Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is a depressant that affects the body's central nervous system by slowing down the activity of certain chemicals in the brain. This slows down the whole body, including breathing and heart rate. Heroin belongs to a group of drugs called narcotic analgesics or opioids. These drugs are very strong pain relievers that are derived from a substance produced by the opium poppy that are, when dried, known as opium.
Heroin is usually injected, sniffed/snorted, or smoked. Typically, a heroin abuser may inject up to four times a day. Intravenous injection provides the greatest intensity and most rapid onset of euphoria (7 to 8 seconds), while intramuscular injection produces a relatively slow onset of euphoria (5 to 8 minutes). When heroin is sniffed or smoked, peak effects are usually felt within 10 to 15 minutes. Injection continues to be the predominant method of heroin use among addicted users.
The effects of heroin will vary from person to person depending on the characteristics of the user, drug, and environment. The users mood, physical size, health, gender, previous experience with heroin, expectations of the drug, personality, whether the person has had food and whether other drugs have been taken, all affect the effect of heroin. The drug itself, its purity, and how it entered the body affect the effect of heroin. Lastly, the environment, whether the person is using with friends, on his/her own, in a social setting or at home, at work or before driving, also affect the effect of heroin.
These effects are broken down as such: Short term effects at low doses- shallow breathing, sleeplessness, loss of concentration, relief from pain, and loss of balance and coordination. Short term effects at high doses- slow breathing, pupils narrow to pinpoints, skin cold to touch, and coma. Long term effects- dependence, loss of appetite, chronic constipation, heart, chest, and bronchial problems, and impotence and...