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The Horrors Of Heroin Addiction

Updated on November 13, 2015

Heroin was originally legal in the early 20th century for its pain relieving effects. Although once it was discovered how addicting and dangerous of a drug heroin is, it became illegal in 1924. Heroin is derived from the word "Heroine" which is the name of a heroic person, because it was noted that the user often felt heroic from the effects. Heroin is a powerful painkiller that can give the user euphoria, relaxation, and no pain. It also has very negative side effects such as, depressed circulatory system, dizziness, high possibility of developing addiction, ease of overdosing. Like other drugs, just because heroin is illegal, that doesn't mean that it cannot be obtained. The drug gets shipped to the United States from the Middle East, since that it where the majority of heroin is produced. Black Market associates get a hold of the drug and distribute it to other high quantity drug dealers who continue to distribute it down the pyramid of dealers, until it eventually is in the hands of someone who uses heroin on the street.

Signs of Heroin Use

  • Extremely small pupils.
  • Nodding off, falling asleep.
  • Flushed face.
  • Slurring of words and a tone of voice that sounds out of it.
  • Continuously scratching parts of the body.
  • Catching a person with spoons, cotton balls, needles, glassine bags.
  • Noticing your son, daughter or loved one's money is disappearing and they will not tell you what they are spending it on.
  • Son, daughter, sibling, loved one is stealing money from you and won't tell you where it's being used for.

It was once thought that marijuana was the drug of choice among young drug users. In recent years heroin has drastically risen in the amount of people who use it. Although there are approximately 24 million people who report using marijuana in the past year and only 600 thousand who use heroin, the increase of heroin use has risen 53% and marijuana only 23%. Heroin use is sky rocketing with a staggering increase of 53% in 2011. I have seen friends who started using heroin in the summer of 2012, and became full blown addicts by winter of the same year. I have also lost three friends to heroin addiction, 1 in 2012 and 2 in 2013. The outbreak and severity of the use of this drug is very real in New Jersey, where I am from. Police in the Northern Jersey region just cracked down on heroin distribution and use in 2013's operation "Fall Clean Up" catching some odd 23 people involved in the distribution of heroin.

In 2008 heroin overdose was the cause of death for about 3,070 people. An increase of approximately 500 over the course of a year, 2007-2008. It's very easy to become addicted to heroin which is one reason why it is becoming so popular. A common story that is heard from either recovering addicts or current users is, "I started off using prescription pain medication, then began using heroin because it is cheaper." Since a hit of heroin is about $8 and a 30mg pill of oxycodone is $30-$40 on the street, it is easy to see why addicts begin using heroin over pills. A bag of heroin is cheap and packs the punch of a oxycodone pill between 30 mg-80 mg. Heroin may be cheap, but it is a lot dirtier than oxycodone pills. The dealer of heroin will often cut the drug 2-5 times over with other products, such as vitamin c,d or anything else they can find in order to increase profits by stretching the drug. The purity of the drug is never consistent either which is also a reason for death; an addict could inject a few bags of heroin with a low potency then think they can do the same while not knowing the high potency of the drug they just purchased, which can result in overdose. Often the addict will have no idea they are actually overdosing from the drug, but what happens is their breathing will depress to such an extreme low that they just stop breathing and their central nervous system shuts down. Finding someone who claims to just do the drug recreationally is rare, because the drug is so highly addictive. Tolerance is built very fast with heroin and the user who got high off two bags will soon need three, four, five and even higher amounts of bags in order to get high in a relatively short period of time.

No one plans on becoming a desperate heroin addict the first time they try it, but inevitably that is what happens to almost everyone who tries the drug. With approximately 600,000 and rising heroin addicts in the United States, people must be informed about heroin and make the conscious choice to never use it because it will never lead a person to a positive destination; either death or jail time are the only two destinations for someone who begins using heroin. I have seen friends die, go to jail and overdose, it is terrifying and horrible to witness such a tragedy. People throw away their lives for this drug, literally. Law enforcement has been cracking down on heroin in New Jersey, but the goal is for people to not use the drug to begin with. Some people even after going to jail and almost dying, will continue to abuse heroin because that is how strong of a grasp the addiction has over them. It takes a strong willed person to choose to quit heroin permanently and even those who say they thought they had a strong will became a slave to the drug. It is a horrible tragedy that is on the rise and I feel it is really important for people to be informed and aware so they don't fall into the heroin trap and also so they can detect if someone they love is using the drug.

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