Heroin is a dangerous drug that can be taken either intravenously, by snorting or by smoking. As the drug enters the brain, it is then converted to morphine and then bonds with brain receptors called opioids, which are primarily responsible for the body’s sense of reward and pain. The receptors also play important processes in the body like breathing, blood pressure, and arousal. Taking heroin during pregnancy is extremely dangerous as it could result in premature birth, breathing problems for the baby, and poor health of the child.
Heroin abuse is often associated with various health problems such as overdosing, miscarriages, HIV and AIDS, and hepatitis. Users are often at risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases through sharing and recycling of syringes that have been used by other infected addicts.
Heroin often has immediate effects after a single dose and dissipates after a few minutes to few hours. After the initial dose, there is a surge of euphoria which is often followed by a warming sensation around the body. There is a certain “rushing” effect that overtakes the body, making the addict feel at ease. There is also suppression of pain, clouded mental functioning, and depressed respiration.
Extended use of heroin results in many dangerous illnesses. The addict may develop an increasing tolerance to heroin and may feel the need to match every time the same level of pleasure. Using heroin, especially intravenously, may result in collapsed veins, infections in the linings of the heart and valves, cellulitis, liver disease and abscesses. There is also a risk of pulmonary complications such as pneumonia and may contribute to a user’s overall poor health. Other long-term effects include bacterial infections, arthritis, and other rheumatologic problems.