January 25-31, 2016 is National Drug and Alcohol Facts week and is a great opportunity for adults to learn how to talk to their kids about drugs and for teens to learn the true dangers and risks that come with drugs. The best way to prevent teens from using or experimenting with drugs is to talk to them about the facts. One of the worst overdose epidemics facing our nation today is heroin. Use these facts to talk to your family and loved ones today. -All American Healthcare Hammond
It’s important to let your children make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes; however, it is more important to support and prepare your children for the decisions they will face in life. Talk to your kids about drugs and the short and long-term dangers that come with it.
The Center for Disease Control has reported staggering death rates caused by heroin overdoses. The rate of heroin-related deaths nearly quadrupled over a 10 year span. The number of adolescents using heroin is on the rise. Let’s address this battle before our kids have to.
What can we do to prevent our loved ones from falling victim to these deadly circumstances? Talk to them about the facts. No human is stronger than heroin.
Here are facts that you can share with friends, family, and loved ones.
What is Heroin?
- Heroin, also known as diamorphine, was first synthesized in England in the late 1800s.
- Like opium and morphine, heroin is made from the sap-like milk removed from the pod of the poppy flower. The opium is refined to make morphine, then further refined to make heroin.
- Heroin was originally intended to be a non-addictive substitute for morphine; however, it was quickly discovered that the body rapidly metabolizes the drug back into morphine.
- Opium addiction was a major problem in the US in the 1850, and heroin was intended to be the non-addictive solution. Heroin proved to be more addictive then both opium and morphine.
- The sale, importation and manufacturing of the drug have been forbidden in the US since 1924.
Heroin has become the most widely abused opiate in the world. -The Heroin Project
What Makes Heroin Harmful?
- Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive opioid drug.
- Unlike alcohol, once you try heroin you are addicted due to its high potency and its ability to rapidly boost the mood to create a sense of euphoria.
- A heroin overdose can cause slow, shallow breathing, coma and death.
- Users often use heroin with other drugs or alcohol. This increases your risk of overdose.
- Heroin is usually injected; however, it can also be smoked or snorted.
- Injecting heroin puts you at risk of viral infections like HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis B. It can also put you at risk of bacterial infections of the skin, bloodstream, and heart.
- When heroin is injected into the muscle, the onset of euphoria takes about 5-8 minutes. When it is injected into the blood, the user has the most rapid onset, happening within 7-8 seconds.
- Once you are addicted to the drug, your body will go through painful withdrawal that can involve pain, nausea and despair.
What Does Heroin Look Like?
- In its purest form, heroin looks like a white powder, similar to cocaine.
- Heroin can very between white, yellow, brown and gray.
- The drug is often “cut” with other substances such as sugar, powdered milk, or baby laxatives.
- You cannot determine the potency of heroin by looking at it or taking it. You will only know once it is in your system.
- You cannot tell what substances are mixed with the drug. A legal dose of substances such as fentanyl can easily be mixed without knowing.
- You cannot tell the drug’s concentration by looking at it so there is always a chance of overdose.
- Heroin purchased off the streets also has a high chance of being mixed with other toxins that can cause permanent damage to internal organs and blood vessels.
What Has Caused the Rise in Heroin Use?
- A rise in prescription painkiller abuse such as opioid prescriptions
- Prescription drug abuse without proper consultation with doctors
- Lack of access to substance abuse treatment centers
- Lack of subscription consistency across the US
- Improper disposable of prescription drugs
Who is Most as Risk of Heroin Addiction?
- People addicted to prescription opioid painkillers
- People addicted to other drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, or alcohol
- People without insurance
Heroin use more than doubled among young adults ages 18–25 in the past decade.
More than 9 in 10 people who used heroin also used at least one other drug.
45% of people who used heroin were also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. -CDC
Talk to your children today about the facts and risks of heroin and other drugs. There are countless personal stories and testimonies online that can make strong impacts on readers. Address these facts and dangers with your family today so you can help them make the right choice tomorrow.
Learn more about the risks of using heroin and other drugs.
- Learn how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose.
- Get help for substance abuse problems: 1-800-662-HELP.
For more information on MAT and naloxone, visit SAMHSA at: www.samhsa.gov.