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Drug Information – Heroin

What is Heroin?
Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. It is an opiate drug, which is processed from morphine, a painkiller. Heroin is the most addictive illicit drug known, and is related to opium, which has been ruining the lives of users for hundreds of years.

What does Heroin look like?
Heroin is usually sold as a white or brownish powder, or as a black, sticky substance called black tar. Heroin is sometimes cut with powdered milk, cornstarch, quinine, or even poisons such as strychnine. Street drugs always have the added danger of the unknown. They could contain just about anything.

What are the street names of Heroin?
Common street names for heroin are H, smack, junk, horse, china white, chiva, black tar, fix, dope, brown, dog, and nod.

How is Heroin Used?
In the past, heroin was almost always injected in a vein. In recent years, heroin has been made in a form that can be sniffed or smoked.

Short-term Effects of Heroin Abuse
Immediately after use, heroin enters the brain causing warm flushing of the skin, severe itching, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting. Abusers have decreased mental ability and are insensitive to pain. Heroin slows digestion leading to constipation. It also slows heart function and breathing which can lead to death.

Long-term Effects of Heroin Abuse
One of the most damaging long term effects of heroin is the life changing addiction itself. Heroin quickly produces a huge level of tolerance- the need for increasing amounts of heroin to produce the same effect. Heroin permanently damages the brain. Abusers frequently suffer from arthritis and similar problems. By sharing needles, abusers have an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and bacterial heart infections. Scarred and/or collapsed veins and abscesses at injection sites are common. Abusers may suffer lung complications including various types of pneumonia and tuberculosis. Toxins clog blood vessels in the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing tissue death.

Addiction and Withdrawal
Trying to break a heroin addiction is miserably difficult because of withdrawal. Heroin withdrawal is the worst there is. Heroin causes severe physical and psychological symptoms six to eight hours after the last dosage. First, the addict experiences intense cravings for the drug. Painful withdrawal gets worse as time passes, until it is unbearable. Symptoms include: runny nose, heavy feeling in legs, horrible muscle and bone pain, emotional distress and restlessness, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, hot flashes with heavy sweating, cold flashes with goose bumps, insomnia, racing thoughts and anxiety, full body shakes, jerking leg movements, and an overwhelming need for more heroin.

Overdose Death
Heroin users have great risk of overdose. Addicts may take a larger dose or unknowingly buy heroin that is stronger than usual. Overdoses are common, and they kill fast. Fingernails and lips turn bluish, muscles become rigid, and the heartbeat slows dramatically. Users lose consciousness and when their breathing slows too much, they stop breathing and die.

Contact our Texas heroin arrest defense attorneys, at the Law Office of Anthony B. Cantrell, to discuss your drug charges today.