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Heroin Information


Tolerance, Addiction, and Withdrawal

heroin kills

Heroin is usually injected, snorted or smoked. It is highly addictive. Heroin enters the brain rapidly but makes people think and react slowly, impairing their decision-making ability. It causes difficulty in remembering things.

Injecting the drug can create a risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis and other diseases caused by infected needles. These health problems can be passed on to sexual partners and newborns. Heroin is one of the three most frequently cited drugs in drug abuse deaths. Violence and crime are linked to its use.

Short-term Effects

Abusers experience clouded mental functioning, nausea and vomiting. Awareness of pain may be suppressed. Pregnant women can suffer spontaneous abortion. Cardiac functions slow down and breathing is severely slowed, sometimes to the point of death.

Long-term Effects

Scarred and/or collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels, heart valves, abscesses and other soft-tissue infections, and liver or kidney disease. Lung complications may result. Sharing of injection equipment or fluids may result in hepatitis B and C, HIV and other blood-borne viruses.

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal
  • dilated pupils
  • piloerection
         (goose bumps)
  • watery eyes
  • runny nose
  • yawning
  • loss of appetite
  • tremors
  • panic
  • chills
  • nausea
  • muscle cramps
  • insomnia
As withdrawal progresses, elevations in blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate and temperature occur. Symptoms of overdose -- which may result in death -- include shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions and coma.

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