Heroin is one of the deadliest drugs in the world. It might not be as deadly as cocaine, but it sure is deadly. Made from morphine, heroin can be white or brown powder, or even a black sticky substance. There are many names for heroin, and people use it by injecting, snorting, or smoking it. The substance enters the brain rapidly, and then changes back into morphine. Heroin binds to opioid receptors on cells located in the brain, and binds mostly to cells involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. Let’s take a look at some facts about heroine.
- A speedball is a mixture between heroin and crack cocaine
- The drug is highly addictive and enters the brain very quickly. Contrary to popular belief, all three methods of consuming (injecting, sniffing, smoking) can lead to heroin addiction and health problems
- People consuming heroin develop a tolerance to the substance. After a while, they need more heroin to produce the effect they want. And that is when the addiction starts
- The withdrawal symptoms of heroin peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose. The symptoms can last for several weeks, and some can be long after months of using. Sudden withdrawal can be fatal, which is why heroin users consume other drugs to ease up on their rehab
- Cravings for heroin can last years after the addiction have stopped. Even a small exposure to stress or people and places associated with the drug use can trigger the craving
- When it was first manufactured, heroin was marketed as treatment for tuberculosis, and remedy for morphine addiction. The drug was first produced in Germany, by the Bayer pharmaceutical company in 1898
- The purest form of heroine is fine white powder. However, often, heroin is found in rose gray, black, or brown form. Drug sellers mix the drug with toxic ingredients to produce more heroin, which is why true purity is hard to find
- According to statistics, more than 13.5 million in the world consume opium-like substances, of which 9.2 million use heroin
- Some of the other names used for heroin include junk, smack, H, boy, white horse, chiva, train, and tar
- In the United States, Chicago is the top area for heroin shipments with the metro area being the most frequent. And a study between 1998 and 2008 found out that heroin related deaths in Chicago went up for 40% among white women
- In the United States, there are more than 660,000 users. That number was in 2012. In 2007, the number was 373,000. By now, there might be more than one million users of heroin in the United States
- According to a study in 2009, more than 90% of users of heroin were white people
- Signs of using heroin include dry mouth, cycles of ultra-alertness followed by drowsiness, small pupils, shortness of breath, and usually a droopy appearance
- The street price of a bag of heroin in 2014 was $10 for bag with 10% purity. Ten years ago, the price was between $50 and $150 for 2% purity. Purer versions allow users to smoke or snort the drug. That has expanded the audience. Heroin that is mixed with filler, and has low purity has to be injected directly to achieve a high
- The prices might have gone down, but a heroin addiction is expensive. According to some statistics, a heroin addiction might cost about $250 per day at the height of the addiction
- People become addicted to heroin after 12 weeks of consistent use. After the period of 12 weeks, withdrawal symptoms appear just hours after taking a hit
- Chasing the dragon is a method for smoking heroin, in which users heat the powder on foil and then inhale the fumes through tube. Effects are quick, just five minutes after smoking
- Heroin doesn’t dissolve easily, so people dissolve it with a spoon of water before they inject it
- Heroin dates back to ancient times, when Sumerians referred to it as “hul gil”, or the joy plant. Egyptians, Greeks, and Minoans also used poppy-derived medicine as opioids.
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