what does heroin do what does heroin do

What does Heroin do: 15 Adverse Effects

Almost all of us are aware of heroin, cocaine, or even alcohol abuse and addiction, being told since childhood that these are bad for us. So why do so many people still ruin their lives by getting addicted to these substances? Read on to know what does heroin do and everything connected therewith!

Heroin is a drug that is used by a lot of people all over the world, generally made from morphine1, a substance taken from the seed pot of various opium 2poppy plants.

These poppy plants are grown in Mexico, Columbia, Southwest, and Southeast Asia. Since it is one of the most commonly used drugs, certain important things people should keep in mind regarding heroin addiction. But why is everyone so skeptical – what does heroin do?

There are a lot of side effects of heroin use that people who use heroin should be aware of before diving into the habit.

What does Heroin do?

Heroin use comes with a lot of side effects. Heroin or any drug use generally has side effects that a person would be aware of, you might have to face a lot of withdrawal symptoms even if you try to quit it at some point in your life.

But that does not mean that you will not be able to quit heroin. You should always seek medical help and advice whenever you plan to get rid of heroin from your system and also want to discontinue using it.

Here are some common side effects of heroin that almost every heroin user faces, you must know these before delving into what does heroin do.

Effects and Dangers of Heroin Drug Abuse

When we discuss what does heroin do, several health conditions can be caused due to the chronic use of heroin. Some of them are mentioned below:

1. Liver Disease

Heroin drug 3has a very bad effect on the human body’s liver. Chronic use of heroin can lead to serious liver problems in the future.

If you are someone who already has pre-existing liver problems, it is suggested that you stay away from this drug as much as possible. It is because, with time, the issues of the liver get worse, and you will face many other health-related problems apart from improper digestion.

In some cases, you might also be able to face stomach cramping and liver pain that gets intolerable at times. In these cases, pain messages can come in handy.

2. Pulmonary Infections

Pulmonary infections are commonly known as lung infections, one of the most common infectious diseases in humans. Various types of pulmonary infections 4are seen in heroin users.

Excessive heroin use can cause acute or chronic pulmonary infections.

3. Collapsed Veins

So, what does heroin do? Another common problem created by heroin overdose is collapsed veins. After a certain period of drug use, the person’s veins start to collapse, resulting in serious issues in the nervous system.

If you are someone who already has pre-existing problems with nerves, it is advised that you stay away from heroin as much as possible.

4. Chronic Constipation

Prolonged constipation is another very common effect of a heroin overdose, if you are a regular user of heroin, it is going to be very common for you to be a victim of constipation.

The elements in heroin are known to cause a problem in the digestive system, resulting in constipation and other stomach-related issues.

5. Depression

This is one of the most common side effects of a heroin overdose. But what does heroin do to cause depression? Not only heroin overdoses but depression can be caused by the overdose of any other drugs as well.

It is generally said that people who use heroin tend to be a victim of depression more than people who do not use any drugs. 

It is difficult for drug users to get out of depression because a single missing drug dose can trigger them. All the other drugs, along with heroin, have serious effects on mental health5 and can be dangerous at times.

Suppose you are suffering from serious depression or other problems related to mental health. In that case, you can also contact or check with the mental health services administration, who will guide you to get out of the crisis.

Not only that, but the Mental Health Services Administration is also a treat way to get back on track if you are facing mental health problems, not only because of heroin but because of any other problems in your life.

6. Kidney Disease

What does heroin do to harm your body? Everything. There are a lot of kidney diseases that can be caused due to heroin overdose. In some cases, it can even lead to kidney failure, so it is advised to be very sure if you are into heroin.

Make sure that you know all the effects and side effects of heroin properly before jumping to any conclusion.

7. Heart Infections

Not only heroin but if you are into any drugs, you will surely be affected by various health problems, including heart infections. Some heart infections can be cured by serious monitoring over time, whereas others might even be fatal.

Some patients also report that they experience withdrawal symptoms along with shallow breathing. In these cases, getting your system clean from this highly addictive drug is very important.

8. Skin Infections

Next up, what does heroin do to your skin? Some people who use heroin also complain that they have faced various skin-related problems after consuming heroin or for a prolonged period.

Though it does not apply to many people, heroin users with skin problems can get infected with various skin infections when consuming heroin.

9. Hepatitis

It is again one of the most common diseases in various parts of the world, a contagious disease generally caused by the hepatitis B virus6.

When heroin enters the body, it triggers the hepatitis B virus, which increases the disease’s intensity. This disease is highly contagious and can be spread in many forms, it is one of the many ways heroin affects our bodies.

10. HIV

Who might have thought that heroin overdose could be one of the reasons leading to HIV? As crazy as it may sound, this is a fact, heroin addiction can lead to HIV infection in certain individuals.

Getting infected by HIV hampers not only the person but also their partner. So to avoid this situation, it is always better to stay away from these drugs.

11. Deterioration of White Matter In The Brain

It is one of the most serious problems caused by heroin addiction. Deterioration or damage of the white matter in the brain can lead to many problems like loss of memory, stability, and even mobility.

White matter is considered the most important factor in keeping memories in the brain stem.

12. Lack of Stress Control Skills

Most drug users are very impatient and tend to lose control over their anger and emotions more easily than the ones who are not addicted. Heroin-addictive people do not have control over stress and tend to get tenser in case of mishaps.

The decision-making ability of these people decreases with time, and they tend to lose control over their emotions.

It is the reason that people addicted to drugs seem mentally sick to a lot of people.

13. Infertility

It is a problem seen in most women. If a woman is addicted to any drugs, it can cause a serious problem in their sex life in the future.

Not only in their sex life, but women generally lose the chance to enjoy the happiness of motherhood once they get addicted to heroin or any other drug.

14. Miscarriage

What does heroin do to cause a miscarriage? Regarding the point mentioned above, even if a drug-addicted woman conceives, it is hard for them to carry a healthy pregnancy. There is a high chance that the woman might be a victim of miscarriage and might not be able to keep the baby safe.

If the woman already has any pre-existing gynecological problems, it is suggested to stay away from drugs as much as possible.

15. Diminished Sex Drive

Many heroin research reports state that people who consume heroin frequently have lower sex drive than those who are not addicted. But what does heroin do to your libido?

In many cases, patients have reported that their partner addicted to drugs is not active during any sexual activity. It is one of the most prominent side effects of long-term heroin addiction.

If the problem continues for a prolonged period, there can be chances that the person might not be able to enjoy fatherhood or motherhood in the future.

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Photo by Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

If you think you are being affected by the above-mentioned things, there is no shame in reaching out to your nearest health clinic. If you are not willing to go to a health clinic on your own, you can also share the problem with your friends or your close ones and ask them to help you out in this situation.

Always make sure that it is better to ask for help rather than suffer from something that can eat you up from the inside. Many health centers and rehabilitation centers are available these days that primarily focus on helping people with addiction.

It is their job to make you feel better about yourself, and you should always give it a try if you are willing to quit heroin.

There is a high chance that people addicted to heroin can also be addicted to some other drugs. The factors that influence the increase in heroin intake yearly are:

  • Easy availability of the drug

  • Easily accessible to anyone who tries to find it

  • Very low-cost range, so even the kids in addiction can afford heroin in America and other parts of the country.

Effects of Heroin on the Body

There are several effects of heroin on the human body. The intensity of impact on the person’s body depends on the pre-existing health status of the person, weight, sex, volume, stature, method of drug intake, simultaneous use of any other drugs or alcohol, and whether the person has any pre-existing psychiatric conditions or not.

You’re mistaken if you think all the problems are caused by using heroin for a long time. All the effects of heroin can be seen even after short-term drug use.

what does heroin do
Photo by Grav on Unsplash

The common side effects of the drug are generally temporary and can be cured over a period, but the actual problem is these small side effects can cause harm to the human body in the long term.

Some common short-term health problems faced by people who use heroin are mentioned below.

  • Euphoric rush

  • Flushed or warm skin

  • A weird sensation of heaviness in the limbs

  • A trance-like state

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Watery eyes

  • Severe itching

  • Appetite loss

  • Unnatural relaxation

  • Short of breath

  • Slow heart rate

  • Runny nose

  • Small pupils

  • Muddled thinking

  • Drowsiness

When the consumption of heroin continues, the person might start to face a lot of other physical and mental problems. The biological response of the body to certain things might change with time. The two primary problems faced by long-term heroin users are withdrawal symptoms and tolerance.

Over time, the body starts to adapt to the dosage of the drug taken and hence tends to show no desired result with the same amount.

As a result, people generally increase the level of the drug consumed to get the desired result, it is known as tolerance. The more the quantity of the drug increases, the more hazardous it is for the human body.

After regular consumption of the drug, the body tends to grow familiar with the amount being provided to the body. Once the amount of drug the body receives decreases or stops, the body generally shows withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the common withdrawal symptoms faced by a heroin user can be restlessness, vomiting, muscle pain, drug craving, loss of appetite, or wanting to eat more and many such symptoms.

In this case, it is advised to visit the local rehabilitation center or contact a doctor as soon as possible. They are the best people who can bring up the solution to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Change in the Physical Appearance

So, what does heroin do to change your appearance? Not only does heroin cause changes in the body’s system, but some changes can be noticed in the appearance of a person who uses heroin.

Someone who has a serious heroin addiction can be the victim of weight loss. Regular heroin use also makes a person’s pupils seem smaller than those not addicted to drugs. This condition is also known as “pinpoint” pupils.

People addicted to heroin or any other drugs, in general, are less concerned about their physical structure, appearance, and hygiene than other people. It makes the identification of a drug user easier.

People who use various drug injection equipment to inject heroin into their bodies might have scars on their arms and legs.

Sometimes, these scares also tend to get inflamed and cause severe infection. Sharing drug injection equipment with other drug users is one of the greatest reasons for conditions in these areas.

Severe Effects

Apart from the hazards mentioned above, there are a lot of other problems and effects that can be caused due to the use of heroin. In some cases, people even take a fatal overdose of heroin which can also be the reason for their death.

Certain drug dealers sell drugs that are mixed with several other harmful elements. These elements not only increase health hazards but can be fatal at times.

One of the very common effects of heroin addiction is a blockage in the blood vessels. It happens because the high intensity of the drug affects the organs and causes major problems in the vessels and nerves of the body. Heroin users might face this problem once when their blood vessels get blocked.

It is said that the substance present in heroin is harmful to the reproductive system of both men and women. But in most cases, the implications show severe results in women’s reproductive system rather than men’s.

The egg count decreases, thus resulting in fewer chances of becoming a mother. Along with that, the usage of heroin is directly responsible for infertility in women.

In some cases, prescription painkillers also contain opioids. These opioids are good for the body if taken in healthy quantities. But in the case of misused prescription opioids, the effects can be the same as consuming heroin on purpose.

It is therefore advised to always consult with your doctor before trying anything. They are the best people to guide you not only about the process of use but also the quantity of use.

Damage caused to the brain’s white matter is another very common effect of heroin use. If you are someone who takes heroin in a day for several hours, you’re likely to get affected by this problem.

After a certain time, you will find that you are losing your memory power and will have many other brain problems. To avoid this, stay away from any kinds of drugs.

Kidney, heart, lung, and stomach disorders are other effects of heroin use.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you say no to drugs?

Now that you know what does heroin do and what adverse effects it has, set a clear mindset, change your negative company, involve your loved ones/family, and do not feel afraid to reach out for help.

2. What is drug prevention and control?

Substance abuse detection and prevention, often known as drug abuse mitigation, is a strategy that aims to prevent or restrict the emergence of issues connected with the consumption of psychoactive substances.

3. Is it easy to say no to drugs?

It can be difficult to say no to substances such as alcohol and drugs once you are hooked. There is no denying it. However, with the correct approach and mindset, it is possible.

Conclusion: What does Heroin do?

If you have reached this far, we are sure you have a clear idea about what drug abuse is and what the effects of heroin on your body. Therefore, it is advised to stay away from heroin or other drugs to lead a healthy and quality life.

  1. Gates, Marshall, and Gilg Tschudi. “The synthesis of morphine.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 78.7 (1956): 1380-1393. ↩︎
  2. Terry, Charles E., and Mildred Pellens. “The Opium Problem.” The Opium Problem. (1928). ↩︎
  3. Luby, Elliot D., et al. “Study of a new schizophrenomimetic drug—Sernyl.” AMA Archives of Neurology & Psychiatry 81.3 (1959): 363-369. ↩︎
  4. Benito, Natividad, et al. “Pulmonary infections in HIV-infected patients: an update in the 21st century.” European Respiratory Journal 39.3 (2012): 730-745. ↩︎
  5. Prince, Martin, et al. “No health without mental health.” The lancet 370.9590 (2007): 859-877. ↩︎
  6. Iannacone, Matteo, and Luca G. Guidotti. “Immunobiology and pathogenesis of hepatitis B virus infection.” Nature Reviews Immunology 22.1 (2022): 19-32. ↩︎

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