Another topic in our Real Truth series
The Real Truth about Heroin
Some of us may not be aware how long this drug has been around and what the production of Heroin has done to the human being.
This in-depth article is another wake up call to say:
Listen up everyone – we have produced a drug that is part of the global Opioid epidemic. Time to get Real and super Honest – our Solutions and War on Drugs has failed. End.
The way we are going about dealing with drugs is not working – so is there Another Way?
Read on… consider, ponder and contemplate on ALL the Questions in this simple, informative presentation.
European Drug Report 2020 – Key Issues
2017 – 5.2 tonnes of heroin seized, mainly due to large individual seizures made in the port of Antwerp (Belgium).
2018 – Heroin seized in the European Union increased to 9.7 tonnes.
2017 – Turkey seized -17.4 tonnes of heroin.
2018 -17.8 tonnes – Largest quantities for a decade.
The potential for increased heroin use and existing harms raise concerns.
Indicators of heroin use continue to suggest an ageing cohort of users with low rates of initiation. In addition, new drug treatment entries associated with heroin have also fallen in many countries. However, a doubling of the volumes of heroin seized within the European Union and increasing volumes seized in Turkey are worrying, as are reports of heroin manufacturing taking place within the European Union. This suggests more vigilance is necessary to detect any signs of increased consumer interest in a drug associated with serious health and social problems.
Heroin Users Entering Treatment
24 – mean age at first use
35 – mean age at treatment entry
Frequency of use in the last month
65% – daily
Route of administration
47% – Smoking/Inhaling
34% – Injecting
20,400 – first time entrants
86,400 – previously treated entrants
2018 – 16 tonnes of the heroin precursor chemical acetic anhydride was seized in the European Union and the supply of a further 9 tonnes was stopped before it entered the supply chain.
The discovery of laboratories producing heroin from morphine in Bulgaria, Czechia, Spain and the Netherlands in recent years, together with an increase in morphine and opium seizures suggests some heroin is now manufactured in the European Union.
Opioids, mainly Heroin or its metabolites, often in combination with other substances, are present in the majority of fatal overdoses reported in Europe. (1)
This is bang up to date – a report highlighting some key issues here.
We could champion and make noises to celebrate the great amount of Heroin that is being seized in Europe OR we could consider a very important Question:
How much Heroin is actually reaching its destination under the radar, to the customer who makes the demand?
Are we really and truly anywhere close to being on the front foot when it comes to Heroin?
We may think because less people are coming in for treatment associated with Heroin and double the volumes of Heroin are being seized within the European Union, that things are sorted.
How do we detect signs of increased consumer interest when it comes to Heroin?
How do we behave in life when it comes to talking about Drugs and what it is doing to the human frame?
Do we know beyond doubt it is going on but have no interest in doing anything or saying anything as it makes us uncomfortable?
Do we see it on our streets, in our neighbourhoods, know of it behind closed doors, but we see no point in calling it out and exposing what is going on?
What are Drug Precursors?
Drug precursors are chemicals that are primarily used for the legal production of a wide range of products, like medicine, perfumes, plastics, cosmetics etc.,
Drug precursor diversion happens when criminals or criminal organizations take these products out of the legal market and use them for illegal purposes.
Acetic anhydride is an important reaction agent for the illicit production of heroin.
1kg of Heroin production requires 1 – 1.5 litre of acetic anhydride (2)
What is Acetic Anhydride?
Acetic anhydride appears as a clear colorless liquid with a strong odour of vinegar.
Corrosive to metals and tissue. (3)
It is used in making plastics, drugs, dyes, perfumes, explosives and aspirin. (4)
Acetic anhydride is very corrosive and a severe skin irritant
RISK: Direct contact with liquid may result in chemical burns.
Allergic skin reactions have been reported in some people.
Severe eye irritation characterised by burning, tearing, swelling and sensitivity to light can occur if acetic anhydride is splashed into the eyes. Burns to the surface of the eyes, scarring, cataracts and temporary or permanent vision loss have been reported. Eye, nose and throat irritation occurs with moderate acetic anhydride vapor levels in the air.
High acetic anhydride vapor exposure may result in nasal ulcers and spasms in the lungs. Breathing difficulties, accumulation of fluid in the lungs and death have been reported following very high acetic anhydride exposures in industrial accidents. Fetal toxicity was observed in laboratory animals following exposure to high air levels of acetic anhydride during pregnancy. At this high exposure level, the mothers showed severe respiratory tract irritation and body weight reduction. (3)
Acetic anhydride is banned in many countries because it is used as the major precursor for the production of heroin and is also used in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). (5)
Can we all wake up and pay attention here?
To keep it very Simple so we all get it – the stuff used to produce perfumes and plastics are used to make Heroin. This is then ingested into the body.
We are talking about illegal Heroin, which you get from the drug dealers.
Research is telling us that a clear liquid called acetic anhydride which smells like vinegar is an important ingredient for illicit Heroin.
For the record this chemical they mix into Heroin is very corrosive.
So, what exactly does that mean – let’s research and expand on this…
If something is corrosive, it means that it causes corrosion, which is a process of corroding – damage slowly by chemical reaction.
In other words, destroy or weaken gradually.
The origin of the word corrode
late Middle English: from Latin corrodere, from cor- (expressing intensive force) + rodere ‘gnaw’. (6)
Check this out – a chemical added to Heroin to supply our drug demand has intensive force that consistently bites (gnaws) to wear it away.
What on earth is going on and WHY?
Who comes up with this potent poison to sell on and profit from?
WHY is there a demand for this toxic addictive substance on our streets?
This add on to Heroin called acetic anhydride can cause breathing difficulties and a catalogue of other side effects.
It gets worse – this stuff is banned in many countries because it is the major precursor for the production of Heroin but wait for it…
They use this in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices. (IED)
What is an Improvised Explosive Device?
YES – you have read correctly
We as humans have produced a toxic substance to ingest that literally erodes the human being from the inside.
We use a chemical for making bombs and that same chemical is added to Heroin.
How serious is that and are we all fully aware of this?
What if we brought some real education into schools like this presentation on Heroin and gave our children some real insight into the harm of what Drugs are, how long they have been around and the damage it does?
Heroin is the most frequently used Opioid in Europe
Quantity of Heroin seized within the European Union doubles
Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of illicit opium, the raw material for heroin and most heroin found in Europe is thought to be manufactured in Afghanistan or in neighbouring Iran or Pakistan.
Heroin enters Europe along four main trafficking routes, of which the Balkan route is considered the most important. A recent development is the emergence of trafficking through the Suez Canal and across the Mediterranean Sea.
The discoveries of laboratories producing heroin from morphine in Bulgaria, Czechia, Spain and the Netherlands in recent years, together with an increase in morphine and opium seizures suggests, however, that some heroin is now manufactured in the European Union. This may reflect suppliers seeking to reduce costs, as the heroin precursor chemical acetic anhydride is more expensive in opium-producing countries.
In 2018, law enforcement agencies in the European Union seized almost 16 tonnes of acetic anhydride and a further 9 tonnes was stopped before it entered the supply chain. These figures represent a large decrease compared with 2017 (81 tonnes).
Analysis of stopped shipments of acetic anhydride indicate that groups producing heroin outside the European Union attempt to obtain supplies from European chemical suppliers.
A period of reduced heroin availability was observed in a number of European countries around 2010/11, accompanied by an overall drop in both numbers of seizures and quantities of heroin seized.
Heroin purity increased rapidly before stabilising in recent years. (7)
Let us not forget, this is proper business here going on. The traffickers have their customers, they know where it is coming from and where it has to get to.
How long has this all been going on and why do so many of us turn a blind eye to the Drug world and how rife it is right under our very nose, so to speak?
It is suggested that some Heroin is now manufactured in Europe because the suppliers want it cheap and because acetic anhydride is more expensive in the countries that produce opium, they get more profit. No brainer really.
20,000 clients –
Primary heroin users accounted for 77% of first-time primary opioid users entering treatment.
Trends in Heroin Related Deaths
Opioids, mainly Heroin or its metabolites, often in combination with other substances, are present in the majority of fatal overdoses reported in Europe.
- 93% increase in the number of heroin deaths in Portugal
- 405 deaths in Germany – 2017
- 155 deaths in Italy – 2018
- 205 deaths in Turkey – 2018
reported large numbers of heroin-related deaths in 2018
- 98 deaths in Sweden – 2018 (7)
Facing Addiction in America – Office of the Surgeon General
An opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant.
Common Commercial Names
No commercial uses
Brown Sugar | China White | Dope | H | Horse | Junk | Skag | Skunk | Smack | White Horse | With OTC cold medicine and antihistamine: Cheese
White or Brownish powder, or black sticky substance known as “black tar heroin”
Common Ways Taken
Injected, smoked, snorted
DEA Schedule / Legal Status
Schedule I / Illegal
Uses and Possible Health Effects
Short-Term Symptoms of Use
Euphoria; warm flushing of skin; dry mouth; heavy feeling in the hands and feet; clouded thinking; impaired coordination; alternate wakeful and drowsy states; itching; nausea; vomiting; slowed breathing and heart rate; and fatal overdose.
Long-Term Consequences of Use and Health Effects
Collapsed veins; abscesses (swollen tissue with pus); infection of the lining and valves in the heart (endocarditis); constipation and stomach cramps; liver or kidney disease; and pneumonia.
Other Health-Related Issues
Pregnancy-related: miscarriage, low birth weight, neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Risk of HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol
Dangerous slowdown of heart rate and breathing, coma and death.
Restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes with goose bumps.
Methadone, Buprenorphine and Naltrexone.
Contingency management or motivational incentives
12-step facilitation therapy
Statistics as of 2015
Lifetime: 5.1 million persons aged 12 or older have used heroin in their lifetime.
Heroin needle use: 2.2 million persons
Smoked Heroin: 2.0 million persons
Sniffed or snorted Heroin: 3.3 million persons
828,000 persons aged 12 or older have used heroin in the past year.
Average Age of Initiation
Check out the street names – what are they really communicating to us?
Go back and re-read the short-term symptoms above. What is it actually telling us?
WHY are we seeking a drug to impair our coordination and does this help us to ignore other physical symptoms – call them side effects, like vomiting and itching?
We all know that drugs by their very nature are addictive. So can we say that many on the Heroin road will become long-term users and that means collapsed veins, stomach cramps, pneumonia and infection in the Heart1 valves to name a few.
We also all know that coming off drugs is not an easy road.
How many would want pain at the bone level, insomnia, vomiting and diarrhea?
We most certainly all know that Alcohol is the best friend for many that take drugs.
But Something Is Not Right – we do not seem to be interested in the consequences that follow on from our choice to ingest a form of poison, be it Alcohol, heroin or any other lifestyle drug we use under the banner of ‘recreational’.
Heroin is one of the World’s Most Dangerous Opioids (9)
Heroin is a highly addictive recreational opioid.
Pinpoint pupils are one of the signs of heroin use.
Heroin causes the body to slow down and is a potent painkiller, making a person very relaxed and sleepy.
Other symptoms of heroin use and addiction include:
- bloodshot or red eyes
- weight loss
- extreme sleepiness
- falling asleep at inappropriate moments
- secretive behaviour
- lack of motivation
- thoughts of self-harm or Suicide
- slurred speech
- paranoia (10)
- difficulty making decisions
- memory loss (11)
People using heroin are at risk of contracting blood infections by sharing needles.
Injecting heroin can also damage the veins and arteries and may cause gangrene.
Heroin can also cause respiratory failure (when a person stops breathing) or death by inhaling vomit, as it limits a person’s ability to cough properly. (10)
Heroin is an Opioid. For the reader that wants to know more – look no further
Read our article on this website called The Real Truth about Opioids
The above section requires a stop moment and then a re-read.
It cannot be skipped or dismissed in any way because of the facts.
We have one of the world’s most dangerous opioids, used in the name of re-creation and it is highly addictive.
No drug in this world comes without side effects.
As a potent painkiller, it is likely the user will be seeking a way out from the pain and this we could say is understandable. However, looking at the list of symptoms, it would make no sense at all to take Heroin in any form.
So WHY do people go to Heroin for recreational use?
For the record, we have the definition of recreational as
Relating to or denoting drugs taken on an occasional basis for enjoyment or
activity done for enjoyment when one is not working.
Let’s join the dots and keep it Simple.
Recreational use means we make a conscious choice to take Heroin occasionally for “enjoyment” and not when we are working.
What if we did some observational research studies and what if we simply ask those who take Heroin or are in treatment – how it affected their work and could they really use it for “enjoyment” and stick to the now and then “occasional” infrequent intervals, as that is what the dictionary definition is telling us about the word “recreational”?
What would be the Real life response from those who take Heroin regarding their employment?
Are we really able to lead a so-called ‘normal working life’ with Heroin on the side now and then in the name of “enjoyment”?
It is well worth noting at this point – Heroin is highly addictive
How well are we going to perform at work, if we become addicted to Heroin?
If we read the list, do we honestly think we can Get Away with slurred speech, falling asleep during work time, memory loss, bloodshot eyes and the rest…?
Are we going down the road of addiction where nothing matters in life other than getting our next heroin hit?
How long are we going to remain in paid employment or hold down any job, even voluntary, if Heroin is our drug of choice.
AND finally, on this section – do we need to change our dictionary definitions because recreational use is clearly NOT occasional in any way when it comes to drugs like Heroin? It simply is not possible when we are talking about the very nature of a drug, which is highly addictive.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine – a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico and Columbia. (12)
Morphine is extracted from the opium gum in laboratories close to the fields and then converted into Heroin in labs within or near the producing country. (13)
white powder | brown powder | black sticky substance, known as black tar heroin (12)
In its purest form heroin is a fine white powder. The colouring comes from additives which have been used to dilute it, which can include sugar, caffeine or other substances.
Street heroin is sometimes “cut” with strychnine or other poisons. (13)
Strychnine is a highly poisonous compound. (14)
Only a small amount is needed to produce severe effects in people. Strychnine poisoning can cause extremely serious adverse health effects, including death. (15)
Did we get that – the stuff on the street is ‘cut’ with poisons and one of them, Strychnine is highly poisonous.
The fact that this highly poisonous compound can cause extremely serious side effects does not seem to matter to those demanding it on the streets and those supplying.
What is running the show inside our minds that says yes to ingesting Heroin cut with strychnine, that has symptoms of poison appearing within 20 minutes?
WHY would anyone want powerful and agonising convulsions?
More about this white odorless powder below, which has its main use in rat poison.
As is the case with many substances from nature, the plants’ poisonous properties were known for centuries, long before chemists uncovered any active ingredients. (16)
Strychnine – a poisonous alkaloid that is obtained from seeds of the nux vomica tree and related plants of the genus Strychnos. The plant is found in southern Asia (India, Sri Lanka, East Indies) and Australia. The nux vomica tree of India is the chief commercial source.
It was discovered by the French chemists Joseph-Bienaimé Caventou and Pierre-Joseph Pelletier in 1818 in Saint-Ignatius’- beans (S. ignatii), a woody vine of the Philippines.
Strychnine has a molecular formula of C21H22N2O2. It is practically soluble in water and is soluble only with difficulty in Alcohol and other common organic solvents. It has an exceptionally bitter taste. (15)
Strychnine is a white, odorless, crystalline powder that can be taken by mouth inhaled (breathed in) or mixed in a solution and given intravenously (injected directly into a vein).
In the past, strychnine was available in pill form and was used to treat many human ailments. (17)
Chemists classify strychnine as an alkaloid, a nitrogen-atom containing naturally occurring compound. That puts strychnine in the same group as Morphine, Caffeine, Nicotine, Cocaine and other molecules too numerous to mention.
Today, Strychnine’s main use is in poison baits for rodents. (16)
In smaller doses it is used as a stimulant in veterinary practice. It increases the reflex irritability of the spinal cord, which results in a loss of normal inhibition of the body’s motor cells, causing severe contractions of the muscles; arching of the back is a common symptom of poisoning.
Strychnine rapidly enters the blood whether taken orally or by injection and symptoms of poisoning usually appear within 20 minutes. The symptoms begin with cramps and soon culminate in powerful and agonizing convulsions that subside after a minute but recur at a touch, a noise, or some other minor stimulus.
Death is usually due to asphyxiation resulting from continuous spasms of the respiratory muscles. (15)
Death can also come from brain damage and cardiac arrest among other reasons. (16)
Strychnine prevents the proper operation of the chemical that controls nerve signals to the muscles. The chemical controlling nerve signals works like the body’s “off switch” for muscles. When this “off switch” does not work correctly, muscles throughout the body have severe, painful spasms. Even though the person’s consciousness or thinking are not affected at first (except that the person is very excitable and in pain), eventually the muscles tire and the person cannot breathe. (17)
Historians attribute the very first recorded instance of drug use at the Olympics to strychnine.
Strychnine is also reputed to have been used for doping in the Tour de France. In 1959, the official Tour doctor intercepted a package of strychnine meant for one of the cycling teams. (16)
Other common names: Big H | Horse | Hell Dust | Smack | Thunder | Nose Drops (12, 13)
Origin of the word “Heroin”
Late 19th century: from German Heroin, from Latin heros ‘hero’ (because of its effects on the user’s self-esteem). (18)
How do People Use Heroin?
Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine – a practice called speedballing. (12)
The most common ways of using Heroin are:
- Injecting either into a vein (“maintaining” intravenous or IV use), into a muscle (intramuscular or IM use) or under the skin (“skin-popping” or subcutaneous use).
- Snorting the powder through the nose – also called sniffing
- Inhaling or smoking (“chasing the dragon”), which involves gently heating the Heroin on aluminium foil and inhaling the smoke and vapours through a tube. (19)
Who uses Heroin?
Heroin is used by a range of people from a variety of cultural, social, economic and age groups.
First time users tend to be in their teens or 20s but most people who use Heroin regularly are over age 30.
What are the Effects of Heroin?
Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping and breathing.
Prescription Opioids and Heroin
Prescription opioid pain medicines such as OxyContin and Vicodin have effects similar to heroin. Research suggests that misuse of these drugs may open the door to heroin use.
80% of those that used heroin – first misused prescription opioids
Recent data (2017) suggests that heroin is frequently the first opioid people use.
In a study of those entering treatment for Opioid Use Disorder, approximately one-third reported heroin as the first opioid they used regularly to get high.
People who use heroin report feeling a “rush” (a surge of pleasure or euporia). (12)
They can also experience hypothermia, where their body temperature is lower than normal; coma or death – due to overdose. (13)
How Heroin Makes You Feel
When Heroin is injected into a vein, it produces a surge of euphoria or “rush”. This feeling is not as intense when it is snorted or smoked. Following the rush, there is a period of sedation and tranquility known as being “on the nod”.
New users often experience nausea and vomiting. The desired effects include detachment from physical and emotional pain and a feeling of well-being.
The way Heroin affects you depends on many factors, which include:
- Your age
- How much and how often you take it
- How long you have been taking it
- The method you use to take it
- The environment you are in
- Whether or not you have pre-existing medical or psychiatric conditions
- Whether you have taken any alcohol or other drugs (illegal, prescription, over-the-counter or herbal).
How Long Does the Feeling Last?
When Heroin is injected into a vein, the rush is felt in 7 or 8 seconds and lasts from 45 seconds to a few minutes.
If Heroin is injected under the skin or into a muscle, the effect comes on slower, within 5 – 8 minutes. Someone may be “on the nod” for up to an hour. Regardless of how it is used, the effects of Heroin generally last for 3 – 5 hours, depending on the dose.
People who use Heroin daily must use every 6 – 12 hours to avoid symptoms of withdrawal. (19)
People who use heroin over the long term may develop:
- Collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
- Damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
- Constipation and stomach cramping
- Liver and Kidney disease
- Lung complications
- Mental disorders such as Depression and Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Sexual dysfunction for men
- Irregular menstrual cycles for Women (12)
- Bad teeth
- Inflammation of the gums
- Cold sweats
- Lack of appetite
- Respiratory (breathing) illnesses
- Muscular weakness, partial paralysis
- Reduced sexual capacity and long-term impotence in men
- Inability to achieve orgasm (women and men)
- Loss of memory and intellectual performance
- Pustules on the face
- Weakening of the immune system (13)
Tuberculosis can result from the general poor condition of the body.
Arthritis is another long-term result of heroin addiction. (13)
Other Potential Effects
Heroin often contains additives, such as sugar, starch or powdered milk that can clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys or brain causing permanent damage. Sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from drug use can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. (12)
Some additives are deadly and can kill a person within minutes. It is nearly impossible to tell what has been added to Heroin without conducting tests. Heroin and other illegal drugs may be laced with dangerous substances that are only identified after a tragic event occurs.
Babies born are often underweight, where Heroin has been used. If a mother uses Heroin while pregnant, the baby may be born physically addicted to Heroin. If this happens, the baby may experience neonatal abstinence syndrome*. They will need to detox and go through withdrawal after birth. (11)
*Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is what happens when babies are exposed to drugs in the womb before birth. Babies can then go through drug withdrawal after birth.
The syndrome most often applies to opioid medicines. (20)
Lifestyle Changes Caused by Heroin Addiction
A Heroin addiction may be hard to identify at first. Over time, addiction can become more noticeable as it takes over the user’s life. For example, it may seem like someone who is addicted to Heroin worries more about getting their next dose than anything else.
Other behaviour and lifestyle changes can accompany Heroin use.
Heroin injections leave needle marks, so many addicts wear long-sleeve clothing to hide the scars, even in warm weather. If they are worried their addiction will be exposed, they may withdraw from friends and family members. Their work and personal relationships may suffer.
Social and personal isolation is common among people with addiction.
People who are addicted to Heroin may also have trouble maintaining their health and personal hygiene. (11)
Regular use of Heroin can lead to Addiction within 2 – 3 weeks
Addiction signs include:
- Experiencing cravings
- Using over a longer period or using more than planned
- Wanting to quit, cut down or trying un-successfully to quit
- Using opioids in dangerous situations
- Needing to take more of the drug to get the same effect
- Tolerance – a sign of Physical Dependence
- Feeling ill when opioid use suddenly stops
- Withdrawal – a sign of Physical Dependence
- Showing signs of opioid intoxication (e.g., nodding off, pinpoint pupils)
- Giving up activities that were once enjoyable
- Spending a lot of time and effort getting, using and recovering from opioids
- Continuing to use opioids despite the negative social consequences caused
- Failing to fulfill responsibilities at work, school or home as a result of opioid use.
Not all people who experiment with Heroin become addicted. Some people use the drug only on occasion, such as weekends, without increasing the dose. However, with regular use, people develop tolerance and they need more of the drug to achieve the same effects. This leads to physical dependence on Heroin.
Once someone is dependent, stopping their use can be extremely difficult. People who have used Heroin for a long time often report that they no longer experience any pleasure from the drug. They continue to use Heroin to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal and to control their craving for the drug. (19)
A heroin overdose occurs when a person uses enough of the drug to produce a life-threatening reaction or death. Heroin overdoses have increased in recent years.
When people overdose on heroin, their breathing often slows or stops. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can have short and long-term mental effects and effects on the nervous system, including coma and permanent brain damage.
Treatment for heroin overdose is the medicine Naloxone if given immediately. It works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors and blocking the effects of heroin and other opioid drugs. Sometimes more than one dose is needed to help start the breathing again, which is why it is important to get the person to a doctor or emergency department in hospital to receive additional support.
Naloxone is available as an injectable (needle) solution, a handheld auto-injector and a nasal spray. Friends, family and others in the community can use the auto-injector and nasal spray versions of naloxone to save someone who is overdosing.
The rising number of opioid overdose deaths has led to an increase in public health efforts to make naloxone available to at-risk persons and their families, as well as first responders and others in the community. Some states have passed laws that allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription from a person’s personal doctor. (12)
The risk of overdose is increased by:
- The unknown purity of the drug, which makes it difficult to determine the correct dose
- Injection, because the drug reaches the brain more quickly than by other ways of taking the drug and because the dose is taken all at once
- Combining Heroin with other sedating drugs, such as Alcohol, benzodiazepines or methadone (19)
HEROIN IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE
People who regularly use heroin often develop a tolerance, which means that they need higher and or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects. (12)
It took a long time for the medical profession to realise the full danger of Heroin addiction.
Very little time passed after the drug had become readily available before the underworld and smugglers discovered that Heroin possessed properties even beyond those of other narcotics, which have since made it the main drug of addiction in many parts of the world.
The analgesic and euphoric properties of Heroin are much greater per gram than those of morphine – for example.
There is no depression of the alimentary tract as is found in morphine. Whereas morphine usually is administered by a hypodermic needle, Heroin can be sniffed into the system. This is an important fact since many people are, to start with, repelled by the use of a hypodermic needle. However, persons addicted to Heroin soon come to use it hypodermically and even intravenously. As the sensible effect wanes with increasing addiction, they try larger doses and more drastic methods of self-administration, always trying to recapture the stimulation of the drug.
The addiction forming properties of Heroin are more pronounced even than those of morphine. (21)
Who on earth comes up with names like Hell Dust, Smack and Thunder?
What makes someone take a cocktail of Heroin with Crack Cocaine, which is called Speedballing ?
Read our in depth article on The Real Truth about Cocaine to know and understand the absolute harm of what crack cocaine does to our human body. ADD it to Heroin and it does not require any imagination or Intelligence1 to know it is a potent killer.
No point mincing our words – we need to all be asking WHY do we need even stronger drugs to do the job of numbing our pain or seeking the so-called enjoyment?
How bad is the pain and where on earth did we get the Solution – i.e. drug of choice to avoid and move away from the deep hurt we feel and ADD even more pain, misery and agony which all comes as a result of drug addiction? Let us not be Fooled if we honestly think Drugs are not going to keep us going back for more of the same to get the desired effect we are seeking.
What has happened over time is that we want to mix things up as one drug just ain’t cutting it, so we go for Alcohol and Heroin or Crack Cocaine. There seems to be nothing that stops us spiraling down the road of addiction even when we hit rock bottom. We never Question it and those that want out can get treatment but how many really turn their lives around once they have years of Heroin running the show, so to speak?
How serious is it when we know this drug enters the brain ‘rapidly’ and it goes straight to the location of feelings of pain and pleasure? What is that telling us and are we understanding what we have produced here called Heroin?
Reminder – we as human beings, the so-called most Intelligent2 species on this plane of life we call Earth made up this recipe known as Heroin so we could ingest it and get our pain erased and replace it with pleasure, but we forgot it comes at a cost. Money is one thing but the real cost is what it does to the human body.
Common sense would tell us that we never would even entertain a thought of giving our children a drug to ingest that would control their heart rate, Sleep and their breathing. We would insist and stop anyone from doing so as it would not be natural and our kids need to be raised without the intervention or imposition of any substance. So how come we think it is ok to do it as teenagers or in our early 20s?
What can we learn if we read between the lines, so to speak when we are told that the large majority started off mis-using prescription Opioids and then went on to use Heroin?
Is it because the regular prescription stuff was not cutting it and doing the job and a stronger higher state of euphoria is desired?
We can all learn from the data presented and that is available to us. For example a study mentioned above tells us a third entering treatment used Heroin regularly to get high.
A side note but relevant here – our dictionary definition about it being now and then, which means ‘occasional’ when it comes to taking Heroin or other drugs under the banner of “recreational” makes no sense.
Because data tells us many users used Heroin regularly to get a high.
Could it be that the high hit is needed often, as the craving of pleasure becomes the antidote to forget the pain that continues to be just under the surface? It is like we park the pain to one side or bury it deeper inside us and cover it up with these short bursts of feeling or a state of excitement and happiness – that is what the dictionary definition is on the word Euphoria.
We get told that new users often experience nausea and vomiting.
Hello – is that because our body is communicating in the form that it can to say “no thanks mate, I have to reject this poison you are making me ingest”? Read on incase it got missed in the above transcript. Our desire to get the following effects seem to outweigh the body throwing up, so to speak:
- Detachment from physical and emotional pain
- A feeling of well-being (19)
This tells us that we take Heroin to remove ourselves from pain, be it physical, emotional or both. But most of us do know that it does not deal with the pain that is being presented to us by our body, hence why we chose a form of self-medication and this case it is Heroin to take the pain away. So where does the pain actually go and is taking Heroin like a way to postpone what is coming up and in our face to deal with?
What is the feeling of well-being described above in the narrative?
As a world we are way off the mark when it comes to a one-unified truth about any word and that means we do not all agree it means the same thing and furthermore, if we do our own research online and in the big volumes of different dictionaries, we will find they will not all say the same thing.
Those who use Heroin must use it every 6 – 12 hours and if they don’t they will get withdrawal symptoms.
So going back again on the previous commentary – how can it be possible to take this drug recreationally when it is highly addictive and it requires a top up every 6 – 12 hours?
For those who may have missed it – the dictionary tells us recreational is using the drugs occasionally and not whilst working.
No point mincing our words here because we ALL know it is simply not possible to take Heroin or any drug under the banner of ‘recreational use’ and expect the user to not become addicted.
To keep it very Simple – if we are seeking a drug to numb us, distract us and avoid, bury or forget about the pain we are feeling, can we be Honest enough to say it will not be the real answer, because drugs by their very nature will become addictive?
Another thing we do ALL know but may choose to forget is once we like something or it feels good, be it sugar, Caffeine, Tobacco, Alcohol, Heroin, Cocaine, Cannabis or Methamphetamines to name a few, we just want more of the same, because we like the feeling – the results after ingesting our drug of choice.
The thing is, before we realise or become aware of our repetitive behaviour, we are in deep and we then have the long-term habit which of course comes with side effects. YES even sugar and Caffeine come with long term effects if we make them our daily drug of choice.
Back to Heroin and the narrative above where we have a list of long-term effects.
Insomnia – so we get the so-called feeling of ‘well-being’ but how can that be true if we are not able to Sleep?
The drug itself is administered using an injection or it can be sniffed or snorted. Doing this over and over again leads to collapsed veins and damage to the nasal tissue, but the Heroin user would not want to know as they need the next hit and that is all that engages them in life.
A Heroin user is looking for the money to pay for the next dose of Heroin so they are not interested if they have Lung complications, Mental Disorders or liver and Kidney disease. This is not a judgement or a critique in any way – just mere facts being expressed that we ALL know but some would rather not Say It as It Is.
People who have used Heroin for a long time often report that they no longer experience any pleasure from the drug. However, they continue to use Heroin to AVOID the symptoms of withdrawal and to control their craving for the drug. (19)
We need to all wake up and listen up to what has just been repeated. The Heroin user who is addicted, no longer gets the hit, the high, the euphoria or whatever pleasure it was seeking, but they have to continue because coming off the drug is far worse for them to experience. THIS IS SERIOUS.
Just incase it got missed amongst all those words – this bit is also SERIOUS
It is nearly impossible to tell what has been added to Heroin.
Heroin and other illegal drugs may be laced with dangerous substances that are only identified after a tragic event occurs. (11)
Read our in depth expose about Cocaine and watch the documentaries to gain further insight into what goes into making illegal drugs.
Heroin has a precursor called acetic anhydride and that has been covered in detail earlier in this article.
Add to the SERIOUS section the following:
If a mother uses Heroin while pregnant, the baby may be born addicted to Heroin. (11)
A baby is often born underweight if the mother uses Heroin whilst pregnant.
More SERIOUS stuff to Add
Social and Personal isolation is common among people with Heroin addiction
Those addicted to Heroin can have trouble maintaining health and personal hygiene. (11)
REGULAR USE OF HEROIN CAN LEAD TO ADDICTION WITHIN 2 – 3 WEEKS (19)
It would be wise to go back and re-read the list of Addiction signs.
Next – let us not be Fooled in any way whatsoever that some people only use Heroin on the weekends and they are cool and ok with that dose.
This needs to be called out as we get told that regular use means people develop tolerance and that means they need more of the drug to achieve the same effects. This is what leads to the physical dependence of Heroin or another drug of choice.
Anyone using Heroin on occasion, such as weekends for ‘enjoyment’ as that is what the word recreational tells us it is, may find that they took it in the first place because they felt something was missing in their life or they wanted to bury or numb the pain they have inside of them. No drug and that includes Heroin is going to be the magic potion to erase the feelings that we do not want or the physical pain that keeps presenting itself.
What we can ask is – what happens on the weekdays for the Heroin weekend user?
Are there different forms of self medication, be it milder Drugs of choice or other behaviours we adopt to deal with the un-settlement and tension that is felt from living daily life?
These types of Questions are important and cannot be negated if we are to ever get to the root cause of WHY anyone of us chooses to take Heroin.
WHY have Heroin overdoses increased in recent years?
Do we need to wait for more research studies to tell us or can we work it out with a bit of common sense and the content in this article?
How serious does it get when an overdose causes a decrease in oxygen to the brain, which can lead to long-term mental effects, coma and permanent brain damage?
Of course, we as so-called intelligent human beings have Solutions for everything and that we could say is great – but is it really?
Handing out auto-injectors and nasal sprays to friends and family to save someone who has taken an overdose may not be the true approach going forward, if we are to ever turn the tides and see a downward turn in any opioid overdose.
We need Another Way as our current way has confirmed over and over again it is not working. We only need to check the stats to know this, as our world has an Opioid epidemic and that means things are getting worse and we are not on the front foot with our Solutions.
More on our SERIOUS commentary
Heroin possessed properties even beyond those of other narcotics, which have since made it the main drug of addiction in many parts of the world. (21)
As the effect wanes with increasing addiction, the Heroin user takes larger doses and more drastic methods of self-administration, always trying to re-capture the stimulation of the drug. (21)
The addiction forming properties of Heroin are more pronounced than morphine and anyone that has had medical surgery would know that morphine is a powerful pain medication. So can we consider and contemplate something more here…?
Morphine is used as post-operative medication and that means it helps us with the extreme pain we have after surgery. So how numbing must Heroin be if we are told it is “more pronounced” and many users are taking this daily.
So what kind of pain are they enduring and why are we so centred on Solutions and not finding the root cause, so we can nail this and remove it from the radar, so to speak? Surely as a species who created and produced such products, we are EQUALLY equipped to gather all the knowledge and know how on this planet to find a way – Another Way. In other words, we created this so then we can find the answers and get to the bottom of it and remove it once and for All.
Heroin produces a dis-regard for the conventions and morals of civilization and these symptoms progress more rapidly than with other habit-forming drugs. (21)
- What is this telling us about Heroin?
- Is it making any real sense to us?
- Do we need to read between the lines?
WHY does Heroin produce a dis-regard for the conventions and morals of civilization?
WHY do these so-called ‘symptoms’ progress more rapidly than other drugs?
We can then look more closely at what meaning is given to some key words:
Pay no attention to; ignore
Leave out of consideration (22)
A way in which something is usually done
Behaviour that is considered acceptable or polite to most members of a society (23)
Standards of behaviour (24)
Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour (25)
Moral refers to what societies sanction as right and acceptable (26)
The stage of human social and cultural development and organization that is considered most advanced. (27)
What is it about this particular drug that induces behaviour where the user ignores and pays no attention and gives no consideration to the rules and regulations that are imposed on them by society?
Does the dis-regard have to start with ‘self’ first – in other words to seek out any harmfull substance, one is already in some form of dis-regard?
Does this make sense?
Why is a Heroin user ignoring the behaviour that the masses consider are polite and acceptable?
Why are they going against convention – what we would call ‘normal behaviour’ that most members of society subscribe and align to?
Are they feeling that how most of us live everyday, with our nice and polite costumes on, may not be the true way of human life?
Are we blaming the drug or is there something deeper behind the scenes going on for the Heroin user?
Why does anyone choose Heroin as their drug or choice and not another illicit drug?
Is there more to this than what we are currently aware of through science and evidence-based intelligence?
Why does a Heroin user go against the standards of behaviour expected of them by this world we live in?
What is it about being right or wrong that brings an aversion to the Heroin user?
In other words what is it about the morals we all live and abide by that they reject?
Why are Heroin users on the road where they do not consider the sanctions that society imposes, when it comes to what is right and what is acceptable?
What is it about this particular drug user that brings about a rapid progress of ignoring what society wants them to be and how they want them to behave?
In other words, how come Heroin is not like other drugs and why do users display signs of neglect when it comes to how they need to behave in society?
We are at a stage in our civilization where we are considered advanced and if we are to be Honest – are we really, as we don’t seem to understand or know?
Would knowing more of WHY this is happening with Heroin users support us to truly advance and that means evolution for All?
Is this possible or is this telling us we may not be as advanced as we like to think we are, as we have not worked out the answers to this particular drug or any other illicit drug currently circulating throughout the world?
Heroin addiction is the most difficult to cure (21)
We spend literally billions and billions but we are no where near ending our so-called war on Drugs.
We seem to think that our Solutions will one day work and turn things around but history has shown us over and over again, things are getting worse and we are not on the front foot when it comes to nailing and finding out the root cause of WHY anyone starts on the ill road to drug taking.
We have amassed enormous amounts of literature, findings, theories, scientific based research, this and that plus knowledge but we ain’t cracked it yet. That is why we have this bold statement above spelling out that Heroin happens to be the most difficult drug to cure. Why do we not just go basic and Simple and ask the Question WHY and see what unfolds from there?
What if we ended all research and took a stop moment and turned to common sense and then asked some wise ones walking in our world – call them the elders in the community? They have lived, they have life experience, most do have some kind of common sense and they have clocked what is going on. Perhaps they could offer us some much needed wisdom, so that we change direction in our line of enquiry.
What we do know is good old fashion common sense does hold value for some of us as it is Simple and not full of fancy words, theory or the sprinkle of our modern day intelligence.
Sudden withdrawal may lead to cramps, convulsions and even to death from respiratory failure. The post-convalescent treatment, both psychological and physical is longer and more difficult than with morphine. (21)
A substance use disorder (SUD) is when continued use of the drug causes issues, such as health problems and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school or home. An SUD can range from mild to severe, the most severe form being addiction. Those who are addicted to heroin and stop using the drug abruptly may have severe withdrawal.
Withdrawal symptoms, which can begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken, include:
- severe muscle and bone pain
- Sleep problems
- diarrhea and vomiting
- cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”)
- uncontrollable leg movements (“kicking the habit”)
- severe heroin cravings
Researchers are studying the long-term effects of opioid addiction on the brain.
Studies have shown some loss of the brain’s white matter associated with heroin use, which may affect decision making, behaviour control and responses to stressful situations.
There are medicines being developed to help with the withdrawal process.
The FDA approved Iofexidine – a non-opioid medicine, designed to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. (12)
We have been told that Heroin is highly addictive.
This section tells us that continued use creates what is called ‘substance use disorder’. (SUD)
If the drug is highly addictive, which Heroin is, then chances are the user is going to be in the severe category of SUD. This means they will find it very difficult to withdraw from their behaviour because of the ill effects. What is worth noting from the list of withdrawal symptoms is the fact that they have severe Heroin cravings. That in itself will make it very hard to give up and renounce.
Back to even more SERIOUS stuff
Studies have shown loss of brain white matter associated with Heroin use (12)
WHY is this not making any sense?
We make a choice to ingest Heroin and it has a profound affect on our brain – the part dealing with behavior, decisions and our response to Stress.
How ironic is this – if Heroin affects decision making, how can the user make any responsible decision for their health and wellbeing?
But before we go any further – it is worth reminding the reader that all drugs alter the state of our mind and there is no getting away from that immutable fact?
Medicines to help people stop using heroin include buprenorphine and methadone. They work by binding to the same opioid receptors in the brain as heroin but more weakly, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Another treatment is naltrexone, which blocks opioid receptors and prevents opioid drugs from having an effect. A NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) study found that once treatment is initiated, both a buprenorphine/naloxone combination and an extended release naltrexone formulation are similarly effective in addiction. Initiating treatment among active users was difficult because full detoxification is necessary for treatment with naloxone. Once detoxification is complete, both medications had similar effectiveness.
Behavioral therapists for heroin addiction include methods called cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps modify the patient’s drug-use expectations and behaviours and helps effectively manage triggers and stress.
Contingency management provides motivational incentives, such as vouchers or small cash rewards for positive behaviors such as staying drug-free. These behavioral treatment approaches are especially effective when used along with medicines. (12)
This is super SERIOUS
Medicines used to help people stop using Heroin include Methadone and Buprenorphine. (12)
Time to wake up world – pay attention here
YES you read correctly – both the so-called medicines mentioned to support Heroin users are actually OPIOIDS.
So we are using the same category of drugs to deal with coming off the drug.
The government website classifies buprenorphine as HIGH POTENCY OPIOIDS and methadone as MEDIUM potency opioids which is in the same category as morphine. (28)
This example may help to bring about what this means.
Give our children with Obesity and Diabetes a different form of sugar, in the hope it will deal with their addiction to sugar and help them to come off sugar.
Surely the body knows this game and we all know, if we applied good old fashion common sense that it will not work and if it did, we would have the big pharmaceutials and politicians telling us they won the war on drugs.
Next – let us not dismiss that our governments are labelling and making the categorization here that a drug classified as high potency and one as medium potency is somehow going to help a Heroin addict.
Next – are we going about it in a true way when we dish out stuff in the name of ‘motivation’? Are we going to see down the road, if we track the users, if it really does work when we give a Heroin addict cash rewards for positive behaviour?
Are we introducing another form of ill behaviour that is again going to lead to another form of addiction. In other words, they get addicted to wanting a reward for anything they do that we call ‘positive’?
Is it time to wake up, that behaving in a natural way is not something that requires any form of reward whatsoever?
It needs to be our way of being and living and until we get to this point, we could say we are not really evolving out of this.
Heroin use is driven by its low cost and high availability (25)
One main factor that contributes to the popularity of a drug is availability.
While efforts to reduce the availability of prescription opioid analgesics have begun to show success, the supply of heroin has been increasing. Prescription opioids and heroin have similar chemical properties and physiological impacts; when administered by the same method (i.e., ingested or injected), there is no real difference for the user.
It is not clear whether the increased availability of heroin is causing the upsurge in use or if the increased accessibility of heroin has been caused by increased demand. Studies have suggested that transitioning from abuse of prescription opioids to heroin, cite that heroin is cheaper, more available and provides a better high.
The street price of heroin has been much lower in recent years than in past decades. In addition to these market forces, some have reported that the transition from opioid pills to heroin was eased by sniffing or smoking heroin before transitioning to injection.
94% used Heroin because prescription opioids were ‘far more expensive and harder to obtain’. (Unick et al., 2014) (Mars et al., 2014) (Cicero et al., 2014) (29)
Heroin use is driven by its low cost and high availability (29)
We are told it is not clear how this has happened.
If we stick to basic economics, we may get an indication about supply and demand.
There has to be first and foremost a demand and this will then determine how the suppliers meet that demand. The “upsurge in use” needs to be questioned and it is quite simple to join the dots and ascertain that those involved in the supply chain will do what it takes to make Heroin super accessible (high availability) and as with any product if they have big orders, chances are the costs can be driven down (low cost). This is basic business commerce and nothing more.
Next – do we really need to spend more time, money and resources on research studies to tell us moving from prescription opioids to Heroin is cheaper, easily available and provides a bigger high? Note here that we do have the stats saying 94% of those that use Heroin were saying prescription opioids were far more expensive and harder to obtain so it confirms and makes sense. End.
A highly addictive drug known as “cheese heroin” is a blend of black tar Mexican heroin and over the counter cold medications. It is called ‘black tar’ because of its colour.
The drug costs only a few dollars for a hit.
Children age 9 hooked on Cheese Heroin have been rushed to hospital emergency rooms for Heroin withdrawal.
The combination of the two drugs can cause vital body functions such as breathing and heartbeat to slow down, resulting in death. (13)
Heroin Assisted Treatment
Supervised injectable heroin (SIH) treatment is an important intensive second-line treatment for entrenched heroin addicts for whom previous orthodox treatments (i.e. oral methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) or residential rehabilitation) have produced little benefit. This treatment by its very nature attracts attention and controversy.
Supervised injectable heroin treatment was developed and initially introduced in Switzerland during the 1990s after a century of prescribing heroin for the treatment of addiction without direct supervision – mostly in the UK. (30)
This completes the first part of our book – THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT HEROIN
There is much more to present including the History of Heroin and why it is so prevalent today in our so-called advanced and intelligent world.
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