Heroin is a derivative of the drug morphine, which is a popular painkiller. Heroin is made from poppy and contains many opiates. These opiates, when ingested, are known to influence receptors in the brain which results in altered states of pain and emotions with an accompanied change in breathing.
Diacetylmorphine is the compound present in heroin that characterizes its properties. It was discovered in the year 1874 by Alder Wright during his quest to find a compound that is more potent than morphine. Morphine is by itself a strong narcotic that dulls mental abilities, causes grogginess, and impairs vision. Prolonged and continuous use of morphine causes the body to adjust chemically to its presence. The body's response to absence of morphine manifests as violent physical reactions and these are referred to as withdrawal symptoms. This is a clear indication that the body is addicted to morphine. However, for the body to recover, both the addictions require medical treatment.
Heroin is available as a white powder, brown powder, or as a black sticky substance. Heroin is almost three times as powerful, affects the body and the mind in much the same way, and elicits the same response in the body as morphine. Heroin is used either by sniffing the powder or by snorting. It can also be intravenously or intramuscularly injected. Whatever be the method, the user gets a high in about 15 minutes. An individual who is more dependent is usually more tolerant to the drug. In other words, it takes a larger quantity of the drug to provide the same 'high'.
Some statistics about heroin use are listed below: Heroin is also known as smack, brown sugar, mud tar, etc., in slang terms. Classified as a Schedule I narcotic, Heroin does not have any kind of medicinal value. It is illegal to possess heroin in the United States. Any individual who is found possessing heroin can be arrested, fined, or put behind bars. The time period and the amount of fine are dependent on the quantity of heroin that was found on the person. A first time heroin user's average age was 20.7 years in 2009. The average age has reduced since the past. Every year, more people claim to have used heroin at least once in the previous month just before the study is conducted. Surveys have also indicated that the number of teenagers who have reported use of heroin in their lifetime has decreased from 3.1 percent in 2001 to 2.4 percent. The number of people in the United States who have claimed to have used heroin at least once during their lifetime is a staggering 3.8 million. In the 1.2 million 'sometime' users in the United States, about 208,000 are habituated users. Men have more chances of developing an addiction for heroin when compared to women. Every two out of a hundred 12th graders have admitted to have used heroin at least once during their high school term. About a third of 12th graders say heroin is easily available near their schools. A single dose of heroin costs anything between $10 and $25. A heroin dependent person uses up to 150 to 250 mg per day in about three doses. A heroin addict spends about two hundred dollars a day to support his/her addiction. It is estimated that 13.3 metric tons of heroin were consumed by the Americans in 2000.Up to 23% of prisoners in state prisons and 17% of prisoners in the Federal prisons have admitted to using heroin. Heroin from South America is most prevalent in the United States. Though the United States has only about 4% of the world's population, it consumes approximately 80% of the world's supply of opioids. The price of 1 gram of high quality heroin averaged between $150 and $175 in the year 2011.The highest numbers of heroin users were from the states of California, Arkansas, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Oregon in the year 2011.Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota reported the lowest numbers of users in 2011.Heroin withdrawal symptoms usually occur after about six to eight hours following the previous dose. Withdrawal symptoms can last from a few days to weeks.
Some facts about heroin addiction treatment: Heroin addiction problem in the United States reached its peak in the 1970s and 80s.Heroin addicts can be found in all economic classes, across sexes, different races, age groups, and cultures. Heroin is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world as it is easily available. For the same reason, addiction is more common and the number of heroin rehabilitation programs are more than one would find for morphine. A survey conducted in the year 2000 revealed that the amount of money spent by the U. S. government on heroin addiction and associated costs is almost $15 to $20 billion per year. This heavy cost includes the money spent on treating medical conditions that come with intravenous drug use such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. It is reported that no more than 7 to 8 percent of heroin addicts receive professional treatment to get rid of their addiction. Studies reveal that around 600,000 people need medical treatment for heroin addiction as of the year 2011.The average age of heroin addicts admitted for treatment in the year 2007 was 35 years.
Statistics related to heroin overdose are listed below: Heroin overdose is usually not the cause of immediate death. In cases of overdose, death is slow and includes symptoms such as slow and shallow breathing, tongue or lip discoloration, accompanied by drowsiness. Death typically occurs over a few hours. Teenagers as young as 13 years old have been found to be heroin abusers. Over a tenth of the 1.5 million emergency room patient visits due to drug abuse or overdose were attributed to heroin users in the year 2005.Over half of the accidental deaths that occurred due to drug abuse or overdose in the year 2008 involved the use of heroin. Heroin overdose rates have grown at double-digit rates for man and women over the age of 35 all over the world. The fourth leading cause of death in the age group of people between 25 and 49 is due to overdose of illicit drugs. Heroin overdose is seen to have resulted in more number of deaths than traffic accidents. More than 80 percent of heroin overdose victims were alone when found by paramedics.