What is Heroin?Heroin comes from the opium poppy plant and is one of several drugs classified as opioids. The drug is powerfully addictive and illegal in the United States and around the world. It’s commonly found as a white or brown powder but can also look like black tar. When ingested, heroin targets the “pleasure centers” of the brain, producing sensations of warmth, relaxation and masking pain, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That sensation of pleasure is the drug’s most dangerous characteristic. As the effects wear off, heroin users begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms — vomiting, constipation, sweating, shaking, and more. Users then seek out more heroin to cope with the withdrawal symptoms, triggering a cycle of dependence and addiction.
What are the Long Term Effects of Heroin?Heroin use over an extended period raises significant health risks beyond the immediate impact of withdrawal symptoms, health officials say. Long term effects of heroin include:
- Sexual problems
- Mental health issues such as depression
- Infections in and around the heart
- Arthritis or related conditions
- Infections of the skin, such as abscesses