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ABOUT US is a not-for-profit resource for the community, connecting people to addiction treatment and education resources. You can find information on addiction and treatment as well as detailed information on treatment centers nationwide. Our main goal is to provide a comprehensive resource for individuals who are seeking treatment regardless of their situation.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is among the most addictive of all opioid drugs. If you are struggling with an opioid use disorder involving other opioids like prescription medications, there is a high risk that you could start abusing this drug. This is because it is often cheaper and more widely available.

Over time, your addiction could turn out to be one of the most serious medical conditions you have ever experienced. This is because repeated use of this drug could change the way your brain works. These changes will cause impaired reasoning, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms. It is for this reason that you should seek addiction treatment services. Read on to find out more:

About Heroin

Heroin is classified as an opioid drug. It is typically created from morphine, which in turn is derived from the opium poppy plant. If you have been abusing this drug, you would typically have been doing so through smoking, snorting, sniffing, or injecting it directly into your blood stream.

Over time, heroin abuse could give rise to the development of an opioid use disorder. This disorder could be accompanied by behavioral and psychological changes - most of which are adverse.

The DEA - the Drug Enforcement Administration - classified heroin as a schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act passed by the federal government. This effectively means that it does not come with any medical uses but still has a high risk of substance abuse and addiction.

Other Names for Heroin

There are many names by which heroin is known. Most of these street names are used by those who take and sell the drug to avoid detection by law enforcement officials and other authorities. Examples of these street names include:

  • Big H
  • Boy
  • Brown crystal
  • Brown Sugar
  • Chiba
  • China White
  • Dope
  • H
  • He
  • Hell dust
  • Horse
  • Junk
  • Mexican brown
  • Mexican mud
  • Mud
  • Skunk
  • Smack
  • Snow
  • Snowball
  • Tar
  • Thunder
  • White
  • White boy
  • White girl
  • White horse
  • White lady
  • White nurse
  • White stuff
  • Black tar
  • Black pearl
  • Chiva
  • Mexican black tar
  • Mexican tar
  • Negra
  • Cheese
  • H-bomb
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Bars
  • Belushi
  • Bombita
  • Boy-girl
  • He-she
  • Snowball
  • Chocolate rock
  • Dragon rock
  • Moon rock

There are also other names that relate to the use and abuse of this drug. These names include:

  • Channel swimmer
  • Chasing the dragon
  • Daytime and evening
  • Dip and dab
  • Give wings
  • Jolly pop
  • Paper boy

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

Continued heroin abuse can cause you to experience a shift in your brain. This means that you will eventually get to a point where you crave the drug so much that you start abandoning your former interests and any other part of your life. Over time, heroin use could be marked by the following signs and symptoms of addiction:

  • Agitation
  • Arguing with your friends, family, and co-workers
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Avoiding loved ones
  • Becoming domestically violent
  • Borrowing money to afford the drug
  • Cashing out accounts and savings to afford heroin
  • Changes in appearance
  • Changes in behavior, including aggression and sudden secrecy
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Chest pain
  • Clouded mental functioning
  • Constipation
  • Constricted pupils
  • Contracting other health concerns, like HIV and hepatitis b and c in the course of intravenous heroin use
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Decreased interest in the activities that you once used to enjoy
  • Depression
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Engaging in dangerous or risky behavior
  • Euphoria
  • Face flushing
  • Faking medical emergencies to get a prescription for other opioids
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling light headed
  • Financial problems
  • Forgetting important responsibilities
  • Frequent legal troubles
  • Getting to a point where you are no longer able to pay for your mortgage and rent, leading to foreclosures and evictions
  • Going bankrupt
  • Having heroin paraphernalia like shoelaces, rubber hosing, bandanas, cotton balls, spoons with burn marks and bent handles, - lighters, candles, black smudges on the clothes, bloody tissues, and small orange caps
  • Headaches
  • Hives
  • Inability to breathe
  • Inability to swallow
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lack of motivation
  • Losing interest in your hobbies and passions
  • Losing your job due to poor performance as a result of heroin abuse
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lying to your loved ones so that they do not discover that you have been abusing the drug
  • Memory problems
  • Money issues
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Needle marks (if you have been injecting the drug)
  • Nodding between consciousness and semior un-consciousness
  • Nose sores (if you have been snorting the drug)
  • Pain suppression
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Problems at work or school
  • Rash
  • Reduced sense of pain
  • Runny nose
  • Secretive behavior
  • Seizures
  • Shallow breathing
  • Skin flushing
  • Sleeping too little
  • Sleeping too much
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Slurred speech
  • Social isolation
  • Socializing with new drug using friends
  • Stealing money to afford the drug
  • Sweating
  • Swollen face, throat, tongue, feet, and hands
  • Trouble managing your emotions
  • Unexpected mood changes
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Withdrawing from your friends and family

Short and Long-Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

Continued heroin abuse can lead to a wide variety of both short and long term effects. Although some of these effects are pleasurable - and they are the reason why this drug is so addictive - the large majority tend to be negative. They include:

a) Short Term Effects

  • Clumsiness
  • Constricted pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Impaired mental functioning
  • Itching
  • Slow, slurred, or incoherent speech
  • Vomiting

b) Long Term Effects

  • A respiratory wheeze
  • Abscesses
  • Addiction
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Arthritis
  • Bacterial infections particularly in the heart valves and lining
  • Boils
  • Collapsed veins, particularly if you have been abusing heroin intravenously
  • Complications due to lung damage, such as pneumonia
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluctuating moods
  • Frequent sniffing
  • Infection of heart valves and the lining of the heart
  • Infectious disease such as HIV and hepatitis B and C as a result of taking the drug intravenously
  • Irregular menstrual cycles (among women)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lung disease
  • Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Nausea
  • Nose damage, including destroyed mucosal tissues within the nose as well as and perforations in your nasal septum due to snorting the drug
  • Nosebleeds
  • Reproductive problems
  • Rheumatologic issues
  • Scabs and cuts due to picking at your itchy skin
  • Sexual dysfunction (in men)
  • Soft-tissue infections
  • Sores on lips and nostrils
  • Stomach cramps
  • Weight loss

Heroin Overdose

One of the most significant threats to your health and life, however, are linked to a heroin overdose. This is because you could potentially suffer death due to this type of drug overdose that was responsible for more than 13,000 deaths in 2016 alone in the United States.

When you suffer a heroin overdose, you should look out for the following signs and symptoms:

  • A discolored tongue
  • A weak pulse
  • Blue tint to the lips, nails, or skin
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Coma
  • Delirium
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Extremely low blood pressure
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slow breathing
  • Small pupils
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Weak breathing
  • Weak pulse

If you suspect that you - or someone else - could be overdosing on this drug, you should call 911 as soon as possible. You should not fear legal repercussions because most states have Good Samaritan Laws than will protect you from being prosecuted for abusing this drug.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are addicted to heroin and you suddenly stop abusing it - or significantly reduce your typical dose of the drug - you could suffer dose sickness or withdrawal symptoms that could include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goose bumps
  • Irritability
  • Muscle ache
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Sleep problems
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Yawning

You can only overcome these heroin withdrawal symptoms after going through a medically supervised detox process that manages these symptoms and any other drug cravings that you may be experiencing.

The Best Options for Heroin Addiction Treatment

There are many reasons why you may have started abusing heroin but they are all similar in the sense that they could lead to addiction. The only way to overcome your opioid use disorder - as heroin addiction is also known - is by checking into an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment and rehabilitation program. Talk to a drug rehab program today to find out more about the services that will be provided to ensure that you finally deal with your addiction and achieve a state of sobriety away from heroin abuse.


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