Heroin is a very addictive and illegal opioid drug that tends to appear in the form of a white powder. This drug acts quickly in the body and may be smoked, snorted, or injected. Heroin causes you to feel pleasure by binding to opioid receptors in the body. Then, dopamine is released which can fuel a dangerous addiction and cause you to want to repeat the same actions again.
The short term effects of heroin can include drowsiness, sedation, reduced pain sensation, and a rush that increases euphoric feelings. The long-term effects of heroin are more dangerous as you can experience malnutrition, damaged skin from scratching, damaged teeth and gum swelling. You could end up getting liver or kidney damage as well as brain damage due to lack of oxygen.
Unfortunately, there is still a big problem in Europe with the increase of death from heroin. According to EMCCDA, 8,441 people suffered overdose deaths from heroin in 28 member states in Europe including Turkey and Norway. For example, the UK has the highest proportion of heroin addicts. 31% of people in the UK died from heroin overdoses with Germany losing 15%. In 2015, there was a 26% rise in heroin deaths in England and Wales. The chances of death are even greater when heroin is combined with other drugs such as alcohol or meth. In 2016, 2,507 people had to seek hospital treatment for heroin, making it 50 cases a week. Heroin is the most lethal drug in Scotland that contributed to 55% of deaths.
One of the most dangerous parts about using heroin is the dependency of it where you can feel sick even though the substance is not in your system. A few hours after your last hit, you can experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, shaking, muscle and bone aches, racing heartbeat, restlessness, and much more. These symptoms can last as long as one to two days or can be a week or more.
Because the severe symptoms of withdrawal can cause you to turn back to the drug, professional treatment is highly recommended. A period of detoxification is needed to help manage symptoms while the substance moves away from the body. There are a number of treatment options such as rehab, medication management, and support groups. The European statistics are too large to ignore so do not allow heroin to enter into your system.
Last updated & clinically assessed 26 March, 2021