Long Term Effects of Heroin Use

February 11th, 2020

The drug Heroin has seen a resurgence in usage over the past few years at rates that have not been observed since the 1960s and 70s. This resurgence can most likely be attributed to the growing opioid epidemic that has swept the US. Heroin is, in fact, an illegal opioid that is derived from morphine. Heroin’s rapid rise in usage among American’s over the past decade finds its roots in the similarity the drug has to common prescription opioids. Heroin, however, is by far the deadliest and most addictive of all opioids. 

Heroin can have many negative effects on the human body both in the short-term and in the long-term, effects that can have a deadly consequence. Heroin also can lead to significant long-term effects that can severely damage one’s brain function as well as other important organs. 

Today, we’re going to look at heroin and the negative long-term effects it can have.

What is Heroin?

By definition, heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug that is made from the opiate morphine which is derived from the opium poppy plant. Heroin is both the fastest-acting and most addictive substance in the opioid drug family. It is a drug that can be ingested in a variety of ways from being sniffed and snorted to even being smoked. Yet, the most prominent and the deadliest way in which heroin is used is through injection. By being injected, the drug immediately impacts the bloodstream which will rapidly affect the body as well as can make one more susceptible to overdoses. Injection can cause infections that can lead to diseases such as HIV/AIDS and can even be deadly in the long run.

 Much like other opioids, heroin’s main effect is on the brain where it rapidly binds to the brain’s opioid receptors and affects how it feels pain and pleasure. Heroin like other opioids delivers a euphoric feeling that makes the user want to keep using the drug more and more. Yet, the effects heroin has on the body are much more pronounced than that of other opioids making the drug highly addictive to users. The drug’s fast-acting nature also leads to users feeling like they need to use more and more every time creating a recipe for constant overdoses among heroin users. Heroin has a substantial impact on its users that leads to it being both highly addictive and deadly. In many ways, heroin is a super opioid that will leave a significant negative mark on its users.

The Short-Term Effects of Heroin

Heroin is a fast-acting opioid that delivers several different short-term effects on its users. Of the effects heroin has, the most common is the euphoric state that the drug has upon to the user. This rush-like state happens when the drug binds to the brain’s receptors that are associated with pleasure and pain, making the user feel relaxed and euphoric. Heroin also can have several other physical short-term effects including flushing of the skin, nausea, vomiting, severe inching, and dry mouth. Heroin also has other mental effects most notably making users feel overly cloudy and unable to have proper cognitive functions. While these effects are considered to be short-term, many of these effects can easily lead to the deadly long-term effects associated with heroin. These short-term effects especially those that impact the brain can also have deadly consequences depending on the environment the user is in. The impaired cognitive function coupled with the euphoric state that heroin use creates can often be a recipe for disaster. Heroin is a highly addictive drug that has short-term effects that can easily develop into deadly long-term effects.  

The Long-Term Effects of Heroin

Heroin’s status as a highly addictive opioid means that many of the users will experience far more than just the drug’s temporary effects the occur when the user is high. Heroin has many long-term effects that can substantially impact a user’s brain and body. Many of these long-term effects of heroin use can result in deadly consequences for a user. Heroin is a drug that works through altering functions within the brain by binding to its opioid receptors.

Constant use of heroin is shown to have a substantial impact on brain function by permanently altering how the brain makes decisions, regulates behaviors, and comprehends information. By consistently using heroin a user can irreversibly damage their brains by not giving the brain the chance it needs to recover from the synthetic alterations caused by drugs. Long-term alterations of the brain can also lead to other negative psychological effects including being unable to properly respond to stress and stressful situations as well as a constant feeling of drowsiness. Heroin has a significant effect on the brain and many of the brain’s important functions.

Outside of the brain, one of the most severe and common problems linked with long-term heroin use is heart disease. Heroin can cause both infections and ailments to areas surrounding the heart. These issues can help lead to severe problems such as heart failure among other complications. Heroin can also harm other organs beyond just the heart. The kidneys can also be substantially affected by the constant long-term heroin use places upon the kidneys. This long-term stress on the kidneys can lead to kidney failure which can put one at a higher risk of severe illness and even death.

Heroin is a highly addictive and deadly drug that can do severe damage upon a user both in the short-term and in the long-term. Heroin by design is a drug that severely alters the brain and the body which can have deadly long-term effects. Heroin addiction is often deadly, yet, death can be avoided. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to heroin or other opioids seek help to avoid the destructive long-term effects that heroin abuse can have.


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