The Dangers of Heroin Abuse in the US

Heroin is the fastest growing drug of abuse in many states, spurring serious health concerns for its residents and neighboring states. State officials claim that in recent years, heroin has become the number one choice for drug users state-wide, reflecting the unusually high crime rates, number of inmates for drug-related crimes, and most importantly, the increasing need for more drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs. One of the reasons why heroin has increased in popularity and usage is because of its high-end quality (since it is transported from Central and South America directly), low paying value, and its easy accessibility for U.S. residents. The worst part about this drug problem is that heroin is one of the most highly addictive recreational substances in America; thousands have lost their lives to heroin, and thousands continue to follow in their footsteps by succumbing to deadly addictions. As a result, America is in desperate need of viable solutions that are not only immediate, but for the long-run.

Heroin is well-known for being highly addictive, and it doesn’t take much of it to get hooked. In New Jersey for example, it is known as the “economical drug,” because of how cheap it is compared to prescription drugs and other street drugs. The reason why heroin use is growing fast in the U.S., and everywhere else in the country, is not because of its easy accessibility alone, but also because its “purity levels” falls under the 90% range of potency, while other states have it below 40%. That’s more than double the purity range. This means that an addict trying to get high, at first, don’t have to inject it in order to achieve the intense high; rather, a person can just snort it and be able to receive a strong high from it. Long story short, purer heroin means a greater chance of succumbing to heroin addiction. The effect on the body is more striking than regular heroin, and less is needed to get the desired effect: an addict’s ideal drug.

Studies show that users can get addicted after only their first time snorting or injecting it. This deadly drug binds to the receptors of the brain, inhibiting production of endorphins that causes a euphoric rush, making the brain need more and more in shorter amounts of time in between usage–kind of like patterns of behavior studied from cigarette addiction. It becomes a vicious cycle, and you can’t stop. Heroin addiction can indeed happen to anyone, and where you are or what purity level it falls under is irrelevant of the danger it poses on the human body. On the human psychology…

Heroin addiction has been found to cause a rise in the homeless population, crime rates, and destruction of family ties and one’s functional life. Here’s another issue: heroin users that snort it can find themselves gaining tolerance for it, and after a while, need to shift their mode of intake to injection. This is how addictive behaviors always start, with an increase in dosage in order to receive the same high (or try to receive).

Many addicts sell prescription pills. But why? To use buy more heroin; and they use all the excess profit to buy more pills and repeat the process again. Generally, drug users tend to start with prescription drugs; then, when they come to find out that heroin is cheaper and more easily accessible, they switch and a new favorite choice emerges. Today, prescription drugs are known to be the gateway drug to heroin.

It’s fundamental for Americans (and anyone else in the world), to deeply consider the serious health consequences of heroin use. One of the common side-effects, which has led up to countless deaths, is having difficulty breathing-or sometimes stopping entirely. Another danger is receiving infections from dirty needles, and/or acquiring various blood-transferable diseases. Heroin usage may cause the development of clogged arteries, cardiac collapse and in a lot of cases, death. Heroin can shut down the body’s central nervous system, as well as one’s respiratory system, causing one to lose consciousness and possibly never wake up. When it comes to heroin abuse, any “hit” can very well be your last.

Many are beginning to take notice, that victims of heroin abuse are no longer bums on the streets or rock stars. No, times have changed. The victim today can just as easily be the lawyer, the doctor, the house-wife, or a high school teacher or principle. Anyone can fall victim, no matter what the age, race or gender. Heroin addicts tend to lie about their vice, and manipulate others in order gain access to more heroin. If a friend or family member confronts a heroin addict, and shares his or her concerns with the addict, he/she may very well deny the problem entirely, or brush it off. But wherein lies the problem for quitting heroin? Well, withdrawal isn’t easy. The discomfort level is high and can sometimes lead to sudden seizures. There are alternative drugs which can be used to wean someone off heroin, but if the dosage isn’t followed, the program won’t work.