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Substance Abuse: Heroin

Substance abuse means abusing the power of various drugs, alcohol or chemicals to the point at which the user can’t stop. This can usually result in physical, mental and/or emotional harm to the users and others. Teenagers are more in the risk of the substance abuse as they don’t acknowledge the consequences of their actions; the reason is the biological and psychological changes during the adolescence, but also lots of the adults get addicted to the drugs due to some issues that they have in their lives.

There are many drugs and substances that teenagers and adults use to feel better and forget some of their problems but there are many horrible and huge effects that they can have, one of these addictive drugs is “heroin”. Heroin is made from poppy flowers. Opium is removed from the pod of the poppy flower. It is refined to make morphine, further refined into different forms of heroin. In 1898, it was manufactured by a German company for treating tuberculosis and also a remedy for morphine addiction, which turned out to be even more addictive than morphine.

With heroin problem, another “non-addictive” substance called methadone came out, but again became more addictive. By the late 1900s, the mortality rate from heroin was estimated twenty times higher than the population. Heroin can be injected, smoked, snorted, stuffed, or eaten and now is considered as one of the most addictive drugs around the world. Adults or teenagers use heroin because of social and family issues, meaning that a factor from society such as feeling left out or job, money and poor living conditions, or bad marriages and relationships which included physical or verbal abuse can lead to heroin addiction .

Also many teenagers get addicted to this drug because of peer pressure. Peer pressure is when pressure from members of one’s peer group to take a certain action, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted, and usually this is why the teenagers get involved in drug addictions. The other reason would be that heroin has a cheaper price, and it’s easier to find comparing to the others. Many people with psychological issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety will end up using this rose gray, brown or black drug to feel better without knowing the damage that it has on their bodies.

Right after heroin usage, people get a rush of good and happy feelings, but after a several hours it seems that the hours pass slower and everything is extremely slow, even the person will think or walk much slower than usual and they feel that they’re in a dream, that reduces the worry feeling. It doesn’t let the users to feel any kind of pain in their bodies because it blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain, and that’s the reason that over 15% of the American soldiers became addicted to heroin to keep their stress down in the Vietnam War.

Heroin is strong but the users never know how strong the one that they are taking is and what it is mixed with, which is even more dangerous and addictive. People using heroin might not be aware of the damage, however even a single dose of heroin can start a person on the road to addiction; therefore the people around the users have an important role on saving their lives. Users have problems with breathing and mouth dryness due to smoking. Usually addicted people have runny nose, sleepy eyes, fleshy and itchy skin, weight loss, needle track marks visible on arms, cuts, bruises or scabs from skin picking as their physical changes.

Their behaviors and actions, such as expulsion or loss of jobs, lying, decreasing attention to hygiene and physical appearance, motivation and apathy about their future goals, wearing long pants or long sleeves to hide needle marks, even in very warm weather, thinking skills and friends will change as well. In the user’s place syringes, burned silver spoon, straws or gum covers with burn marks, missing shoelaces (used as a tie off for injection sites), small plastic bags, with white powdery residue, might be found.

The people around the users who sees these warning signs should not wait and hope things will get better, they need to act right away. The sooner a person gets help, the better, and less effects on their health. The initial short term effect of heroin, is a surge of sensation with a warm feeling of the skin, a dry mouth, heavy feeling because once heroin enters the brain, it is converted to morphine and binds rapidly to opioid receptors leading to rush, hypothermia, nausea, vomiting also the heart and thinking function slows.

Heroin has many effects on brain and heart such as infection of heart lining and valves and lung such as chronic pneumonia or other pulmonary diseases, which may result directly or indirectly in death, blood clots or tissue death resulting from collapsed veins or impurities due to the chemicals in heroin, liver disease, arthritis and other rheumatologic problems, seizures and infectious diseases spread by shared needles (HIV and hepatitis B and C), because heroin can be injected as mentioned before.

Heroin usage might lead to overdose and death. According to effects and health issues that heroin addiction has, teens and adults should find other ways to solve their problems instead of using drugs to have a healthier life. One of the things that they can do is to effectively deal with peer pressure, because a huge percentage of teens get addicted to drugs due to peer pressure to not be left out and look like an adult.

They need to find a better group of people or be strong to say no. In life, there are a lot of ups and downs, people need to deal with life pressures. People today are overworked and overwhelmed, and often feel like a good break or a reward is deserved, however in the end, drugs only make life more stressful. To prevent using drugs as a reward, find other ways to handle stress and unwind. Take up exercising, read a good book, volunteer with the needy, create something.

Anything positive and relaxing helps take the mind off using drugs to relieve stress. The people with psychological problems who decides to have addictions, can make a better choice and go to a professional to ask for help. The other way is to be aware of the physical, biological and mental effects of addiction to heroin, before trying it; you need to know the consequences that it has and then make the choice of using or not using it because some of the effects can’t be fixed and may last forever.

Before getting too late the users should try for a recovery as heroin addiction is so hard to treat. The short and long term effects that it has, are usually irrecoverable so the sooner they stop, the less harm it has for their bodies. The users are not patient that they think whenever they stop, the addiction is gone which doesn’t work. To give up the addiction, the body and brain needs time and step by step with the help of professionals in health places (drug rehabs) it can be treated.

If the users want to stop, they should be sure about their choice and it needs to be really strong and non changeable, because many people quit using heroin but get back to it which is not right, they should think about waking up once again with a normal body without any addiction as their goal so they can quit faster and easier. Overall, using drugs and substance abuse, causes many problems for the users and people around them, it is harmful to society as well, and the world’s future will be destroyed. By quitting drugs soon , save your own and others’ lives.

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