“People believe that heroin is super, but you lose everything: job, parents, friends, confidence, your home. Lying and stealing become a habit. You no longer respect anyone or anything.” - Pete
"Heroin", one of the deadliest drugs of this world. According to BBC, there are 50 million regular users of heroin, cocaine and synthetic drugs worldwide. In most cases, these 50 million users didn't even realize when they became addicted. They started taking it as fun, as experiment, as accompanying someone who was already addicted.
Let's hear it from the voice of some people who eventually got addicted to heroin. For privacy issue, names or any kind of IDs of those people are not disclosed here.
"Was already mentally addicted to oxy, with the beginning point of some mild physical addiction symptoms. Oxy was expensive though, and my tolerance was going up. One day I was with my friend (who has become the biggest heroin user I know fwiw) and we were getting some pills from some dude he knew. The pill got me a pretty good high, just for one night. The heroin got me a great high; twice! So for half the money I got twice as many highs. At the time I did prefer the more sedating high and it lasted longer than an oxy high, so it was largely about getting more for my money, though I did enjoy it. By that point I had already been fucking up plenty good and heroin helped feed that "I don't give a fuck" attitude. Having that attitude for a few months were I first delved into heavy opiate abuse has forever changed my life. "Not giving a fuck" for a few months has lead to a fucked few years. This is fall 2005 I'm talking about; 6 years ago now. Six years later and I'm still fucked up. If I only knew then what I know now.... :("
"The year was 1999 I believe, it could have '98, but I just really cannot remember, most likely '99. So anyhow, I was letting this Canadian dude live with me at home (parent's place) in the garage where my room was at. Him being from Vancuver, he was a "ex-heroin" addict, but still did all sorts of other drugs. We would go to TJ a lot and go to bars or pharmacias and get all sorts of drugs and either do them in a bar or smuggle them home. Well one day he asks me if I want to try heroin. I always wanted to try the "ultimate high" so I said I was game. We took the trolley down to the border and crossed into Mexico. We went to one of the very first shops where the very first bar is at and asked if they have some heroin. (This actually very common to do. You just walk around TJ and ask the "workers" at every shop, bar or restaurant and you will get what you are looking for. Oh I almost forgot, we wnt to the first pharmacia and got rigs, cotton and saline solution first. It's totally legal to buy the whole fixing gear at any pharmacia, at least back than it was. So anyway, we grab the shit from shop dude and than we paid $5 to use the back room at the bar to do are fixing. The room was actually just the back stairway. The friend made the shot for me and told me to do it, well I missed so I made him do another one and made him hit me. I was really tore up when we went back to the bar area. I fell in love with the high, but did not really get back into it until 2006 or was '05, but anyway, it has ruined my life and now I am pretty fucked because I am not allowed to see my wife right now because of legal and in-law problems. I am very depressed at the moment and I miss her very, very much. I would stop the world to melt with her."
"I started off with breaking my wrist in summer of 07 then had 2 major car wrecks in february of 08 and july of 08 that both put me in a coma. i broke my back and pelvis and ruptured 4 organs in the july 08 wreck and was prescribed all kinds of pain meds. Before that i really had only been smoking lots of weed. So fast forward 3 years later all 3 years in pain management and the painkillers dont work that well anymore so i become curious about heroin. Where i lived at the time there was no such thing as h just lots of pills. So i move to a bigger city and within 3 months i found a good powder h connect and seeing as its cheaper and usually a lot better than the pills thats what ive stuck with. My quality of life hasnt changed i havent sold all my shit or anything for that matter. Its really just a means to an end for me as im in pain daily and the painkillers only work so much and they will only give you so many a month. Yea some of it is addiction and some of it is legitimate. I think had i not had my life changed so much so quick that i probably wouldnt ever have touched it. Those wrecks have taken a huge mental and physical toll on me. As a 24 year old i should not feel like im 65 and hurt all the time and cant really do anything that normal 24 year olds do."
Well, there are million other untold stories like these. In most cases, the ways people get addicted to Heroin are almost similar. Heroin addiction is growing faster and faster around the world. One of the vital reason for this is the mass availability of this drug. This drug is sold maybe right next to your door. You never know until you look for it. In Bangladesh as well as in the whole world the sale of this drug is massive and beyond the imagination of normal people. In Bangladesh, young generation are the worst sufferer of this addiction. One's life depends on his/her youth. Once youth is wasted, the whole life is considered to be wasted. There are many examples who get out of this devastating circle. Those are the examples we read and see around us. And many others who don't/can't overcome the situation, stay in silence and mentally isolated.
Signs of Heroin addiction:
Loved ones or co-workers may notice a number of signs of heroin use, which are visible during and after heroin consumption:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Constricted (small) pupils
- Sudden changes in behavior or actions
- Cycles of hyper alertness followed by suddenly nodding off
- Droopy appearance, as if extremities are heavy
The above signs are not unique to heroin abuse. More definitive warning signs of heroin abuse include possession of paraphernalia used to prepare, inject or consume heroin:
- Needles or syringes not used for other medical purposes
- Burned silver spoons
- Aluminum foil or gum wrappers with burn marks
- Missing shoelaces (used as a tie off for injection sites)
- Straws with burn marks
- Small plastic bags, with white powdery residue
- Water pipes or other pipe
Behavioral signs of heroin abuse and addiction include:
- Lying or other deceptive behavior
- Avoiding eye contact, or distant field of vision
- Substantial increases in time spent sleeping
- Increase in slurred, garbled or incoherent speech
- Sudden worsening of performance in school or work, including expulsion or loss of jobs
- Decreasing attention to hygiene and physical appearance
- Loss of motivation and apathy toward future goals
- Withdrawal from friends and family, instead spending time with new friends with no natural tie
- Lack of interest in hobbies and favorite activities
- Repeatedly stealing or borrowing money from loved ones, or unexplained absence of valuables
- Hostile behaviors toward loved ones, including blaming them for withdrawal or broken commitments
- Regular comments indicating a decline in self esteem or worsening body image
- Wearing long pants or long sleeves to hide needle marks, even in very warm weather
Users build tolerance to heroin, leading to increases in the frequency and quantity of heroin consumption. With growing tolerance, more definitive physical symptoms of heroin abuse and addiction emerge:
- Weight loss
- Runny nose (not explained by other illness or medical condition)
- Needle track marks visible on arms
- Infections or abscesses at injection site
- For women, loss of menstrual cycle (amenorrhea)
- Cuts, bruises or scabs from skin picking
Short Term Effects of Heroin:
- Euphoria (An exhilarating psychological state of pride and optimism; an absence of depression)
- Nodding off (alternately alert and drowsy state).
- Dry mouth.
- Severe itching.
- Constricted Pupils.
- Nausea, vomiting.
- Slowed mental function.
- Reduced physical pain.
- Warm flushed skin.
- Weakness in muscles.
- Slowed breathing.
- Overdose can lead to death
Long Term Effects of Heroin:
- Bad teeth
- Inflammation of the gums
- Constipation (Irregular and infrequent or difficult evacuation of the bowels)
- Cold sweats
- Weakening of the immune system
- Respiratory (breathing) illnesses
- Muscular weakness, partial paralysis
- Reduced sexual capacity and long-term impotence in men
- Menstrual disturbance in women
- Inability to achieve orgasm (women and men)
- Loss of memory and intellectual performance
- Pustules on the face
- Loss of appetite
- Infection of the heart lining and valves, normally due to lack of sterile technique.
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Pulmonary complications, which are often infection related
- Skin infections and abscesses, especially among chronic injectors who suffer scarred or collapsed veins
- In addition to the risk of contracting the hepatitis virus, heroin users also have an increased risk of catching human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other blood-borne viruses.
Over time, heroin users develop a tolerance for the drug requiring them to use increasingly larger amounts to achieve the same feeling they experienced when they first began to use. After awhile, the tolerance level to the drug rises to the level that heroin use in any amount stops producing the euphoric effect the user once experience altogether. When this occurs, the addict continues to seek and take the drug just to feel "normal." They become physically dependent upon the drug. Thus becoming addicted.
How to overcome Heroin addiction:
Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs available around the globe. It is also one of the most difficult addiction to overcome. But still there's way out! The first and the most important step to withdraw heroin is 'determination'. You have to be honest to yourself. You have to think that either you give it up or it's the end of the world. So, first, firmly decide that you will give it up no matter what. And then comes the procedures.
A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction. Treatment tends to be more effective when heroin abuse is identified early. The treatments that follow vary depending on the individual, but methadone, a synthetic opiate that blocks the effects of heroin and eliminates withdrawal symptoms, has a proven record of success for people addicted to heroin. Other pharmaceutical approaches, like levo-alpha-acetyl-methadol and buprenorphine, and many behavioral therapies also are used for treating heroin addiction. Besides medical treatments, here are some useful tips:
- Realize that it is absolutely necessary to change your lifestyle. What you did and thought before and during your addiction was what got you into your mess, so don't hold on to it. Be open to change and changes!
- Do not go out with or associate with the same heroin using people. THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS! Even if you think they are, they aren't!
- Do not go to the same heroin using places
- Find new activities to occupy your time now that you are not using heroin
- Develop new friendships with non-using people
- Make plans for your free time so you are not bored and thinking about using heroin
- Determine what you consider risky situations/feelings/thoughts that could cause you to use again (for example: "one last time", or feeling lonely, or having a lot of money and the opportunity to buy some heroin). Try to find alternatives for all these situations BEFORE they happen, so you will be ready to deal with them when the time comes.
- Think of what you can do when you feel the need to use. Try to list as many alternatives as possible, for example, take a shower, be social, exercise, a meeting or call a friend. The bottom line is finding a distraction and purpose for your life.
- A long term, structured and stable environment is crucial for a successful recovery from heroin addiction.
- Developing a generally healthy lifestyle can help you stop using heroin.
In most of the cases when someone is seriously addicted to heroin, he/she must go through prescribed medical treatments.
You have to remember that withdrawal from heroin is not a matter of joke. It will cause troubles. It will effect your body and mind adversely in different steps of withdrawal. But once you are out of it, you are out of it! In this long run, the most important thing is 'determination'. So, you have to keep it high no matter what!
Here's a comment of a person who finally recovered from this dreadful addiction. He is saying these words to a current addict who is trying to overcome:
"I have been right there where you are now. I think maybe the first couple days are probably the worst but you are doing a great job so far so just hang in there it takes time. Once you get past the withdrawal you can begin to change your life. I know you can do it. Just remember this you only have to go through it once. I had to go through it many times until God reached down and pulled me up the last time. I would also like to tell you that no matter what happens never ever give up keep on fighting you will make it."
[Disclaimer: All information and pictures used in this article are collected from Internet]