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It is impossible for a person who has not experienced something to fully understand exactly what it involves.
For anyone living with or who are very close to a person suffering with a dependence upon heroin such an addiction will very likely be completely alien, but let’s try to explain things from the addict’s point of view.
What is heroin & how it affects:
This highly addictive chemical is called diamorphine or diacetylmorphine. It is made from a morphine alkaloid found in the seed pods of the Asian strain of the opium poppy.
When taken it enters the brain, converts back to morphine and proceeds to bind a person’s Mu, Kappa and Delta opioid receptors. Amongst other feelings these receptors are responsible for pain as well as reward.
In a world of your own:
When high on heroin anxiety and any pain disappear. A user experiences a tremendous elevation thanks to a huge, euphoric rush. Relaxation often appears complete, a pleasant warm flush likened to a sexual orgasm is felt by many and complete detachment is theirs. They feel at one with themselves and their surroundings.
In short: When high on heroin a user is in a world of their own.
Inherent dangers of first use:
It will often be cited that there is nothing like the first time for a person who uses heroin. This would appear to be true in many cases. The huge problem is that the first time is so memorable, so unique that the only thing a user has on their mind is to recapture those initial feelings.
Unfortunately, such original feelings will never be achieved, but of course the need to chase them does not stop a user from taking more in their attempts to recapture that first buzz.
Repeated ‘blasts’ while attempting to recapture those first feelings are what leads a person into addiction. The truth is this highly addictive drug hooks quickly and once hooked it will not let go easily.
Addictive whichever way it is used:
Various methods are used to take the drug. It can be snorted, smoked, orally ingested or used in a suppository, but the biggest hit comes from intravenous injection.
It may be the biggest blast but injecting also brings along with it a hugely increased risk of infection. This is particularly the case if a user shares needles or uses an unsterilized one.
What is most important to understand is that whichever way heroin is taken there is no addiction-free way to use it.
High doses can kill:
A person’s opioid receptors are located in the brain stem. This area of a person’s brain also controls the ANS (Automatic Nervous System) which is responsible for such things as blood pressure, breathing and alertness.
If too much heroin is taken then it depresses these processes. This type of ‘suffocation’ is a pre-cursor to an overdose. If an overdoes does not kill the user there is a fair chance they could be left with brain damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.