It is a highly addictive illegal drug. Just like opium and morphine it is made from the resin of poppy plants. Mostly it is injected, which increases the danger because of infection using shared needles. Originally it was manufactured by the same manufacturers of aspirin, and strangely enough it was used as a treatment for tuberculosis and also a remedy for morphine addiction! What comes around goes around, and we are now using methadone which is a narcotic, to satisfy the needs of these addicts. I’ll talk more about the effect of needle parks in the future communication. Suffice it to say that methadone addiction is even more addictive than heroin!

Thirty years ago in the mortality rate of heroin addicts was estimated to be twenty times greater than the rest of the population. Frequently heroin is diluted for by coloring agents sugar, caffeine, and other substances. It can be cut with strychnine or other poisons. Frequently the injection is contaminated by insoluble substances which can be transported to major organs and resulting in either disability or death. Overdose is extremely common. The results of its actions are  similar to all the other drugs and we have been discussing in that it affects the human brain. There are many names for heroin as there are for many other drugs and  the most significant one in my opinion is HELL DUST! The tragic part of this is that the users know how dangerous it can be !

“From the day I started using it I never stopped. Within one week I gone from snorting it to shooting it. Within one month I was addicted and usin ALL of my money to get it. I sold everything of value that I owned and eventually everything that my mother owned. Eventually I lost everything in one year. I was living on the streets and I lied, I stole, and I cheated. I was raped, and beaten, mugged, robbed, arrested homeless, sick and desperate. I knew that death was imminent unless I stopped. I knew that death was better than the life as a junkie”.

That is the statement from a patient after she recovered in the intensive care unit on our hospital. As far as I know she is now free of drugs.

In 2015 is estimated that 13.5 million people in the world take opioids including 10 million who use heroin.

Most of the drugs come from Afghanistan and the export value is worth $4 billion. In our country of Canada is estimated that in 2015 there are 100,000 heroin addicts. There is some evidence that heroin  is being replaced by nonmedical use of prescription opioids. According to a European study in 2014, four out of every five drug-related deaths were related to opiates, mostly heroin. In the United States 20% of admissions for drug and alcohol use is now been reported.

Why do people use these drugs? The initial effects of surge the so-called “rush” accompanied by vasodilatation which involves a warm feeling and a dry mouth, and frequently can include vomiting abdominal pain and itch. Once these initial effects fade, the user will become drowsy for several hours and body functions such as breathing and heart beat slow down. There’s something wrong if this is considered to be a RECREATION!!

In those that are addicted the effects of the drug lead to craving more drug, more fixes and if they try to stop,they develop severe withdrawal symptoms including physical and mental symptoms which are not relieved unless more drug is used. Addiction is very common and occurs very rapidly. Eventually many of them go into a coma and die.

There are many long-term effects of these drugs given intravenously. This includes heart valve  damage, arthritis, AIDS due to mutual sharing, and hepatitis C. There are numerous other long-term effects virtually effecting every organ of the body from teeth to depression ,partial paralysis, and menstrual  disturbances in women. I’m sure most of you have seen someone who has the so-called heroin look. Blank expression, waxy complexion, dark circles under the eyes, excessive weight loss, and believe it or not  this is considered to be” chic”!

This is hard to believe but some fashion designers, photographers and advertising people have portraying heroin use in magazines and music videos as fashionable and desirable. Apparently David Sorrenti, a famous photographer in the fashion industry reportedly died at age 20, from a heroin overdose.

It is now estimated that 40% of all teens will have tried marijuana. Many later on moved to addictive substances otherwise. Long-term studies of high school students show that few young people use other drugs without first having tried marijuana. Once a person can no longer get the initial rush that he seeks or she seeks, they begin to increase drug consumption or look for something stronger.

According to the United Nations office on drugs and crime, in 2010, 16 million people in the world used opiates, morphine, and heroin and synthetic opiates.

With all this information it is interesting and unbelievable to see that between 1995 and 2010 the number of teenagers in America aged 12 to 17 used heroin at some point in our lives and this has increased by 300% in the past 5 years!

Here is a tragic story that has been repeated far too many times.”My sister at the age of 14 was smoking pot. When she was 15 she started hanging around with a boy who recommended better  highs than pot. He gave her heroin. She was expelled from her art school only a couple of months after she started. The age of 22 she called me and said she was in a halfway house. She had stayed clean and then she relapsed. Her addiction was a fight for her life every day and she lost. One morning my phone rang and my father was on the line and they say that my sister was dead.” You don’t read about this kind of thing in the newspapers, which is unfortunate because it should be publicized daily.

As to the question why they started using drugs, over 50% replied that it was due to pressure from their friends. They wanted to be cool and popular. The dealers know this. So you should tell your children if you have any, dealers will approach them as a friend and offer them to ” help you out” or something that will “bring you up”. “It will help you”be cool”. Of course the drug dealers don’t care if the drugs ruin your life as long as they get paid.

All they care about is money and you have to get the facts about all drugs and make your own decision.


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