1Heroin is an opiate drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant.
Shortly after using, a feeling of euphoria will come over users, in which they have a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth and the feeling of having "heavy" arms and legs. After the initial rush, users will gointo an alternately wakeful and drowsy state sometimes called "on the nod."
Because heroin suppresses the central nervous system, the user experiences "cloudy" mental function. Users will begin to breathe at a slower rate and their breathing can reach a point of respiratory failure.
Repeated and chronic heroin users who fail to use sterile technique or share equipment willbegin to experience the long-term effects of such practices:
Infection of the heart lining and valves, normally due to lack of sterile technique.
Liver disease - approximately 70-80% of new hepatitis C infections in the U.S. each year are the result of injection drug use, and even sharing snorting straws has been linked to hepatitis transmission.
Pulmonary complications, which areoften infection related
Skin infections and abscesses, especially among chronic injectors who suffer scarred or collapsed veins
In addition to the risk of contracting the hepatitis virus, heroin users also have an increased risk of catching human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other blood-borne viruses.
Another dangerous effect of heroin use is the highly addictive nature of thedrug. All heroin users, even those who only snort or smoke the drug, can become addicted with repeated use.
Over time, heroin users develop a tolerance for the drug requiring them to use increasingly larger amounts to achieve the same feeling they experienced when they first began to use.
After awhile, the tolerance level to the drug rises to the level that heroin use in any amount stopsproducing the euphoric effect the user once experience altogether. When this occurs, the addict continues to seek and take the drug just to feel "normal." They become physically dependent upon the drug.
When people addicted to heroin try to stop using they can experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms can include:
Extreme craving for the drug
Muscle and bone painVomiting
The most severe heroin withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after stopping use and can last up until a week.
The most serious health effect of heroin use is the possibility of death due to accidental overdose.
Because heroin is an illegal drug and can be handled and cut (mixed with other ingredients) by various suppliers before it reaches street-level users,those who use the drug never know how potent or pure the heroin they are using is until they use it.
Heroin is often mixed with sugar, starch, quinine, and sometimes, strychnine or other poisons, adding other potential dangers. Because of the unknown strength and actual contents of the heroin they are taking, users are at a great risk of overdose and death.
1Marijuana is agreenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.
The short-term effects of marijuana include:
Distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
Problems with memory and learning
Loss of coordination
Trouble with thinking and problem-solving
Increased heart rate, reduced blood pressure
Effects on the brain, heartand lungs.
Sometimes marijuana use can also produce anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic.
4While not everyone who uses marijuana becomes addicted, when a user begins to seek out and take the drug compulsively, that person is said to be dependent or addicted to the drug.
5Withdrawal symptoms to marijuana can be somewhat characterized as the opposite to the intoxicating...
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