A drug can be any substance, which can modify the functions of every living organism that consumes it. In medical terms, drugs provide instant but temporary relief from several unhealthy symptoms. Drugs such as Heroin produce many unwanted side effects. They are extremely toxic and can lead to a very unhealthy dependency that has behavioral and physiological roots, both. Heroin has lasting health consequences; it can also lead to death. The purpose of this essay is to provide a literature review of causes and consequences of heroin abuse and addiction. Our culture surrounds abuse of the heroin substance that leads to diseases and other problems indirectly.
A Literature review on Heroin Abuse and Addiction
Excessive use of painkillers and other relief providing substances lead to addiction. There is a fine line between substance abuse and substance addiction. Addiction can be any inherited disease and it makes an individual ill at a particular genetic level. The abuse of any substance leads to the substance addiction. Addictive drugs and alcohol are the painkillers as they kill an emotional or physical pain, chemically. The perception of reality of an individual's mind is altered by these substances. A person gets attracted towards these substances (drugs) to temporarily run away from an underlying happiness, physical pain or sense of hopelessness. Throughout the world we find so many countries that have a higher rate of substance abuse (drugs, heroin or alcohol). Teenagers are more into these activities. They are unaware of the consequences of heroin abuse and addiction. According to www.milestonesranch.com,
"Common patterns include people-pleasing, intimidation, seduction, displaced anger, excessive anxiety, blame, disrespect, caretaking, and self-pity. They are intimately connected with substance use -- often as either a result of addiction or the cause of addiction."
Throughout this essay, I will highlight the causes, consequences, statistical analysis and the description of the problems caused due to heroin abuse and addiction. The abuse and addiction of this substance is mostly found among the teenagers and they are unaware of the painful consequences of heroine addiction.
Types of Drugs
Drug can be any substance that modifies the functions of any living organism. There are three types of drugs namely the Stimulant Drugs, the Depressant Drugs and the Psychedelic Drugs.
"Depressant drugs, including alcohol and opiates, are among the oldest drugs known and used by man. Appropriately prescribed opiates ease the crippling effects of pain. Most people who need them respond well to them."(Landry, 1994, p. 55).
What are Opiates?
In March 2010, the National Institute on Drug Abuse stated:
"Opiates are a group of drugs which are used medically to relieve pain, but also have a high potential for abuse."
Some of these opiates come from the residue of the seed pod of Asian poppy. Drugs like heroin, codeine, opium and morphine are a part of this group. Opium is in the form of dark brown chunks, heroin is a powder either brownish or white in color. It is first dissolved in water and taken through an injection. Heroin prepared on streets is either diluted or it is "cut" along with other substances, for example quinine or sugar. Opiates are also available in the form of syrups, tablets, solutions, capsules and suppositories.
Abuse of Opiates
In the United States of America, ninety percent of the opiate abuse is accounted by heroin. Opiates that have legal medicinal uses are also abused; these include paregoric, meperidine, cough syrups and morphine. The abuse of opiates is simply for relaxation. The user of opiates feels restlessness, vomiting or nausea. He or she feels alert and drowsy, going back and forth. Often large doses of opiates are consumed and that makes the user to sleep for a very long time. A continuous use of high doses of opiates makes skin moist, cold and bluish in color. Death may occur as the breathing slows down.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a highly addictive drug. It is processed from a naturally occurring substance, morphine. This substance is extracted from a seed pod of poppy plants. Heroine is cut with sugar, quinine, strychnine and other poisons. Injecting an overdose of heroine may cause death as most of the users are unaware of the true contents and strength of this drug. Heroine causes transmission of diseases like HIV as injection equipments are shared among the users.
Administration and Distribution of Heroin
The common ways of consuming drugs can be defined as, "Administration refers to how the drug enters the body (for example ingestion, inhalation, injection or absorption)" (Steve & Ames, 2001, p. 4). There are alternative methods of using heroin. It can be injected, smoked or sniffed. The distribution of heroin refers to the efficient movement of the drug throughout the body. The distribution of heroin is influenced by the solubility and size of the molecules of the heroin. Here by solubility we mean the factors such as water, protein and fat-bound. It is a general rule that "The rate of entry of a drug in to the brain is determined by the fat solubility of the drug" (Julien, 1998). The entry rate of heroin is faster only if its fat solubility is greater. On the other hand, penicillin, which is a high ionized drug, poorly penetrates in to the blood brain barrier. Heroine exerts its effects within seven to eight minutes. A little diluted form of heroine takes four to five minutes to exert its effects. The user immediately feels drowsy and most of the user is unaware of his or her surroundings. According to recent statistical analysis, the non-daily users consume heroin through injection and they are less into heroin sniffing. On the other hand, daily users are habitual of smoking heroin and less into injecting and sniffing. "Certain groups, such as White suburbanites in the Denver area, report smoking or inhaling heroin because they believe that these routes of administration are less likely to lead to addiction" (NIDA, 2005)
Statistical Analysis of Heroin Abuse and Addiction
Causes of Heroin Abuse and Addiction
There are several ways that one can become addicted to heroin. It can happen in several ways and the only way to address this addiction is to seek a professional treatment.
"Addiction may be due to a combination of genetic, drug-induced and environmental (including behavioral) factors and also, that atypical stress responsively may contribute to the acquisition and persistence of, as well as relapse to, use of addictive drugs" (Kreek, 2000, p. 186).
Use of Heroin to Escape from Everyday Problems
Commonly Heroin is used to escape from daily problems. This is a primary reason of using heroin. Once an individual tries to avoid or wants to forget everyday problems for some time, he or she uses heroin. It gives a pleasure and the user feels relaxed. Here begins the heroin abuse that later turns in to addiction. A survey was conducted among adolescents that gave surprising results regarding heroin abuse and addiction. "When asked how prescription opioids were obtained for nonmedical use, more than half of the 12th graders surveyed said they were given the drugs or bought them from a friend or relative. Interestingly, the number of students who purchased opioids over the Internet was negligible" (NIDA, 2011).
Recreational Heroin Abuse
As mentioned above, most of the heroin users initiate using it among their friends. They inhale or inject heroin for fun along with their friends. This heroin abuse later turns into an addiction. Such users are called as recreational users. They gradually start taking a very high dose of heroin and that leads to higher tolerance. "A heroin dependent state can be achieved after a relatively short period of time depending on the purity of the drug" (Fernandez, 1998, p. 59).
The Extended use of Heroin
There are two options for the one, who uses heroin; either to become addicted or to quit. An individual could become addicted to heroin if he or she uses it for a longer time period. When ever that individual gets a chance to use heroine, he or she will definitely avail it. In other words the individual falls prey to the heroin addiction. "Drugs can alter important brain areas that are necessary for life-sustaining functions and can drive the compulsive drug abuse that marks addiction" (NIDA, 2010).
Suppress Pain through Heroin
Heroin addiction is a great way to suppress pain. It is not at all an effective way for getting over some emotional traumas. These emotional traumas affect the life of an individual and to suppress his or her emotions or pain, the individual uses heroin. "For a subcutaneous injection, the user inserts the needle into a fleshy part of the body, most often the arm. A "pull back" is then performed" (Moraes, 2000, p. 51).
Consequences of Heroin Abuse and Addiction
Heroin addiction has bad consequences. It causes the central nervous system to slow down. Eventually this can cause the rate of heart beat to slow down as well and the blood pressure can drop. The…