Heroin is considered to be the most dangerous drug available. Heroin abuse is growing in the United States and not in small secluded regions. All of the nation heroin abuse, addiction and related injuries have increased in the last ten years. The rise in heroin use and abuse is directly related to the boom in the prescription drug industry. Prescription painkillers are wildly abundant and used excessively in this country. Opiate based prescription narcotics are directly related to heroin. These drugs are much more expensive and more difficult to obtain. Most addicts begin using prescription opiate medications and develop a tolerance to the drug. If they abuse the drug that tolerance develops quicker. When their supply runs out and they cannot get anymore from a physician, family members or illegally they need a substitute. Heroin is cheaper, much stronger and easier to obtain. No matter which method an individual chooses to abuse heroin it can be deadly. There are three different types of ways to consume the drug: snorting, inhaling and injecting. Injecting is by far the most dangerous way to abuse heroin.
Heroin is created from the poppy plant by refining morphine. When heroin reaches the brain it causes several powerful effects. Like other opioids, heroin reduces an individual’s ability to feel pain. It causes intense feelings of euphoria by increasing levels of dopamine in the pleasure center of the brain. It slows down the function of other bodily systems by reducing the rate of nerve cell communication inside the brain. The quick and intense feeling of euphoria creates a ‘nodding out’ effect, where the individual nods in and out of consciousness. Heroin addicts quickly lose the feeling of euphoria, which gives to the horrific withdrawal symptoms. This forces them into a crash and binge system of use. Functioning addicts are capable of monitoring their heroin intake over time.
Heroin is often mixed with other drugs, which makes it incredibly dangerous. Some addicts are even snorting liquefied versions of heroin and/or mixing it with other drugs. Mixing drugs is a deadly practice. Over periods of time snorting heroin can cause holes in the outer surfaces of one or both nostrils. Ulcerating sores can develop in nasal tissues. Tissue death can also be an outcome of snorting heroin. Significant damage can be caused to the hard plates of the nose. Accompanying these problems, individuals can experience immense pain, swallowing difficulties and a form of mucous membrane irritation called rhinitis.
Like snorting heroin, smoking the heated substance eliminates the risk of contracting diseases like hepatitis or HIV. Smoking heroin is also referred to as chasing the dragon. Smoking heroin is incredibly dangerous because it severely damages the lungs. Any inhalation of toxic chemicals can lead to toxic leukoencephalopathy. Addicts smoke heroin because it reduces the stress on their veins and the dangers of needles. Nevertheless it is a dangerous habit.
Injecting heroin is by far the most dangerous way to abuse the drug. It creates an almost instantaneous high, which the addict continues to try to replicate, but never can; addiction is a zero sum game. By injecting the drug the addict puts incredibly pressure and damage on their veins. They also run the risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis, among other diseases/virus, from the needle sharing process.