Heroin use today has grown into a nation-wide crisis, along with other opioid painkillers. Although we know heroin is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug, there’s more to this drug that isn’t commonly brought to light. Below is a list of 10 facts about heroin that might be surprising to you.
1. Heroin comes in various forms.
Although heroin is commonly observed as a tan powder, the drug actually comes in various forms based on its geographical location. It can be found as black tar and tan or white powder. No type of heroin is more addictive than the other. Heroin in itself is a highly addictive substance no matter how it is found or used.
2. Heroin is the fastest acting opioid.
Next on the list of facts about heroin is how quickly it is felt once administered. Heroin is the fastest acting opioid—meaning its effects can be felt immediately after use. These feelings of immediate euphoria and intensity can keep an individual hooked from the very start.
3. Heroin was created to be a less addictive form of morphine.
Initially, heroin was supposed to be a non-addictive painkiller. When it was first synthesized it was actually used to aid in treating morphine addiction. However, the drug ended up being more addictive than morphine. Considering the amount of heroin and opioid abuse in the United States, some of the facts about heroin, such as this, may be hard to believe.
4. Bayer started selling the drug under the brand name “Heroin” in 1898.
Before heroin was regulated by the government, Bayer, a pharmaceutical company known to sell aspirin, began selling the drug under the brand name of “heroin.” Heinrich Dreser, the chemist responsible for heroin and aspirin projects, seized the drug’s potent opportunity and began testing it for distribution. The initial clinical results of heroin were promising; however, repeated use of the drug led to a number of negative effects. Tolerance, dependence, and addiction to heroin developed in all patients. It wasn’t until 1931 that heroin consumption showed a significant decrease, which was the result of restrictions on consumption, distribution, and production.
5. Heroin use soared among Vietnam War veterans.
During the 1960s and early 70s, thousands of war veterans returned home with opiate habits. About 15 percent of active soldiers were addicted to heroin. The unsettling facts about heroin among war veterans were quite disturbing and unexpected, especially in such high numbers. Since heroin has euphoric effects, the drug was used to combat the psychological and physical effects of war. It would help the soldiers numb themselves, as well as curb stagnant boredom and the horrors of living in a foreign environment.
6. A large percentage of people do not seek help.
Another fact about heroin is that many people do not seek help for their heroin abuse for a number of reasons. According to the Nation Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 2.5 million people of the 22.7 million people addicted to drugs or alcohol received treatment. This is surprising due to the increase in the amount of heroin-related deaths. However, the main reasons why individuals did not receive help were that they were unable to afford treatment or they weren’t done using.
7. Narcan might not be effective with the number of cutting agents in heroin.
As the opioid epidemic continues to rise, the amount of potent and more dangerous drugs is more commonly being found in heroin. The cutting agents used in heroin are making the overdose death rates skyrocket. Although we have overdose reversal agents such as Narcan, it is beginning to become less effective. The more powerful the heroin, the less powerful the Narcan will be—resulting in a mass amount of Narcan used for little-to-no effect in overdose reversal. Drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil are making it harder for medical professionals to save lives.
8. Two of the most common long-term effects of heroin addiction are liver failure and heart disease.
The most common long-term effects of heroin abuse heroin are liver failure and heart disease. Heroin can cause disease in the liver such as Hepatitis C, leading the liver to slowly stop functioning normally. Heart disease is more common in intravenous drug users, like Hepatitis C. When administering drugs via injection, the drugs enter the bloodstream quicker, resulting in more severe effects on the heart. It is estimated that over 6,000,000 people inject drugs. IV drug users are at a higher risk for developing these complications with long-term heroin use.
9. It takes 72 hours for withdrawal to kick in.
Addiction is one of the most known facts about heroin. Addiction includes tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal. Depending on how long you have been using heroin and the amount of heroin you use, withdrawal can sneak up in as little as 72 hours. Unfortunately, the idea of experiencing withdrawal keeps people addicted. The intensity of heroin withdrawal can range in severity and it is surprisingly the most feared aspect of heroin use.
10. There is no cure, but long-term sobriety is achievable.
There is no cure for heroin addiction; however, there are several tools and you can use to quit heroin and live a sober lifestyle. These can consist of detox, inpatient programs, maintenance programs, and 12-step programs.
Are You Struggling with Heroin Addiction?
If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, do not hesitate to seek help. The opioid epidemic in the United States is one of the leading causes of preventable death. Don’t become another statistic. At Arete Recovery, our trained professional staff can assist you with finding the right treatment program that suits your individual needs. Don’t wait to get help; call us today at (844) 318-7500.