Heroin is a synthetic opiate derived from morphine, widely used as a drug of abuse. It was introduced as a medical drug over 100 years ago, in 1898 as a strong analgesic and effective remedy for coughing, asthma, and tuberculosis. It was also investigated as a less addicting analgesic opiate to substitute morphine but was later proven to be even more addictive and in 1913, the medicinal and pharmacologic production of heroin ceased.
Heroin is a very fine, odorless a white crystalline powder, but its aspect may vary depending on the purity of the product. Heroin can be smoked, sniffed, inhaled or injected subcutaneously, intravenously or intramuscularly. Injection was the most common form of use up to the discovery of AIDS. The effects of heroin can reach the brain in 15 – 30 seconds. Currently, the most utilized form of heroin is by smoking or inhaling, heating the substance on a spoon or aluminum foil and inhaling the vapors that it gives off using a tube or a cylinder.
The short terms effects of heroin include a wave of euphoria and mental confusion. After the initial euphoria, there comes a stage that alternates between awake and drowsy. Hr
Heroin slows down breathing; therefore an overdose can be fatal. Users who inject the drug are at risk for contracting infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
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