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Heroin Addiction

By Steve Joseph

Heroin is widely known as a highly addictive illegal opiate. This drug is derived from some morphine which is extracted from the seeds of poppy plants. Heroin is usually whitish or brown in color and has a very high street value. Much like cocaine, heroin is often cut with cheaper inert compounds to maximize profits for dealers. Sugar, starch, quinine and even powdered milk are all commonly used for cutting pure heroin. This uncertainty that always surrounds the purity of heroin is the cause for many fatalities that result from heroin overdoses. Many heroin users consume the drug intravenously to minimize waste, although this means of delivery has some inherent problems. The risk of infection and the transmission of hepatitis HIV/AIDS and other diseases that are transmissible by blood can easily occur among heroin users. Usually this is due to sharing of needles and unsanitary equipment, thus prompting many governments around the world to instigate needle exchange programs.

Today the drug remains quite popular and appears to be hitching a ride on the coat tails of Club Drugs, which accounts for a huge portion of drug users. The 1998 National Household Survey estimates that 2.4 million Americans have used heroin at some point in their lives with a sizeable number claiming to have used the drug at least once in the past month. Although somewhat less effective, the new generation of heroin users is more prone to smoking, snorting and sniffing heroin rather than injecting. I guess at least part of the health warning message has been getting through.

The median age of heroin users today is much lower than in previous decades>, which is further evidence that heroin use may be closely linked to popularity in Club Drugs. Even though sniffing, snorting and smoking heroin does allow users to avoid the dangers associated with intravenous drug use, this method of delivery still results in a high level of addiction. The intensity of the initial "rush or "hit is less intense and more gradual but the principle of addiction assures that these means of heroin use still have a high propensity for future problems.

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