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Heroin Effects Essay

1184 words - 5 pages

Most people do not know much about heroin. According to a statement made by Alan I. Leshner Director of The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the congressional testimony on November 15, 1999, there are over 810, 000 people addicted to Heroin in the United states (National Institutes of Health). For that reason, it is of much importance for people to learn more about heroin, the different ways it is used, its effects, and the way addiction is treated. Heroin is illegal, extremely addictive, and the most commonly abused drug in the United States. Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of a variety of poppy plants (NIDA 1). Heroin is usually sold as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, better known as "black tar" on the streets (NIDA 1).Despite the fact that pure heroin is becoming more popular among heroin users, most of the heroin sold on the streets is usually "cut" with other drugs or substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk or quinine and other poisons (NIDA 1). People who abuse heroin are at risk of overdosing or death every time they administer the drug, because they are not aware of the drug's actual strength nor its true contents (NIDA 1). "The health risks associated with both injecting and noninjecting heroin use are also substantial" (Leshner, 1). Heroin puts its abusers at risk of becoming infected with the HIV virus because of the high risk sexual activity (Leshner, 1), in addition to other diseases that can be transmitted through sharing needles or other injection equipment (NIDA 1). Different ways of administering this illegal substance include, injecting, snorting, or smoking it. A heroin user can inject up to four times a day.There are two ways of injecting heroin, intravenous and intramuscular. The most rapid form is intravenous, where heroin enters right through the vein and in just 7 to 8 seconds gives the addict an excessive feeling of happiness (NIDA 2). While with intramuscular injection heroin enters the body through muscle, producing a relatively slow onset of euphoria taking 5 to 8 minutes to make effect (NIDA 2). When heroin is sniffed or smoked, the first feeling of its effects are usually felt within 10 to 15 minutes. Even though smoking or sniffing does not give addicts a rush as quickly as intravenous injection, all three forms of heroin administration are addictive (NIDA 2). Injection still is the primary method used among heroin addicts, yet researchers have noticed a change in the way heroin is used, from injection to sniffing and finally smoking (NIDA 2). In fact, sniffing or snorting heroin is now the most commonly reported method of administering heroin among users that were admitted for treatment in Newark, Chicago, and New York (NIDA 2). Like any other drug heroin also has imminent effects. After its abusers take the drug either by injection or inhalation, heroin crosses the...

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