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THE HEROIN STORY Powered By Docstoc
					                    Narcotic Educational Foundation of America
                                                       Drug Abuse Education Provider of the:
                               California Narcotic Officers’ Association

                                       THE HEROIN STORY
                                                                    QUICK FACTS:
    Heroin, an (opiate) narcotic is an illegal and highly addictive drug. Opiate dependence producing (addictive) properties are displayed by: 1.
    abusive regular use of the drug; 2. sudden attempts to stop using the drug will cause significant and painful withdrawal symptoms; 3.
    reuse of the drug will cause the withdrawal signs to disappear; 4. abuse may lead to compulsive drug seeking behavior (craving); and 5.
    abuse leads to increased frequency or dosage of the drug (tolerance).

    Heroin and other opioids primary addictive qualities are exerted on those regions of the brain and central nervous system that are
    responsible for the pleasure sensation of “reward” and the “physical / psychological dependence syndrome.” The brain’s neurochemicals
    associated with the opiates control pain and physical endurance. The additions of these drugs into the system account for the abuser’s
    loss of control. Heroin itself, as well as the “drug abusing” lifestyle, may suppress the body’s immune system. This suppression makes
    users “high risk” for infections, some life threatening. Intravenous drug abusers account for the highest percentage of HIV (AIDS) and
    hepatitis virus infected population.

HISTORY OF DRUG                                                UNDER THE INFLUENCE                    History - (continued from column 1 - this page)
                                                               SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The term opiate refers to certain alka-                    With moderate use, the user will           In 1898 heroin was marketed as a safe
loids or chemical compounds found in                       be subject to:                             product; free from the addictive proper-
the milky fluid of the unripe seed pod of                                                             ties then known to result from morphine.
the poppy plant Papaver somniferum,                        • Nausea and occasional vomit-             Being considered a depressant, it was
the only one of 28 main types of poppies                      ing because the drug acts on            used in sleeping aids; also for coughs,
from which opium is obtained. There                           the nausea center in the brain.         asthma, and was proposed as a treatment
are over 25 known alkaloids in the                         • Pinpoint pupils because opiates          for “morphinism.” However, heroin was
poppy, but the most important are mor-                        affect the muscles which control        soon to reveal a high potential for addic-
phine and codeine.                                            muscle size.                            tive abuse, causing a dependency quicker
                                                           • Slowed respiration and pulse             than morphine. It was then outlawed in
Heroin is the name, copyrighted in Ger-                       because the drug affects the
                                                                                                      the United States and is listed as a
many at the end of the 19th century, for                      part of the nervous system that
                                                                                                      scheduled non-prescribed drug. Heroin
the synthesized drug “diacetyl-                               controls those functions.
                                                                                                      has become the opiate of choice by its
morphine.” This drug is derived from                       • Dry skin and itching (histamine
                                                              reaction)                               users because of the potency, which is 4
acetylating the natural opium compound                                                                to 5 times greater than morphine. Heroin
                                                           • Slowed speech and movement.
morphine (C17H19N03) into a semi-                                                                     has a “built in trap” for the beginning
synthetic drug by the name of diacetyl-                                                               user. Heroin, when used, creates a eu-
                                                           With larger quantities to get a de-
morhpine (C21H23N05), also known as                        sired euphoric effect the user will        phoric feeling of relaxation. Along with
Heroin. Like morphine, pure heroin is a                    be subject to:                             that euphoric feeling is a more intense
white, bitter, powdered substance.                                                                    experience which occurs when the user
                                                           • Suppresses breathing to dan-             injects the drug into the vein. This expe-
Traffickers dilute it with substances that                     gerous levels.                         rience is referred to as a “Rush” or
color it from off-white to brown. In re-                   • Slows the heart rate, lowers the         “Needle Rush.” Although the novice
cent years, illicit manufacturers have                         blood pressure and become un-          user may also feel sick and even vomit
now taken a shortcut by acetylating the                        conscious.                             after an injection, this “satisfaction”
tar opium and converting the available                                     ——-                        quickly captivates the thinking of many;
morphine in the tar opium into heroin.                     If the user wants emotional effects        thus establishing a desire that just about
This type of end product takes on a “tar                   for longer period of time, they            assures continued use - and eventually
like” appearance. Usually a dark brown                     could:                                     addiction.
to black in color, and soft to hard chunk
consistency in appearance. This product                    • Become severely constipated.             If drugs did only what people wanted
is sold as” tar heroin.”                                   • Become drug dependent.                   them to, then drugs wouldn’t be much of
                                                           • Lose sexual desire.                      a problem. But drugs not only generate
                                                                                                      desired emotional and physical effects,
                                                                                                                                             (continued on page 2)
                    (continued column 3 - this page)
                                      UNBORN INFANTS SUFFER ADDICTION                      SOCIOLOGICAL
History - (continued from page 1)                                                         IMPLICATIONS OF
they also trigger unwanted dan-      Heroin can penetrate the placenta, harming         NARCOTIC ADDICTION
gerous side effects. This compe-     the developing fetus.
tition between
                                                                                       Most heroin addicts are socially
the emotional effects that users     • Heroin use impedes needed oxygen deliv-         non-functional. Their daily activi-
                                       ery to the fetus.                               ties are centered around commit-
   METHODS OF USE                                                                      ting crimes to obtain money for
Heroin has been ingested, in-        • Heroin use contributes to the danger of mis-    heroin, making a “connection”
jected, smoked, and sniffed            carriage, stillbirth, and infant mortality.     with a dealer, and trying to avoid
(insuffilation) into the nose.                                                         withdrawal pains. The activities
In the United States, the major-     • Heroin exposed infants suffer 10 times          that an addict will resort to in
                                       more chance of having birth defects than do
ity of those using heroin do so by                                                     order to obtain money to purchase
                                       unexposed fetuses.
taking a “fix” (an injection of                                                        heroin are usually harmful and
enough heroin to bring on the                                                          destructive to the person and those
                                     • Heroin use regularly during pregnancy in-
desired effects). This consists of     creases the assurance the child will be born    around them. A career of heroin
dissolving the drug in a little        addicted and suffer withdrawal symptoms         addiction may lead to destructive
water, filtering it through cotton     after birth that may be more severe than        changes in personality or impaired
into a needle, and injecting it,       those experienced by adults.                    emotional maturation.
usually into a vein. Continued
injections develop scar tissue or    • Heroin injections often result in infection
“track marks” on the vein.             that is transmitted to the infant; leading to
                                       mental retardation, impaired coordination,
Due to the public awareness of         lack of full muscle control, and even death.            METHADONE
the infectious diseases that are                                                              MAINTENANCE
associated with intravenous use      Medical treatment can help control some of
and shared needles, the users are    the immediate symptoms and suffering. Some        A synthetic opioid developed to
now more aware of rinsing their      may persist for months, and some may be           help control pain and heroin ad-
needles out with bleach between      irreversible. The child may continue to be        diction was developed by the name
injection sharing.                   hyperactive, have limited attention span, poor    of Methadone or “Dolophine.” It is
                                     coordination, and have speech problems.           the only legally authorized opioid
                                                                                       (that is not an opiate blocker) to
                                                                                       treat heroin addiction through a
                                                                                       program          known           as
                                           NEWBORNS HAVE SUFFERED:                     “maintenance.” Methadone is
                                                                                       usually taken orally causing pain
                                       Below normal weight     Food rejection          killing and depressant effects that
                                       Watery eyes              Breathing difficulty   last for 4 to 6 hours. It also
                                       Runny nose               Muscle spasms          reduces the drug craving and
                                       I rritability            Dehydration            blocks withdrawal symptoms for
                                       Sleeplessness            Severe vomiting        24 hours. Thus, only one dose is
 HEROIN AND OPIOID                     Fever                   Diarrhea                needed every day instead of 4 to 6
   ANTAGONISTS                         Pain                     Convulsions            doses of heroin. There is great
                                       Excessive crying         Death                  controversy        about        the
Opiate or opioid antagonists do                                                        “maintenance” programs because
not have much effect on the                                                            there are those who do not believe
body except for their ability to                                                       you should treat drug abuse with
block the effects of the drug.
Naloxone is effective in treating
heroin or opiate overdose. Nal-
trexone is used to prevent the
addict from using. It is usually             KIT FOR
a requirement that the user be
free of heroin for a few days               INJECTING
before starting this program.
Taking Naltrexone daily will                  HEROIN
block the effects of heroin or any
other opiate or opioid.
KICKING “COLD TURKEY”                                                        PARAPHERNALIA                                                         HEROIN SYRINGE
 WITHOUT MEDICAL AID                                             The most common method of using
                                                                 heroin is injecting it into the veins. Para-
                FIRST PERIOD                                     phernalia for injecting heroin is called
                                                                 an “outfit”, “rig”, “kit”’ or the “works”.
The first symptoms to appear are watery                          It usually consists of a spoon or bottle
eyes, mucous is discharged from the                              cap, syringe, needle, needle sheath, cot-
nose, perspiration becomes noticeable,                           ton, match or lighter, and tourniquet.
and the addict begins to yawn. Restless-
ness develops, accompanied by increas-                           Once the addict is in possession of the
ing nervousness; both becoming worse as                          injection paraphernalia and heroin, they
the addict progresses toward maximum                             are ready to “fix” (inject the heroin into                                    HEROIN ABUSE
discomfort.                                                      the vein.)
     WITHDRAWAL SICKNESS                                         The heroin will be taken out of the
                                                                 packaging and placed in the empty                                      •   Respiratory depression
Regardless of the severity of the first                          spoon or cap. Water will be put into the                               •   Infection of inner heart lining
period symptoms, the worst is still to be                        syringe and then into the spoon or cap                                 •   Swelling lung tissue
endured. Piercing abdominal cramps,                              containing the heroin. The mixture is                                  •   Blood clots lodged in the lungs
nausea, vomiting, retching, gagging,                             then heated with a heat source until the                               •   High blood pressure
choking, plus mental despair reaching                            first bubble rises to the surface of the                               •   Liver disease
the level of hopelessness, hardly de-                            solution and the heroin dissolves. A                                   •   Tetanus
scribes the “kicking” experience addicts                         small amount of cotton is placed in the                                •   Abscesses
suffer. Huddled under what covers they                           bowl of the spoon or cap to prevent                                    •   Clots and inflammation of
have, resorting to a fetal position, shiver-                     clogging of the needle. The solution is                                    blood vessels
ing even in hot weather, they become                             then drawn into the syringe through the
pictures of a tragic scene of a human                            cotton. The cotton is saved for a “rainy
                                                                                                                                             DESIGNER HEROIN
being who has hit bottom.                                        day” and can be squeezed to help the
                                                                 addict maintain until they can score                                   Street versions of fentanyls (alpha,
                    CRAVING                                                                                                             3 methyl) and Demerol (MPPP,
                                                                                                                                        MPTP), manufactured in illegal lab-
After the several days during which a                                           INJECTION SITES                                         oratories, are extremely potent and
user “kicks it out”, the worst symptoms                                                                                                 can cause drug overdoses and even
of abstinence decline until most signs of                                                                                               nervous system damage. Sold as
drug deprivation disappear. The memory                                                                                                  “China White,” these drugs bear
of euphoria, the drug crutch to “lean” on,                                                                                              witness to a growing sophistication
and other recollections often become                                                                                                    of street chemists who now can by-
overwhelming. Addicts, ignoring the                                                                                                     pass the traditional smuggling and
dangers involved, experiencing the “old”                                                                                                trafficking routes of heroin. Street
mental craving, yield to the temptation of                                                                                              fentanyls can be up to 3,000 to
“just one heroin fix”, thus the whole                                                                                                   20,000 times stronger than regular
cycle begins over again- and again - and                                                                                                heroin.
again. Thus the adage “a hype -is a hype
-is a hype.”                                                                                                                            Street Demerol containing a chemi-
                                                                                                                                        cal MPTP, can destroy brain cells
                                                                                                                                        and neurochemicals and induce the
                                                                                                                                        degerative nerve condition known

                                                           “HEROIN: THE DRUG OF DEATH”

   There are an estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million heroin abusers in the United States. Over half of all drug deaths in the
   United States are the result of heroin use. The ever presence of higher grade and synthetic heroin is expected to cause
   drug related deaths to increase. Overdose is a constant danger as street heroin is never cut (diluted) in an exact scientific
   proportion. It is whatever each peddler decides the traffic will bear. The heroin overdose death is usually very quick.
   Addicts who have overdosed have been found with the needle still sticking in the vein. The speed of this killer drug leaves
   little anyone can do to save the persons life.

    This information is provided free of charge. Please feel free to duplicate it for distribution. For other publications, contact us at (661) 775-6960, or visit our web site at:

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