Heroin is one of the most dangerous illicit drugs that a person can abuse. The effect that it can have on brain chemistry makes it very easy to become addicted and very difficult to return to sobriety. Heroin use has been on the rise for the past several years with over half a million people seeking treatment for heroin addictions every year. The history and the effects that it has on the body contribute greatly to this trend.
History of Heroin
Heroin was introduced to the world in 1898 almost accidentally. The Bayer company in Germany invented the substance as a possible cure for tuberculosis and as a morphine replacement. Morphine was highly abused at that time and scientists thought that heroin could be a “non-addictive” way to wean addicts off Morphine. Heroin was highly abused by soldiers during the Vietnam war because of its easy availability. In the 1990s, Heroin became associated with the AIDS crisis as an easy way to pass the disease to another person.
The Effects of Heroin
Heroin is a fine white powder that can be injected, smoked or sniffed into the body. On the first few uses, the user will feel an intense, euphoric high that they will try to recreate during subsequent. The body builds up a tolerance to heroin and as a result, it takes more of the drug to reach the desired effect. This increase causes heroin addiction. Withdrawal symptoms for heroin are very painful and life-threatening, discouraging people from completing treatment for the disease.
Availability of Heroin
It is estimated that over 9.2 million people in the world take heroin and every year the numbers increase on every continent. Heroin is one of the more inexpensive drugs, making it easily accessible to a variety of demographics.
Increase in Heroin Use
Since 2007, Heroin use has more than doubled in the United States in all demographics. In 2013, heroin claimed four times as many lives as it did in 2000. Experts believe it could be related to the increase in prescription opioid ddiction and the fact that heroin is relatively cheap to purchase. Although it used to have a stigma as a drug for the low-income populations, heroin has emerged as a popular drug of choice for high classes of people.
Finding Treatment for Heroin Addiction
It is important to realize that any addiction can be overcome with the right treatment and help from a medical professional. Contact a local heroin rehabilitation center if you believe a loved one may be suffering from a heroin addiction.