Parents, Know the Facts! – Heroin


HEROIN, ALSO KNOWN AS DIACETYLMORPHINE AND DIAMORPHINE AMONG OTHER NAMES, IS AN OPIOID MISUSED AS A RECREATIONAL SUBSTANCE FOR ITS EUPHORIC EFFECTS.


Heroin is a very addictive substance made from morphine; a psychoactive (mind-altering) substance taken from the resin of the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. Heroin’s colour and look depends on how it is made and what else it may be mixed with. It can be white or brown powder, or a black, sticky substance called “black tar heroin.”


Forms of heroin: white heroin, brown heroin, black tar heroin, liquid heroin.


PARAPHERNALIA

Pipes, small spoons, kits, scales, bowls, needles, tin foil, syringes, plastic pen cases or cut up drinking straws.


EFFECTS OF METHAMPHETAMINE

The effects of heroin misuse will differ from person to person, depending upon the length of misuse, amount of substance misused, the presence of other substances, and individual makeup. The following effects may be experienced:


Euphoria; a dry mouth; warm, flushed skin; arms and legs that feel heavy; upset stomach and vomiting; itching; a fuzzy brain; switching in and out of drowsiness (this is often called being “on the nod”).


WITHDRAWAL

Withdrawal symptoms from heroin can develop as soon as a few hours after sustained misuse. These symptoms can include:


Intense craving for heroin, extreme sweating, nausea and vomiting, severe muscle aches and pains, cramping in the limbs, feelings of heaviness of the body, extreme pain in muscles and bones, crying jags, insomnia, cold sweats, runny nose, fever, diarrhoea, death can occur when other medical conditions are present.


LONG TERM EFFECTS

Liver disease, skin disease and abscesses around injection sites, infections of the valves and lining of the heart, HIV or Hepatitis B and C, chronic pneumonia, clouded mental functioning, collapsed, scarred veins, blood clots, leading to stroke, pulmonary embolism, and heart attack, kidney disease, risks of contracting chronic illnesses, risks for blood-borne pathogens, septicemia, respiratory depression, seizures, overdose, death.

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