The United States is dealing with a huge epidemic of drugs. More than 175 Americans are dying today from opioid overdose and many feel this number may not peak for years to come. While there is an increase in overdoses, while others are suffering from opioid addiction. The crisis had reached a point that it is a risk to the public health. Some blame the medical field, for the over-prescribing of pain medicines. Heroin is an illegal drug derived from a poppy plant that is highly addictive and can produce deep feelings of euphoria. As of today, heroin is a schedule 1 drug and highly addictive but it was not always that way. There are many street names, like Black Tar, China White, Dope, Eight, H, Horse, Smack and many others. The way heroin looks depends on where it comes from. White heroin comes from Southeast Asia, Off white-light brown from Columbia, Brown from South West Asia, or dark brown/black from Mexico.
Smoking heroin in the United States do not tend to smoke heroin but may inhale or inject it. Heroin was not really invented until the late 1800s and branded a non -addictive cough suppressant and on the public market. Bayer Laboratories marketed it to the public because it had minor effects. It wasn’t until the mid-19th-century opioid dependency began to develop. Long-term opioid use became a patent medicine and a standard to self-medicate. Heroin started as a cough suppressant, then a pain reliever, much like morphine until it was finally banned in the Heroin Act of 1924. Illegal Abuse of heroin began when heroin was smuggled in from China. This spread quickly until the Mafia drug distributors took over. Between 1965 and 1970, there were more addicts in the country. With the Vietnam War going on, many feared the heroin epidemic would rise, and they were correct. South Vietnam held 95 percent pure heroin sold openly.
It wasn’t until 1971 reports stated that 10-15 percent of American troops were dependent on heroin. That is when the US government began to step in and regulated urine tests before discharge. After, President Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to battle the drug epidemic on June 1, 1973. Once heroin is smoked, snorted or injected, it converts and binds to opioid receptors that control pain perception, reward, blood pressure, and breathing. Arousal is also affected while using heroin. Heroin induces a high immediately after taking it and last for about 30 minutes. The high can consist of “ the nod’; a back and forth state of consciousness and time consciousness. This feeling gives a cloudy mental ability and inability to function. Heroin causes concern because it has the potential to cause respiratory depression because of the toxicity potential and the dependence potential. This continues the pattern for addicts to use. Tolerance depends on the usage but with repeat experiences, it increases. There are usually negative psychological behaviors that accompany heroin use. Since injection is the cheapest and easiest drug to hide, it became more common because the “high” was so intense. That is one reason heroin could turn into an expensive habit, the intense high.
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