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Shooting Heroin

Shooting, or injecting, Heroin has distinct characteristics that differ from snorting or smoking Heroin. Long-term effects from shooting Heroin can damage vital organs in the body and lead to overdose.

Shooting Heroin: A Dangerous Approach

The impact of the Opioid crisis in America is a destructive public health concern plaguing hundreds and thousands of people each year. Heroin is one of the most-commonly abused Opioids sought out by many, with highly addictive qualities with fatal side effects. Heroin is popular for its ability to produce strong feelings of euphoria in the brain. When Heroin enters the brain, it binds to the Opioid receptors in the brain, creating the intense rush. Evidence of shooting Heroin can include the drug paraphernalia used: a needle, a cotton ball, foil, a rubber band or a belt, a dirty spoon, and a lighter. This method creates long-term and unique risks independent of other methods of Heroin abuse.

Shooting Heroin: Methods Of Administration

While smoking, snorting, or sniffing Heroin is dangerous, injecting it has distinct side effects. Furthermore, shooting Heroin has signs that are easy to spot. It can cause extreme damage as it goes directly into the bloodstream of the user. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Heroin also effects the use by “blocking pain messages transmitted through the spinal cord from the body.”

Consequently, shooting Heroin acts to temporarily decrease pain in the body, but can create long-term dysfunction in the body. Intravenous drug users (IVD), inject the drug right into the veins. Alternatively, individuals shooting Heroin can access the Opioid by injecting drugs under their skin (skin popping) or injecting it in the muscle. Individuals who inject Heroin into their bodies have a risk of fatal overdose 24 times that of the general population.

Physical Signs Of Shooting Heroin

Shooting Heroin creates unique risks that outweigh the other methods of using Heroin. Some of the risks and signs of use are visible. Some of the most common visible signs of shooting Heroin are track marks, or needle marks, on the arms of the user. Other signs of shooting Heroin include collapsed veins (meaning the vein has caved in) or scarred veins. As a result, blood flow may be difficult. The individual can experience discoloration around the vein, swelling, bruising and stinging of the vein when he or she experiences a blown (ruptured) vein.

Shooting Heroin, HIV, Heart Problems & Hepatitis C

According to Physiopedia, there were a reported “179 of 206 countries” with evidence of intravenous drug users—including Heroin—ages 15 to 64. Furthermore, 17.8% lived with HIV, 52.3% tested positive for Hepatitis C, and 9.1% were Hepatitis B surface positive. In addition to those findings, IV Heroin users reported heart problems (heart attacks, increased heart rate, high blood pressure), ulcers, kidney damage, and decreased breathing.

Individuals who inject Heroin into their bodies have a risk of fatal overdose 24 times that of the general population.

Shooting Heroin: Infections And Wound Botulisms

Additional signs of shooting Heroin (and “Black Tar Heroin”) include infections to the blood vessels or heart valves; soft-tissue infections and skin abscesses or other infections. If someone is using a dirty needle or contaminated water to shoot Heroin, he or she greatly increases the likelihood of infection.

A more noticeable sign of intravenous Heroin use is a wound botulism—a life-threatening illness. This occurs when the bacteria clostridium botulinum enters a wound. The result is a toxic attack on the body’s nerves, leading to muscle weakness, visible sores and gaping wounds, breathing problems, and potentially fatal outcomes. Common symptoms of wound botulisms include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • A tongue that feels thick
  • Open and painful sores on injection sites

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Effects Of Shooting Heroin

The effects of shooting Heroin are similar to the effects of snorting Heroin; however, in some cases, shooting Heroin is often worse. Someone may begin behaving differently; each time someone shoots Heroin into their body, he or she is developing a tolerance, or a dependence, and can suffer Heroin withdrawal in response. Fatal and non-fatal overdoses are also a risk associated with shooting Heroin.

Heroin can impact one’s personality, ranging from anxious and depressive episodes to moodiness; to insomnia and fatigue. Other examples of Heroin-related behavioral traits range from needing more money for one’s habit; to isolation; to hanging out with people who abuse Heroin. Family members and friends may grow increasingly frustrated with the behavioral patterns of their loved one, and tension may ensue.

Physical signs of use include bloodshot eyes, weight loss, track marks in arms, and constricted pupils. Due to the uncomfortable and painful withdrawal symptoms, individuals going cold turkey from Heroin often begin using again to avoid them. Medically-managed detox is suggested for optimal care.

Treatment For Heroin Abuse

Heroin abusers are encouraged to seek treatment for detox and for support. They have options between inpatient and outpatient facilities—both offering specific care for patients. Inpatient facilities offer 24 hour hands-on monitoring and medication for Substance Use Disorder, along with counseling and assorted nutritional plans. Outpatient treatment provides medication and treatment plans; both offer support groups. Medications that are typically advised for overcoming Heroin addiction include:

  • Methadone
  • Naloxone
  • Disulfiram
  • Buprenorphine

Overcome Your Addiction With Treatment

Overcoming a Heroin addiction is extremely challenging, especially when attempted on one’s own. The road to recovery is easier when there is support of knowledgable staff and the reinforcement of a supportive community. Contact a treatment provider today to learn more information on treatment options for Heroin abuse. You can find a way out of addiction.

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