Heroin: Knowing When You Have a Problem
Heroin addiction is so powerful and overwhelming, that once it takes over the life of whomever it affects, its unrelenting and devastating effects are felt immediately as it destroys relationships and physical health like the black plague.
With the takeover of heroin addiction, it’ll soon control its victims like sock puppets, helpless against its every whim. A problem that arises with heroin addicts and for many different addictions in general, is the difficulties in acknowledging the problem where it exists.
If whether for yourself or someone close, it’s important to know what exactly to look for in case ourselves or our loved ones fall into the sticky clutches of heroin addictions terrible destructive grip.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a form of opioid produced and created from opium. Although there are synthetic alternatives, the majority of opium products are created from the poppy plant and poppy seeds.
Originally created as a painkiller, it gained popularity in the United States during the late 1800’s. During the American civil war, it was most notably used for the pain suppression during amputations of the limbs. Due to its euphoric effects and masking of pain, it soon became an extremely popular substance used for pain treatment throughout hospitals worldwide.
It hit local streets both in the United States and much of Europe when it was then implemented into cough suppressants. Another less known use of heroin was its constipating qualities. A side effect of it was constipation which never truly helped bouts of diarrhea, but at the time it was seen as a fix to the problem so it was commonly prescribed.
However, a side effect of the large use of the drug was the unexpected massive rise in opioid addiction soon after. This rise in addiction to heroin eventually created an enormous market for it in the United States.
From this came the birth of its recreational use.
Its most common qualities for its recreation use is its euphoric tendencies. Tendencies such as extremely sensitive nerves to a light-headedness and overall relaxed state.
Either because of the history or because of what it has been seen as, currently heroin is considered an illegal substance,a schedule 1 drug.
From the late 1950’s the federal government, and most notably the newly created drug enforcement agency created a list that classifies where, according to medical uses and addictive qualities, certain drugs are placed. There are 5 classifications on the schedule.
Currently it classifies as a schedule 1 drug, which means that it’s seen as holding no medical use and is extremely psychologically dependent.
Aside from alcohol, heroin is considered the most addictive substance in the world.
Depending on the location and provider, there are different types of heroin with different textures and highs based off of it.
The purest form of it known today and the most popular is the plain white powdered form. It contains the least amount of cuts and the most amounts of volatile substances. Another form of heroin is also known by the street name of “black tar”. Originating from Mexico, black tar is the cheapest and most cut of all variations on the market today. It gets its name from its texture which is visibly identical to that of roofing tar.
Probably the most well-known types are dirty white and brownish powdered forms. These are typically the most commonly known between countries and state lines.
Where Did it Come From?
There seems to be global confusion as to from where this drug originates and actually comes from.
While in America, much if not nearly all of it, comes from south of the border, those who receive it there in the first place hardly if ever produce it there.
In all actuality, the vast majority of heroin is produced and comes directly from Afghanistan. In fact nearly 75 percent of all opium produced worldwide comes from Afghanistan.
A commonly unknown problem to arise from this, is the misunderstanding as to who in the country is raking in most of that money made from heroin sales. Who makes most of the profit.
It was studied in detail over the last several years, and it was found that many farmers in the country rely on opium sales for most of their income.
In a 2011 study conducted by the United Nations, it found that the Taliban was the main beneficiary to nearly all heroin sales in the country. It was then found that the Taliban was providing much-needed security to many of these farmers and would then get a cut in sales. The money the Taliban then made in drug sales was used to further purchase more arms for themselves and the villagers that were on their side.
This report came up during the United States’ attempt at understanding how the Taliban, even though American intervention was part of the equation for nearly a decade at the time, how they were further arming themselves. It seemed they had more weapons and support than ever before, even with their dwindling numbers.
Another part of the study then found that although the Taliban and Afghanistan in general, were the world’s number one opium producers, they were linked to a wider network of a global illegal drug sale community.
It turns out that many different terrorist factions were helping the farmers of Afghanistan distribute their opium (main essential in creating heroin) to the drug cartels in South America. These drug cartels would then sell these purchased opium and heroin bunches and resell them for a higher profit.
This is where the picture turns drastically darker and shows a difficult to understand and shaded history before all of us, not just the government.
Of the drugs being sold by terrorists to the drug cartels, the majority of those drugs ended up in American streets.
It’s to say that for every purchase on American streets of opium related products, it’s inevitably tied to the support of terrorist factions across the globe. It seems that the main suppliers of weapons into the hands of terrorists are no longer governments from across the world, but ourselves.
The most known and upcoming terrorist faction whose bloodline is in drugs sales directly currently is the Islamic State (ISIS).
How is it Used?
All the different forms of heroin on the street, create different ways one can ingest the drugs.
Depending on the purity of the heroin, it will affect how the person using it will take it.
The most popular and well-known fashion in taken heroin into the body is through intravenous injection and muscular injection. The reason this fashion of injection is the most popular is because of the effectiveness of it. This route is the fastest in getting heroin into the bloodstream.
However, due to the immediacy and impact of taking heroin in this fashion, it’s also the most dangerous way known today.
Due to how easy it is to take heroin this way with the fastest and most effective high possible, it means it’s also the easiest way to overdose from.
Smoking heroin is typically the most popular form of ingesting the drug for newer people trying the drug. The negative stigma related to using syringes is perhaps the leading reason as to why smoking heroin seems to be more appealing to new people trying heroin. However, it’s been found that even the form of smoking heroin is short lived. Due to the addictiveness of it, the user will crave more quantities of it and need it faster, so it’s a logical progression to soon advance to injecting heroin in pure form.
Probably the least popular form of taking heroin has to be either by snorting or orally ingesting it. For people orally ingesting heroin a very common sign is large and volatile stomach ulcers. Stomach complications happen with days of heroin usage and long term damage is nearly universal with people who orally ingest the drug for long term usage.
What Are the Signs to Look For?
Typically because of the nature of addiction, the signs will nearly always vary in specificity between the individuals. However, because of the physical aspect of heroin usage, there are universal signs that apply to many addicts in general, if not all of them. If you feel yourself or a loved might be experiencing one of the following, seek immediate help. There are addiction control professionals to help specifically with heroin addiction on call 24/7.
- Syringes or glass/metal pipes
- These items are usually used as a method of taking heroin by injection
- Elastic tubes or belts
- Is used to assist in injecting the drug intravenously
- Dry mouth
- Sticky white foam in or around the mouth is common during and immediately after, intaking heroin regardless of method
- Flushed skin
- Blood rush or blotchy skin is typical for heroin addicts
- Slow or concentrated breathing
- If concerned, contact a medical professional immediately. This can often times be a foreshadowing of an overdose
- Difficulty concentrating
- Seemingly lost and inability at focusing is universally common among heroin addicts
- Incoherent mumblings
- Sometimes this can seem like sleep talking, so be sure to gauge the situation to find out if applicable
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Extremely common with nearly all heroin addicts is vertigo and all its after effects
- Persistent itching
- Itchy and scaly skin is moderately common in addicts
- Failure to defecate is a classical symptom of heroin addiction
- Skin infections
- These are many times made worse by the scratching and flushing of the skin.
- Lowered immune system
- Getting sick easily and often is among the most common signs between nearly all addicts
- For women: unexpected abortion
- Heroin usage while pregnant is strongly linked to abortion
- Weight loss
- The lack of appetite in heroin users, makes weight loss a quick and obvious effect of heroin addiction
- Lack of self-care
- Along with the traits of many addictions, a lack of self-image usually gets progressively worse on a scale
Ocean Breeze Recovery Can Help
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, Ocean Breeze Recovery is here to help. Call us today at 855–960–5341. Let’s get started on your journey to recovery!
Originally published at oceanbreezerecovery.org on March 3, 2016.