Heroin Abuse

Heroin is considered one of the most addictive and lethal drugs in the world. While it is used in medicine for pain relief, it is most commonly taken recreationally for its euphoric effects. The drug is usually injected into a vein but can also be snorted or smoked.

Street names include dope, dragon, black tar, chiba, and smack.

Chronic heroin use leads to severe health problems, such as collapsed veins, heart lining and valve infection, liver disease, tuberculosis, and lung infection. Because it is usually taken by needle, users are at higher risk of transmitting HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne diseases.

Heroin withdrawal is usually extreme and includes symptoms like muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes. It can occur within a few hours from the last time the drug was taken. Symptoms peak between 24-48 hours after the drug’s last use and subside after a week. Those seeking treatment should consider a medically supervised detox.

Signs of Heroin Addiction:

  • Injection sites or infections
  • Scarred and collapsed veins
  • Disorientation or poor mental functioning
  • Constricted pupils
  • Depressed respiration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Arthritis and other rheumatologic problems
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Spontaneous miscarriage
  • Little or no motivation
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Stealing money and valuables

Signs of a Heroin Overdose:

  • Coma
  • Shallow and labored breathing
  • Respiratory arrest (stopped breathing)
  • Convulsions
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Clammy skin

Contact Fort Lauderdale Behavioral Health Center at 954-734-2001 if you or a loved one has a heroin abuse issue. We have many treatment options for drug addiction and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to schedule no cost assessments.

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