Heroin is a highly addictive drug. Even taking it casually and only once is enough to make people get addicted. It is an opiate drug and is synthesized from morphine. Morphine occurs naturally and is an extract of the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Like all other illegal drugs, heroin also has both short-term and long-term effects. Addicts inject it or smoke it. Some addicts also snort it. No matter how it is taken, it is capable of adversely affecting central nervous system immediately.

Short-Term Effects

Use of heroin could lead to warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth and the feeling of heaviness in arms and legs.

Use of heroin affects central nervous system and thus user may have confused or improper mental function. It could also lead to slow breathing.

Long-Term Effects

Use of heroine on a continuous basis could produce many severe and long term side effects.

  • Use of Heroine could cause infection in the heart lining and valves. This is mainly due to failure of proper sterility in injection being used by the addict to have the drug.
  • Use of heroine could also lead to liver diseases such as hepatitis C. snorting heroine could increase the risk of this disease.
  • Other health complication arising due to heroin addiction is kidney disease. It occurs due to impairment of kidneys due to high amount of heroin in the system.
  • Its use could also cause pulmonary complications, due to effect on breathing and infections.
  • Use of heroin could also result into skin infections due to use of infected syringes used for injecting heroin.
  • Use of heroin could cause abscesses and various types of pneumonia. It occurs due to heroin’s depressing effects on respiration.
  • Use of infected syringe to inject heroine could also increase risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other blood-borne viruses.
  • Overdose of heroine could even kill the user.
  • Being an illegal drug it passes through many hands before reaching to the user, which increases risk of various infections in addicts using it.
  • Street heroin also contains toxic contaminants or additives leading to various health complications. Heroine is already capable of hazardous health risks, mixing with other additives increases the risk of fatal health complications.
  • It is a highly addictive drug. Its occasional use could easily lead to its addiction. People using it develop a tolerance for it with repeated use and get addicted to it.
  • Heroin addicts could have severe withdrawal symptoms such as extreme craving for the drug, restlessness, pain in muscle and bone and vomiting if deprived of it. These symptoms can occur between 48 and 72 hours after stopping use and can be prolonged till a week.
  • If heroine is abused during pregnancy, it increases risk of low birth weight and other developmental delay. If is regularly used by the mother it could lead to birth of a child physically dependent on heroin and child could also suffer from serious medical complications.
  • Regular heroin use could lead to permanent adverse effects on the brain and central nervous system. Use of heroine affects opioid receptors in the brain stem. They are important for critical automatic processes such as breathing (respiration), blood pressure, and arousal. Heroine leaves a very negative effect on the nervous system.