The Deadliest Drugs Out There – Why Heroin Makes the List
Heroin is thought to be one of the deadliest drugs out there, but what makes it this way? Why is heroin considered to be so deadly, and is it really just heroin doing all this work? We take a deeper look into what makes certain types of drugs so deadly, and how a person winds up dying from their drug use so you can have a better understanding of what these substances really do to the body, and how.
We all think we know heroin, but we don’t really. If you’re not using it, you’re not likely to get what it’s about. Heroin, like many other opioids, is very good at eliminating pain. It binds to the opioid receptors in the body. Yes, we actually have opioid receptors, because our bodies naturally make our own opioids to help us deal with things like pain.
While our bodies can’t create nearly enough opioids to give us the feelings that opioids like heroin, morphine, and oxycodone can give, they are beneficial to us in many ways.
Heroin, just like other types of opioids, binds to the opioid receptors in the body. It can help to eliminate pain by blocking the pain signals from reaching the brain. In fact, while morphine was used as a painkiller in the American Civil War, heroin was also used. It was also used by the American public as a pain reliever for children. It first came to the market by Bayer, at the same time as aspirin, around the 1890’s. Surprisingly, the product was so successful it kept selling until about 1912.
Addictions began to surface at that time, because, even though it was used to treat coughs, it also created an amazing euphoric effect, and users developed a tolerance, which eventually had them hooked on the cough medicine and wanting more.
Is it any wonder then that Americans are still in love with this substance?
On the surface, it might look like heroin is relatively good for a person. It can, and does, offer pain relieving benefits. It also helps to soothe coughs and boost the mood. As an opioid, heroin tends to be one of the less-damaging short-term drugs, and the average heroin user can live for quite a while with a strong habit.
We Hear About Long-Term Heroin Addicts
We hear about long-term heroin addicts, and often, if they shoot up, they can be pretty easy to spot over time. Abusing heroin for long periods of time has serious health consequences. For example, many who consistently abuse this drug lose extreme amounts of weight because they often get nauseous when they are using. Then, when they don’t use, they are also sick. This can lead to a lack of nutrients and even malnutrition.
To most of us, the long-term heroin user looks sick and is sick, but with continued use, the symptoms can be masked and made tolerable. Getting high doesn’t occur much for those who continuously use, but feeling “normal,” does.
There are even worse consequences, though. Poor health, combined with the fact that heroin represses respiration, can often lead to illnesses like pneumonia to occur. Shooting heroin leads to abscesses in the injection sites, collapsed and scarred veins, and even infections in the heart.
Street heroin often has additives in it that don’t completely dissolve, which can clog the veins, or go to the heart and lungs and create infections and even death of cells in the affected areas.
Using heroin long-term, especially through injection can cause the risk of sharing needles to increase, and that can lead to serious complications such as HIV and Hepatitis C. These conditions can eventually become fatal when not treated, and too often, heroin addicts do not seek medical attention for illnesses.
Many long-term heroin abusers don’t want to use anymore. They often complain that they aren’t even able to experience the high anymore. They talk about how horrible withdrawal symptoms are, and how much they wish they could quit. It’s common for heroin addicts to bounce from couch to couch, and often, homelessness is a real risk
The Average Life Expectancy of a Heroin Addict
Despite all these health risks, it is still estimated that the average life expectancy of a long-term heroin addict is about 20 years. When an addiction starts in the 20’s, that means that many of these users will have died from complications caused by chronic use by the time they are in their 40’s. It’s a pretty daunting number, but one that many loved ones of heroin addicts can live with during the early years because they feel that they have time to convince their loved ones to get the help they need.
However, this number is often greatly reduced by other factors, such as mixing heroin with other substances in an effort to increase the high that the user experiences. It’s also common to wind up with heroin that is laced with other opioids like fentanyl, which shoots heroin to the top of the list of the deadliest drugs out there.
In an overdose where fentanyl is combined with heroin, Narcan to revive and stop an overdose isn’t always effective, and it’s causing more and more overdose deaths each day. In fact, some parts of the United States have seen a dramatic spike in the number of opioid overdose deaths just due to the addition of fentanyl.
While adding it to heroin is really only meant to increase the high, fentanyl is so potent that just a little bit can cause an overdose. When you add that to the fact that the molecular structure of fentanyl is much smaller than heroin, and allows it to absorb into the skin much more readily, the risk of overdose is overwhelming. Fentanyl is so potent that first responders have experienced overdoses just from rubbing against residue and having it absorb into the skin.
However, when used in very small doses, and without incident, heroin addicts are finding that this new blend is more intoxicating than ever.
Heroin is One of the Most Dangerous Drugs – Which is Why You Need Help to Quit
It should also be mentioned that heroin is highly addictive. Many people who start using heroin are already hooked on opioids of some kind, so the transition to heroin is natural. In some ways, heroin often just boosts the existing addiction to opioids and complicates matters. The severity of the addiction and the speed at which an addiction can develop is just one of many other factors that makes it so dangerous.
If you have a loved one who is addicted to heroin, or you are struggling with an addiction to heroin, you should know that you’re dealing with a ticking time bomb. You might not overdose today. You might not ever overdose, but with time, your risk for potentially fatal infections, potentially fatal pneumonia, and even respiratory failure is dramatically increased.
The only thing that can reduce these risks is to stop using and start living clean and heroin addiction-free. For many, the only way to do this is to check into rehab and start overcoming your addiction.
Why rehab? Research shows that severe addictions, such as those that occur with heroin, are the most effectively overcome by using the tools and resources that rehab offers and the inpatient stay helps you to develop new habits while you’re breaking old ones.
Not only that, but many rehabs offer on-site detox, which can be really beneficial in helping to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and easing some of the worst parts of detox. With the help of medical intervention when needed, and medications to help ease withdrawals and cravings like Suboxone and Methadone, getting through the detox process is more comfortable and increases the chances that you’ll be able to get started with your treatment program.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a heroin addiction and wants to stop the cycle, we can help you find a rehab that really works for your needs. You don’t have to worry that you can’t afford it, because there are many ways to pay for treatment, including insurance coverage, payment plans, and in some cases, grants and scholarship programs.
You don’t have to worry that you won’t be able to get into treatment when you need to, either, because we can help you find an addiction treatment program that can take you right away. You’ll find all kinds of options, too. Like step-based, or non-step based programs, holistic treatment plans, long-term addiction treatment programs, and traditional inpatient or intensive outpatient rehab options.
At Elite Rehab Placement, we know how hard it can be to kick a heroin addiction. However, we also know that the fact that it is one of the deadliest drugs out there today makes using even just one more time a serious risk to your life. We are here to help you start overcoming your addiction and living clean, healthy, and addiction-free. You can overcome your addiction, and we can help, so why not give us a call and see how easy it can be to get started on your recovery journey?