the nose. Reduced appetite caused by Heroin use can lead to disease as a result of a poor diet and self-neglect. Because people become dependent, money problems can occur because of the cost of satisfying the next fix.
Also, the addiction itself can be a long-term effect. People will keep doing it just so their withdrawal symptoms will go away. Heroin becomes a physical dependency. Withdrawal may occur within a few hours after the last time the drug is taken. Symptoms of withdrawal include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, and leg movements. Major withdrawal symptoms are the highest between 24 and 48 hours after the last dose of heroin and calm down after about a week. However, some people have shown persistent withdrawal signs for many months.
There are ways in which a heroin addict can be helped. First of all, detoxification is very helpful. A heroin addict is given synthetic opiates to relieve withdrawal symptoms, and the person can be okay without the drug. Within detox, a person can talk to a counselor, so while their body is becoming physically better, psychologically they can be helped. Heroin addicts definitely need psychological help. Their minds tend to focus on getting more heroin and doing whatever they can to get it. This is so even if it means stealing or hurting friends and family.
In conclusion, heroin is a disgusting drug, which can harm you and take away important time of your life. It is easy to overdose, you mess with the way you think, and the way your nervous system works. Heroin is the most addictive drug out there because the symptoms you get when you dont have it are absolutely horrible. Synthetic opiates such as LAAM and methadone are drugs that can help a person get the physical experience, but still becoming free of the drug itself. The abuse of Heroin can destroy a persons life, their friendships, and their bodies. When someone is addicted to heroin, they not only hurt themselves, they hurt the people who love them.
Heroin Abuse and Addiction. www.NIDA.comOpiates/Heroin. www.druginformation.com
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