Effects of Heroin Use on the Body

Heroin is a drug made from morphine that is illegal and highly addictive. Heroin may be injected, snorted or smoked. It hits the system immediately after being ingested. It remains in the body for two to four days and has powerful withdrawal symptoms if the user is addicted. Short and long-term effects of heroin use can be devastating and even lethal. If you’re struggling with heroin addiction call our addiction hotline today.

An Overview of the Effects of Heroin Use on the Body

Short-term Effects of Heroin Use
Seconds after ingesting heroin, the central nervous system is affected and suppressed. The user is overcome with a feeling of euphoria, a heavy feeling in the arms and legs and a dry mouth. The user then alternates between being wake and a drowsy nodding state. The breathing rate and heart rate slows down and the mental functioning is cloudy. The user may experience vomiting, nausea and itching. With regular use, heroin changes the way the brain functions. The user becomes more tolerant to the drug and requires more to achieve the same effects. The body becomes addicted and experiences withdrawal symptoms when the body needs more heroin.

Long-term Effects of Heroin Use
The varying long-term effects of heroin use may include:

  • Bad teeth
  • Gum inflammation
  • Constipation
  • Cold sweats
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Menstrual disturbance
  • Depression
  • Weaken immune system
  • Arthritis
  • Impotence
  • Respiratory illness
  • Pustules on the face
  • Weak muscles
  • Inability to orgasm
  • Loss of intellectual performance and memory
  • Coma
  • Death

The intravenous user may experience collapsed veins, skin abscesses and infections of the heart valves and blood vessels.

Chronic and repeated users tend to share equipment or use unsterile syringes. These practices can result in Hepatitis-C and HIV.

Accidental overdose is a serious effect and risk for the chronic long-term user. Various suppliers may cut the heroin with harmful chemicals, so the purity of the product is unpredictable. As the user’s tolerance for the drug increases, the more the user uses to get the same effect that can lead to an overdose.

Suppliers use toxic and dangerous ingredients such as quinine and strychnine that can block blood vessels that lead to the kidneys, liver, lungs and brain. These ingredients can cause permanent damage.

Dependence is another long-term effect of heroin use. The body adapts to the presence of heroin. When heroin is absent from the body, severe withdrawal symptoms occur so heroin detox at an accredited detox facility is recommended.

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