Heroin is one of the most addictive substances in our world today. Even after using it once, someone can become immediately hooked to the high and want to continue using. The high from heroin has been described as euphoric and extremely relaxing, as well as instantaneous. It lasts for hours, and the person who is high on it can barely function. They nod off and cannot keep a conversation, seeming to be on the edge of passing out.
The Danger of Heroin
The highs that follow the very first one are not as pleasurable because the person has gotten used to it. So, they chase that first high constantly, using more and more heroin due to their increasing tolerance, and can possibly overdose. This is how overdoses happen. Also, sometimes, someone will get a different type of heroin that may be more powerful than what they are used to and shoot up as they always have, but get a much stronger high, one that might even kill them.
Along with this, there are a number of health hazards that heroin users tend to become prey to. One of which is, since it is common that people who use heroin share needles on the street (since it is hard to clean the current ones or get new ones), communicable diseases such as AIDS, HIV and Hepatitis C can be transmitted between users. It has been estimated that of the roughly 35,000 new infections of Hep C each year, an astounding 70% are from people who use heroin.
Other health hazards that come from heroin are shortened, shallow breathing, which can lead to respiratory failure; abscesses can form in the area that the needle is injected, which are under-the-skin infections, and might lead to the need for amputation; lowered body temperature, leading to the possibility of hypothermia; loss of memory and intellectual performance; respiratory illnesses; the possibility of falling into a coma. There are many more as well.
When it comes time to get off of heroin, one of the drugs that is used in treatment centers that help people get off of the high is called methadone. This is also an opiate, or a narcotic, but it is not nearly as powerful as heroin. Upon usage, it makes the brain and the body think that heroin is present in the system, thus reducing or eliminating cravings. It is also used in helping people get off of other opioid addictions. However, despite the fact it is a narcotic, it does not really get someone that high… however, for someone who has never done heroin or another opioid in their lives, methadone does give a high.
Becoming a Problem
Methadone has started to seep its way into the prescription drug abuse scene. When things like OxyContin or Vicodin are not available, then people have started to turn to Methadone. It has also been known to happen that people who have gotten off of heroin and other opiates through the use of Methadone have become addicted to the (lesser) high that it gives. When mixed with other drugs, or just taken in very large quantities, people have been known to pass out and then overdose in their sleep, and not waking up.
Heroin and hard opiates are hard things to kick, and Methadone helps. But it has become a double-edged sword, with people becoming addicted to it instead of other “harder” drugs and even dying from it. Doctors and patients alike need to become more aware of the potential consequences that using Methadone can have so as to help stem the tide of another possible prescription drug epidemic.