Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. It is an opiate, which produced from the liquid sap of the opium poppy plant. It was first developed in Germany in 1898 as a stronger and supposedly non-addictive form of morphine. Usually, it is sold as a white or brownish powder or as the black sticky substance Known on the streets as ¡§black tar heroin¡¨. Although white and brownish powder is becoming more common, most streets heroin is mixed with other drugs such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, quince, and strychnine or other poisons. Heroin can often lead to overdose and death. It is usually injected, sniffed, or smoked, so many diseased such as HIV can be spread by sharing needles. Heroin user may inject up to four times per day. When heroin is sniffed or smoked, peak effects are usually felt within ten to fifteen minutes. Heroin is three times more portent than morphine.

It also has three nicknamed: ¡§H¡¨,¡§horse¡¨, and¡§smack¡¨.

Short-Term Effects Once it is injected, heroin crosses the blood-brain barrier. In the brain, heroin is converted into morphine. Abusers usually report feeling a surge of pleasurable sensation, a ¡§rush¡¨. The intensity of the rush depends on how many drugs are taken and how fast it enters the brain. Heroin is especially addictive because it enters the brain so quickly. The short-term effect rush is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in extremities, which may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and severe itching. Heroin can damage the limbic system, which controls emotion to increase feelings of pleasure. It can block pain messages transmitted by the spinal cord from the body. It can also change the brain stem, an area that controls automatic functions, and depress breathing. After the initial effects, abusers will usually be drowsy for several hours. The cardiac function slows; breathing is severely slow, sometimes to the point of death. Heroin overdose is a huge risk for people.

Long-Term Effects One of the most dangerous long-term effects of heroin is addiction. Heroin abusers gradually spend more and more time and energy obtaining and using the drug. This drug literally changed their brains. It causes diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C, collapsed veins, bacterial infections, infections of heart lining and valves, arthritis and pain joints, muscles, and fibrous tissues. It can also cause unconsciousness, the pupils become very small, skin becomes cold, moist and bluish color, breathing slows down and sometimes death form overdose.

Heroin also produces profound degrees of tolerance and physical dependence. Physical dependence develops with higher doses of the drug. With physical dependence, the body adapts to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced abruptly. Physical dependence and the emergence of withdrawal symptoms were once behind to be the key features of heroin addiction. As heroin leaves the brain and body, users experience withdrawal symptoms. They include sweating, shaking, insomnia, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, diarrhea, vomiting, panic, chills, pulse, respiration, and temperature will all elevate. They generally fade about a week, but the biggest problem in staying off heroin is fighting the psychological craving.

Conclusion Heroin is already known as an illegal drug throughout the world. It is not a safe drug because it causes a lot of diseases and it is very addictive. Also, the abusers could be trapped in a world from which they cannot escape without help. Physical dependence and tolerance travel very quickly through heroin. They will be hooked on the drugs and trying to stop it is very hard. We really think that heroin is really dangerous for heroin abusers and making this drug illegal is the right thing to do.