What Is Heroin?
Over the past few years, there has been a sharp rise in the rate of heroin abuse across the country. Heroin is an illegal drug that is derived from the opioid morphine. Morphine is a legal drug prescribed by doctors to help control pain. When modified into heroin, the drug becomes even more potent. Users tend to insert heroin into their bodies one of three ways:
- Smoking the drug
- Snorting a powdered form of the drug
- Injecting the drug into their veins directly
The Heroin Epidemic is not a hoax and it is taking more and more young people from us every year. In 2014, more than 10,000 people lost their lives to an intentional or accidental heroin overdose. These numbers are not encouraging and it is important for everyone to educate themselves on the effects. Here are some common terms people might use if they are referring to the killer:
- Brown Sugar
The drug typically comes in a white or brown powder. It could also come in the way of a black, sticky substance. If the user injects heroin, as many choose to do, they will mix the powder or black goo with water before doing so. Although injecting the drug is the quickest way to obtain a high, all three methods provide a near-instant reaction in the brain. As a result, the drug proves to be very addictive, with some reporting they were addicted within the first few uses.
Uses Of Heroin
Heroin is quite addictive, which means many people quickly build a tolerance to the drug. This means that users end up sinking significant time and money into obtaining more and more of the substance. Over time, a user’s tolerance could develop into a dependence. Meaning, the user requires the drug to perform essential day-to-day functions.
Like any other opioid, stopping the use of heroin could come with significant complications and withdrawal symptoms. When trying to quit heroin, people often suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, goose bumps, restlessness, muscle pain, and bone pain. These symptoms are one of the most significant reasons why users don’t make efforts to quit. If you suspect that someone you know is using, a heroin drug test could confirm your suspicions before it’s too late.
Another severe complication seen by those using heroin is the risk of exposure to other diseases and conditions. For example, mothers who abuse heroin often suffer miscarriages. Additionally, many people who use the drug frequently develop heart infections that could have long-term consequences. Those who choose to inject the drug run the risk of exposing themselves to infectious diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, and AIDS.
Effects Of Heroin
As an illegal drug, heroin can have many effects on the body. One of the main things to be concerned about is the fact that this drug is not a controlled substance. Users can only obtain it illegally on the streets. As such, users can never be confident what they are taking when putting the drug into the bodies.
The drug could easily be cut or mixed with other substances. While users think they could be taking pure heroin, they could be putting a host of other drugs or chemicals into their body as well. Because users don’t know how pure the heroin is, they can never tell whether they are putting more or less heroin into their body than anticipated. This is where severe complications arise.
Symptoms Of Heroin
Heroin is a drug that could cause severe reactions and potentially death. When someone takes heroin, their breathing often slows immensely. If a person takes too large of a dose, their breathing can slow to the point that they stop breathing entirely. This reaction occurs in the central nervous system, and there is nothing that the individual can do to control it.
Other symptoms that may occur during a heroin overdose include a reduced heartbeat, blue fingernails or blue skin, and skin that is cold and damp. The person may also shake uncontrollably and be unable to speak.
Additionally, people may exhibit symptoms that are not as severe. These could include physiological symptoms like depression, anxiety, and mood swings, in addition to physical symptoms such as a nose that is continuously running. Dry mouth and flushed skins are also common symptoms when using heroin.
If you suspect someone of abusing heroin, there are numerous warning signs for which you can look. Those abusing the drug may also seem lethargic or unmotivated. It may seem as though they are thinking more slowly or moving more slowly than usual. Many who have used heroin in the past say that the drug makes them feel as though they are in a dream.
There could also be multiple warning signs associated with the abuse of the drug as well. First and foremost, when on heroin, a user’s pupils become very small. Those who inject the drug will have noticeable marks at the injection site, which often exists on someone’s arm or leg.
Heroin addicts are crafty and great liars. They will do anything to get more heroin. This includes stealing from family, friends and their employers. Expect manipulation and it is always someone else’s fault.
Other warning signs to be on the lookout for include someone who has visible chills, is unable to sleep or is throwing up frequently. Furthermore, if you notice someone who appears nervous, perhaps exhibiting a “tick,” and can’t stop scratching themselves, you may want to be concerned about heroin abuse with this individual.
Testing For Heroin
If you suspect someone that you know of abusing opioids, it could be in your best interest to order a heroin drug test. Heroin drug tests are often found in common opioid and opiate testing panels, making them relatively simple to obtain. You should not have to order an extended opioid board if you wish to conduct a heroin drug test.
The heroin drug test will test the users’ oral fluid, urine or and hair. Urine and hair tests are much more commonplace than oral fluid tests. However, oral fluid tests are becoming much more prominent because they can identify if someone has used heroin within the past few hours. A hair test, on the other hand, is better for pinpointing long-term abuse. A hair sample can identify whether someone used heroin within the past 90 days. Urine testing will detect heroin from 1 – 3 days.
Always ask if the drug test panel you are ordering includes heroin as some don’t. You are looking for testing for the metabolite Acetylmorphine often called 6-AM.
If you suspect that a family member, friend, or employee is abusing an opioid, it’s imperative that you order a heroin drug test immediately. Every time that someone abuses heroin, they put their life at risk. The sooner you order the trial, the quicker you can confirm your suspicions and begin seeking treatment to help this individual on the road to recovery.