Heroin A Long Dark Path Essay

1874 words - 7 pages

An introduction to Heroin- The use of hard drugs in America is on a steady rise. Heroin is one of the biggest reasons for this. Heroin is one of the most dangerous highly addictive drugs on the black market today. A board member on the National Institute of Health estimated that there are currently about 600,000 heroin addicts in the U.S. alone. Only an estimated 115,000 thousand of those addicts have been admitted into a treatment program. As the demand grows greater for this substance, the purity gets greater, the market gets bigger and the problem gets worse.Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. It is both the most abused and the most rapidly growing drug in the opiate family. It is typically sold as a white or brownish powder. There is also a form that is black and sticky known on the streets as ?black tar heroin?. Opiates are drugs that are derived from a naturally occurring substance found in the poppy plant. Although the purity of the heroin that reaches the streets is becoming greater, most street heroin is cut or diluted. Usually this is done with another drug, or a substance such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Street heroin can also be cut with strychnine or other poisons. The reason heroin is one of the most deadly drugs is because there are varying rates at which the drug is diluted. Therefore a user never knows exactly how pure the drug is, hence, they do not know how much of the drug they should take, often leading to an overdose. Like alcohol, heroin is a depressant that slows down all the body functions. But heroin differs from alcohol in two very significant ways. It does not destroy body organs, like the liver or kidney, the way alcohol does. That is why heroin dependency can last for years. Second, an abuser usually does not die from the symptoms experienced from the withdrawal although it may often feel like the user?s body is being torn from the inside out. This is so unpleasant it drives many addicts back for another hit. The deaths associated with heroin are from overdosing rather than withdrawal. These so-called good differences are now being peddled to a new generation that has been bombarded with the negative effects of other addictive drugs like alcohol and cocaine.There are three common ways in which to take the drug. The most common form is intravenously through a needle. You can also sniff the powder form, or smoke it. Because needles are often the most popular way to take the drug, making needle sharing a very common practice. This leaves heroin users with a high risk of catching HIV, hepatitis, or a number of other diseases. The National Institute of Health released data, which said that up to 50 percent of all heroin users eventually contract HIV. These startling numbers have pushed some city?s to starting programs that provide free needles for anyone that wants them, in theory cutting down on needle sharing. These programs are in huge debate among congress. One side says that the needle...

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