People that get addicted to these drugs may eventually turn to heroin because the street drug tends to be cheaper and easier to get. Changes to guidelines in prescriptions for opioids have been recommended as a means to curb heroin use as well.

Heroin is derived from the seeds of the Asian poppy plant. It typically comes in a white or brown powder, but it may also be sold as a sticky brown substance known as black tar heroin. Heroin can be snorted, smoked or injected, with all three methods delivering a fast, intense rush known as a “high.” Heroin specifically affects the areas of the brain that regulate reward and pain, producing a surge of pleasurable feelings followed by feelings of sedation or relaxation.

Heroin Effects

Heroin has a number of short-term effects on the body, including slower, shallow breathing and foggy thinking. The user may experience relief from pain, but other effects include nausea and vomiting. The drug also makes the skin itch and some users experience skin rashes if they use the drug over time.
Heroin is an extremely destructive drug if it is used repeatedly. In addition to its addictive tendencies, heroin can cause respiratory problems, muscle weakness and even partial paralysis. Sexual dysfunction is not uncommon with heroin use with long-term impotence possible with male users. The drug also leads to gum damage and bad teeth, as well as pustules on the face. Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss and malnutrition. Heroin use can also make a person depressed, anxious and introverted.

Are You Addicted?

Signs of heroin addiction might include:

  • Scratching and skin infections
  • Weight loss and malnutrition from decreased appetite
  • Neglecting grooming and hygiene
  • Slower breathing and tendency to nod off
  • Withdrawal symptoms if the drug is stopped
  • More time spend getting, using and recovery from heroin
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and activities
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