One is a knockout gorgeous woman. Another is a former judge. There are innocent-looking 20-somethings and haggard-looking old men and women aged byond their years. White people and people of color are among them.
A three-part series beginning today by Civitas Media puts a face on the growing problems of heroin addiction. Utilizing the resources of around 100 Civitas newspapers in 12 states, the series brings you into the battles being fought by addicts, their family members, law enforcement and health officials.
Day 1: Faces of Heroin: A demon knocks on the doors of America.
Day 2: “Shattered Lives:” Those whose lives have been stung by addiction; those who deal the drug.
Day 3: Success Stories: Treating, beating the epidemic.
• H, smack, horse, brown, black tar
What it is:
Heroin is a
highly addictive drug derived from morphine, which is obtained from the opium
poppy. Heroin’s popularity is attributed to its long-lasting high and its cheap
Who is taking it?
Heroin has no boundaries. The drug has trapped wealthy and poor people, city folks and rural residents, women and men, white people and minorities. Many users turn to heroin after getting hooked on prescription pills that they no longer are able to obtain from doctors. Others seek heroin after their tolerance for powerful prescription pills reaches a plateau, or the high from prescription pills becomes too expensive to maintain.
Return of heroin
The same drug cartels that distribute cocaine and meth have diversified their markets into heroin distribution. During the 1990s, crack and cocaine were the drugs of choice, with methamphetamine growing in popularity by the end of the1990s and still a major problem today. Heroin started re-emerging in the mid-2000s.
Where is it coming from?
How does a person take heroin?
Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
While signs and symptoms of abuse may vary from person to person, most people exhibit certain symptoms and behavior indicative of an abuse problem. Signs of heroin abuse include:
· Behavioral changes
· Hyperactivity followed by fatigue
· Irresponsibility at work or school
· Wearing long shirts and pants even during warm weather
· Increased sleeping
· Slurred speech
· Track marks on arms or legs
· Weight loss
· Constant runny nose
· Scabs or bruises due to picking at the skin
Immediately after taking heroin, many users feel a “rushing” sensation of the drug entering the brain. Many people seek out heroin due to the quickness at which the drug enters the brain. Certain users of the drug also report the following effects after taking the drug:
· Heavy extremities
· Dry mouth
· Severe itching
Many individuals with a heroin problem will experience long-term effects, including:
Why so many deaths?
When a user takes heroin, he or she is not 100 percent sure what they are receiving. Heroin is very potent and the drug is mixed with other compounds multiple times before it reaches users. Thus, it is difficult for users to know how much pure drug they have taken.
Need help overcoming addiction?
Coalition Against Drug Abuse
Sources: Coalition against Drug Abuse;