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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. Shooting Heroin is noticeable by 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 to 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 disfunction 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 higher risk of a fatal overdose, “that is 24 times the that of the general population.”
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Physical Signs of Shooting Heroin
Shooting Heroin creates unique risks that outweigh the other methods of taking Heroin. Some of the risks and signs of use are visible. Some of the most common visible signs of shooting Heroin are track marks on the arms of the user. Other signs of shooting Heroin include both collapsed veins, or scarred veins, meaning the vein has caved in. 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.
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
- 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 can be 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 may begin using again to avoid them. 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. Impatient facilities offer 24 hour hands-on monitoring and medication for substance abuse disorders, 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:
Overcome Your Addiction With Treatment
Overcoming a Heroin use disorder is a challenge—especially when attempted on one’s own. The road to recovery is easier when there is support of knowledge staff and the reinforcement of an open-minded community. Contact a dedicated treatment provider to discover what type of rehab is best, including budget-friendly options, and other considerations. You can find a way out of addiction. Contact a treatment provider today.
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