The most serious health effect of heroin use is the possibility of death due to accidental overdose. Because heroin is an illegal drug and can be handled and cut (mixed with other ingredients) by various suppliers before it reaches street-level users, those who use the drug never know how potent or pure the heroin they are using is until they use it. Heroin is often mixed with sugar, starch, quinine, and sometimes, strychnine or other poisons, adding other potential dangers. Because of the unknown strength and actual contents of the heroin they are taking, users are at a great risk of overdose and death.
On the day Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an apparent heroin overdose, so did roughly 100 other Americans 100 lives claimed by heroin or some other drug.
Everyones talking about him, and we want to know whose phone numbers were in his cellphone, says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. All of thats important, but in Washington, in San Diego, in Chicago and in Vermont, people died. And thats the nature of this. People say he was a smart guy, that he should have known it was bad. Of course he knew it was bad the problem is, his brain was constantly telling him that some heroin would be a very good idea.”
Hoffmans death highlights a steep increase in drug overdoses. Consider that in 2010, there were 38,329 such deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thats more than double the 16,849 fatal …
The effects on the body from continued use of this drug are very destructive. Frequent injections can cause collapsed veins and can lead to infections of the blood vessels and heart valves. Tuberculosis can result from the general poor condition of the body. Arthritis is another long-term result of heroin addiction. The addict lifestyle—where heroin users often share their needles—leads to AIDS and other contagious infections. It is estimated that of the 35,000 new hepatitis C2 (liver disease) infections each year in the United States, over 70% are from drug users who use needles.
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