Heroin is a synthetic opiate drug that is highly addictive. Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. It is an illegal drug. What is Heroin?
Where Does it Come From? • The primary supplier to the United States is South America. Southeast Asia still plays a role in supplying the United Sates also. • Columbia is the leader in the South American countries in production and distribution of herion.
HEROIN’S DIFFERENT FORMS: Heroin comes in various forms, but pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. Most illicit heroin comes in powder form in colours, ranging from white to dark brown. The colors are due to the impurities left from the manufacturing process or the presence of additives. “Black tar” is another form of heroin that resembles roofing tar or is hard like coal. Colour varies from dark brown to black.
HISTORY • Heroin is an opiate and was first manufactured back in 1874. Opiates are drugs manufactured from the opium poppy plant and others in this family include: • Morphine • Codeine • Opium
Opioids are natural or synthetic substances that act on the brain’s opiate receptors. Opioids dull pain and relieve anxiety that comes from thinking about pain. People abuse opioids because they provide a feeling of euphoria (a “rush”). What Are Opioids/Heroin?
Opiates in the Human Body • Many different parts of the brain are effected by heroin use. • Heroin primarily effects the limbic system. This controls your emotions, and allows the user to feel an extreme increase in pleasure. • On the spinal cord, pain messages transmitted to and from the body are blocked, eliminating all discomforts. • At the brain stem the usage effects your automatic body functions, such as breathing, and may also depress one’s breathing level to a dangerous level.
Physical Effects of Opioids Taking opioids causes • Constricted pupils • Flushing of the skin • Heavy feeling in the limbs The rush is followed by a confused, drowsy feeling that lasts several hours. Breathing and heart rate slow during this period.
Heroin’s street Names Heroin has many street names including big H, blacktar, brown sugar, dope, horse, junk, mud, skag. The most common name for heroin is smack. After September 11th, heroin was even called Bin Laden, twin towers and WTC. Some other interesting street names are Bart Simpson, Aunt Hazel, birdie powder, Dr. Feelgood, dog food, Hong-yen, lemonade, Mexican mud, old Steve, Pangonadalot and witch hazel.
Who Uses Heroin? • There is an estimated 810,000 heroin addicts in the United States • 80% of those users are under the age of 26. • The average age of addicts is 21. 10 years ago it was 25.
Heroin: what are the effects? The immediate effects of heroin may last 3 to 5 hours. They are: • Intense pleasure and a strong feeling of well-being. • Confusion. • Pain relief. • Slowed breathing. • Decreased blood pressure and heart rate. • Constricted pupils. • Dry mouth. • Suppressed cough reflex. • Reduced sexual urges. • Drowsiness. • Slurred and slow speech. • Reduced co-ordination, nausea and vomiting.
Most common method of use Smoking or inhaling the fumes (known as chasing) Swallowing or snorting. Injection(IV) is a very popular way that heroin is taken. By injecting the drug, rather than smoking or snorting it, the same effects are achieved with less heroin and faster. There is no safe way to use heroin. Research also shows that most people who start smoking heroin end up injecting it if they continue to use. The main reason people use heroin is for its euphoric effect - however people very quickly become dependent on it and getting off heroin is exceptionally difficult.
Short-term effects • Faster Heartbeat/pulse rate • Bloodshot eyes • Dry mouth and Throat • Impaired short term memory • Altered sense of Time • Reduced ability to do things requiring concentration, swift reactions and coordination
Long term effects • Collapsed Veins • Infection of the heart lining and valves • Liver Disease • Pulmonary Complications • dependence, constipation, menstrual irregularity and infertility in women, loss of sex drive in men, intense sadness and cognitive impairment.
Overdose On Heroin • Using a large quantity of heroin can cause death • Shallow breathing • Slow and difficult breathing • Dry mouth • Extremely small pupils, sometimes as small as the head of a pin ("pinpoint pupils") • Tongue discoloration • Low blood pressure • Bluish-colored fingernails and lips • Constipation • Spasms of the stomach and intestinal tract • Coma • Delirium • Disorientation • Drowsiness • Muscle Spasticity • Weak pulse
Dependency • The psychological dependency of heroin is very high. • Effects include a sense of discomfort and loss of well being. • The high number of relapse rates after withdrawal show that the psychological dependency is more of a problem than physical dependency.
Fighting the Addiction • Most common treatment is methadone. This withdrawal procedure slowly eases the patient off the drug by replacing heroin with methadone, a lower dose of heroin. This treatment may cost $5,000 • The other method is going “cold turkey.” It’s has been compared to jumping off a cliff and often causes death for those whose bodies are to unhealthy to withstand the withdrawl.
Famous People Addicted to Heroin • Jimmy Hendrix • Jerry Garcia (Greatful Dead) • Bradley Nowell (Singer Sublime) • Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) • Robert Downey Jr. (Ironman)
5 Review Questions • What plant does heroin come from? • Who is the main supplier of heroin to the United States? • What are three ways of doing heroin? • What are the 2 types of with drawl methods? • What are 3 side effects of using heroin?
Video • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cskq_zGVSZs • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPd4ZpzIFtk