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Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Learn about the health effects of heroin and read the DrugFacts. A plain-language research summary about heroin, including basic facts such as methods of use, its effects on the brain Offers the latest scientific information on heroin use and its consequences as well as treatment options available for
Heroin is a very addictive drug made from morphine, a psychoactive mind-altering substance taken from the resin of the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. Heroin is part of a class of drugs called opioids. Other opioids include some prescription pain relievers, such as codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Heroin use and overdose deaths have dramatically increased over the last decade.
What you need to know about heroin
This increase is related to the growing of people misusing prescription opioid pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Some people who become addicted to those drugs switch to heroin because it produces similar effects but is cheaper and easier to get. In fact, most people who use heroin report they first misused prescription opioids, but it is a small percentage of people who switch to heroin.
The s of people misusing prescription drugs is so high, that even a small percentage translates to hundreds of thousands of heroin users. Maybe they were mistakenly told that only one use cannot lead to addiction. Both heroin and opioid pill use can lead to addiction and overdose. Heroin is mixed with water and injected with a needle.
Heroin addiction and abuse
It can also be sniffed, smoked, or snorted. To learn more about the different types of opioids, visit our Prescription Opioids Drug Facts. Relationship between nonmedical prescription-opioid use and heroin use.
The New England Journal of Medicine ; When heroin enters the brain, it attaches to molecules on cells known as opioid receptors. These receptors are located in many areas of the brain and body, especially areas involved in the perception of pain and pleasure, as well as a part of the brain that regulates breathing. Short-term effects of heroin include a rush of good feelings and clouded thinking. These effects can last for a few hours, and during this time people feel drowsy, and their heart rate and breathing slow down. When the drug All about herion off, people experience a depressed mood and often crave the drug to regain the good feelings.
Learn more about how the brain works and what happens when a person uses drugs. And, check out how the brain responds to natural rewards and to drugs. Opioid receptors are located in the brain, the brain stem, down the spinal cord, and in the lungs and intestines. Thus, using heroin can result in a wide variety of physical problems related to breathing and other basic life functions, some of which may be very serious. Here are some ways heroin affects the body:. In addition to the effects of the drug itself, heroin bought on the street often contains a mix of substances, including the dangerous opioid called fentanyl.
Drug dealers add fentanyl because it is cheap, and they can save money. Some of these substances can be toxic and can clog the blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidney, or brain. This can cause permanent damage to those organs. Also, sharing drug injection equipment or engaging in risky behaviors can increase the risk of being exposed to diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
Yes, because heroin can slow and even stop a person's breathing. This is called a fatal overdose. Deaths from drug overdoses increased from the early s throughfueled by increases in misuse of prescription opioids and, more recently, by a surge in heroin use. Nearly 15, people died from heroin overdoses in the latest year for which data is available.
The good news is that among young people ages 15 to 24, heroin overdoses decreased by more than 20 percent between and People who are showing symptoms of overdose need urgent medical help.
A drug called naloxone can be given to reverse the effects of heroin overdose and prevent death—but only if it is given in time. It's available in an easy-to-use nasal spray or autoinjector.
Naloxone is often carried by emergency first responders, including police officers and EMTs. In some states, doctors can now prescribe naloxone to people who use heroin or prescription opioids so they or their family members can have them available to use in the event of an overdose, without waiting for emergency personnel who may not arrive in time.
about how naloxone saves lives. Released Yes, heroin can be very addictive. Inaboutin the U. That means they had serious problems with the drug, including health issues, disability, and problems meeting responsibilities at work, school, or home.
Of the people with heroin use disorder inonly 1, were teens ages 12 to 17 andwere young adults ages 18 to Heroin enters the brain quickly, causing a fast, intense high. Using heroin repeatedly can cause people to develop tolerance to the drug. This means they need to take more and more of it to get the same effect.
Eventually they may need to keep taking the drug just to feel normal.
For those who use heroin over and over again, addiction is more likely. Once a person becomes addicted to heroin, seeking and using the drug often becomes the main goal guiding their daily behavior. When someone is addicted to heroin and stops using it, he or she may experience extremely uncomfortable and painful withdrawal symptoms, which is why it is so hard to quit. Those symptoms typically include:. Fortunately, treatment can help an addicted person stop using and stay off heroin.
Medicines, including buprenorphine and methadone, can help with cravings that occur after quitting, helping a person to take control of their health and their lives. There are also medicines being developed to help with the withdrawal process. The FDA approved lofexidine, a non-opioid medicine deed to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Rockville, MD, If a friend is using drugs, you might have to step away from the friendship for a while. It is important to protect your own mental health and not put yourself in situations where drugs are being used. If there had been a treatment that worked, Jacob would have used it. This lesson, provides scientific information about teen brain development and the effect of drugs and alcohol use on the brain. These community activities are deed to help students in grades 6 through 12 learn about the effects of drug use These school activities are deed to help students in grades 6 through 12 learn about the effects of drug use Content on this site is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA.
Department of Health and Human Services.
National Institutes of Health. Expand All What happens to your brain when you use heroin? Regular heroin use changes the functioning of the brain.
What happens All about herion your body when you use heroin? Short-Term Effects Opioid receptors are located in the brain, the brain stem, down the spinal cord, and in the lungs and intestines. Can you overdose or die if you use heroin?
Is heroin addictive? Those symptoms typically include: muscle and bone pain cold flashes with chills throwing up diarrhea trouble sleeping restlessness strong craving for the drug Fortunately, treatment can help an addicted person stop using and stay off heroin. What should I do if someone I know needs help? If you, or a friend, are in crisis and need to speak with someone now: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at TALK they don't just talk about suicide—they cover a lot of issues and will help put you in touch with someone close by If you want to help a friend, you can: Share resources from this site, including this.
Encourage your friend to speak with a trusted adult.
Where can I get more information? Related Articles Image. Waletzky Award If there had been a treatment that worked, Jacob would have used it. Resources for Educators Image. Drugs and the Teen Brain This lesson, provides scientific information about teen brain development and the effect of drugs and alcohol use on the brain.