Heroin is classified as a recreational drug because of the euphoric feeling it produces. It is derived from morphine and its frequent use is associated with tolerance and strong physical dependence.
It is also one of the most harmful types of drugs currently in use, and is linked to the transmission of many diseases by the way it is supplied.
How does heroin work?
Heroin injected falls directly into the bloodstream. If it is smoked, it goes down the respiratory tract and there it reaches the blood, rises to the brain through the blood-brain barrier and then the drug comes into contact with the heroin-sensitive receptors , which makes the person feel an intense euphoria.
That is, somehow the heroin is embedded in parts of neurons that are designed to react when it comes into contact with substances produced naturally by the body. This generates a chain reaction that fully affects the parts of the brain responsible for the appearance of the sensation of pleasure.
The direct effect of heroin lasts from 3 to 4 hours, but what is important about this drug is both the effects produced by a dose and the effects of abstinence .
The effects of heroin
Of course, in addition to the feeling of euphoria and well-being that appears right at the moment of consumption, heroin produces other effects that are of an adverse nature .
The pains and discomfort of withdrawal last for 3 days. After 12 hours without heroin, nausea and diarrhea, vomiting and breathing problems appear. After 24 hours the heart arrhythmia begins, bone pain, lung problems, fevers, general irritation, moodiness, depression, and later only gets worse.
The drop in heroin levels affects the whole body. Because of its effect, the hypothalamus (responsible for levelling the body temperature) stops working well and changes from heat to cold, the nervous system generates tremors in the muscles , you feel nauseous and the diaphragm drops, causing the stomach to contract and you vomit repeatedly.
If the heroin is smoked it produces breathing problems because the drug produces a mucus that obstructs the lungs. With tobacco, the same effect is produced, but this mucus is expelled by coughing. In the case of heroin, the drug inhibits the cough reflex and the lungs fill up with mucus until the drug disappears. Over time, the tissues are damaged and their ability to fight disease is diminished, in which case pneumonia could be fatal to the user.
How does tolerance occur?
People’s brains struggle to maintain a healthy chemical stimulus while consuming the drug. Over time, the receptors that are sensitive to heroin stop working, while the brain tries to compensate for the drug flow, little by little the heroin produces a diminishing effect and the body needs larger doses to maintain the biochemical balance.
Why does resistance to treatment appear?
When the person is under the influence of heroin, the drug pushes the addicted person towards seeking immediate self-interest.
Human beings perform positive activities for survival, such as; eating, having sex, sleeping, going to the bathroom, etc. These survival activities make the neurons release in the brain the chemical substances of pleasure ; the endorphins.
In the brain of the addict new neuronal routes are formed, which directly connect heroin and pleasure. Over time the brain becomes confused and begins to consider these shortcuts to pleasure as shortcuts to survival. At that moment our nervous system begins to demand the drug above all other needs .
It is in this state that heroin is given priority over everything else. This is why we see people choosing drugs over family members, work, physical well-being, etc.
Treatment for abstinence
When it comes to treating abstinence , there is a medicine that has Buprenorphine as a component. Buprenorphine binds to the brain receptors to which heroin usually adheres, removing the need for the drug without producing its effect.
The opposite effect is achieved because the patient ingests it when there is still heroin in the body , Buprenorphine blocks the effect of the existing heroin, creating a drop in mood and a significant increase in the effects of abstinence. It is given to the patient when abstinence begins.
It is important that the patient is sincere and takes the Buroprenorphine when the sweating and yawning begins; if taken earlier, the withdrawal only tends to get worse. This must be accompanied by medical advice and psychological assistance .