Dangers of Heroin

by Riley Hammond

What is it?

Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. It is both the most abused drug and acts the fastest of all the opiates.

How it's taken

Heroin is usually injected, sniffed/snorted, or smoked. It is mixed with water and injected with a needle. A usual heroin abuser will inject up to 4 times a day. “Intravenous” injection provides the greatest intensity. It moves through your bloodstream and goes right to your brain and other vital organs.

Effects on the Body

Effects on the Brain

Short Term – Heroin gives you a rush, users will become drowsy, organ functions slow down and judgement is clouded

Long Term

  • Changes physical structure and physiology of the brain
  • Results in a decrease in brain white matter
  • Effects decision making skills and ability to regulate behavior dependencies

Positive Effects – The user will feel a rush of good feelings and not feel pain

Negative Effects - Changes physical structure and physiology of the brain and results in a decrease in brain white matter.

Effects on Organs

  • Deterioration of the brain into a spongy state, resulting in overall weakness, spastic attacks and permanent hand tremor
  • Kidney failure, hemorrhoids, anal fissures or damage to the rectum

Did you know?

  • In 2011, 4.2 million Americans or 1.6% (aged 12 or older) had used heroin at least once in their lives.
  • 23% of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it
  • In 2014 – more than 10,000 people in the US died from a heroin overdose
  • For young people (ages 15-24) – 1,300 died from a heroin overdose
  • Signs of a heroin overdose are slow breathing, blue lips and fingernails, cold damp skin, and shaking.