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Heroin is an illegal substance in the opioid class. Other opioids include morphine, codeine, pethidine, buprenorphine and methadone. Heroin is made from the sap of the opium poppy. It is highly addictive and people who use it can become dependent and experience cravings. Initial effects include feelings of wellbeing and relief from physical pain. One of the adverse effects of using heroin is the risk of overdose.
Longer-term use can cause ificant health and lifestyle problems. This means that the person using Effects of using heroin has no idea if the dose will be strong or weak. Heroin generally takes the form of granules or powder, and can range in colour from white to brown. Users generally inject it intravenously into a veinbut they can also snort or smoke it. Heroin is a central nervous system depressant. The person may lose consciousness or lapse into a coma. Ambulance officers, family and friends can give the medication naloxone to reverse the effects of heroin.
In Februarynaloxone was rescheduled to be made available for purchase over the counter. Talk with your pharmacist for more information. If the person has taken other depressants such as sleeping pills, tranquillisers, methadone or alcohol, the effects of heroin are increased. This can result in coma or even death. Some of the immediate effects of taking heroin include:.
One of the most dangerous adverse effects of heroin use is the risk of overdose. The symptoms of overdose include:. If someone who has taken drugs does not respond when you talk to them, is snoring loudly or making gurgling noises, they may be in a coma and having trouble breathing. Their airway may be blocked by their tongue falling back or other blockages. This is a medical emergency. As with some other drugs, a person can build up a tolerance to heroin. After only a short time, the person using heroin will need to take larger doses to achieve the same effect.
For some people who are dependent on heroin, nothing else in life matters except the drug. They may ignore their career, relationships and even basic needs like eating. Financial, legal and other personal problems may be related to heroin use.
The person craves the drug and this psychological dependence makes them panic if they cannot have it, even temporarily. Withdrawal symptoms can start after a matter of hours without a dose of heroin. They may include:. This has been produced in consultation with and approved by:. Asking for help when you first suspect you have an alcohol or drug problem is important. If you think you have an addiction, speak to your local doctor or phone DirectLine. The size of a standard drink can vary according to the type of alcohol.
Amphetamines are psychostimulant drugs that speed up the workings of the brain. Prolonged misuse of steroids can cause liver damage and severe mood swings. Benzodiazepines tranquillisers are highly addictive and should only be used for certain conditions in a short-term or emergency situation. Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, Effects of using heroin or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional.
The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances. The State of Victoria and the Department of Health shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website.
Home Drugs. Actions for this Listen Print. Summary Read the full fact sheet. On this. How heroin works Effects of heroin Symptoms of heroin overdose What to do if you suspect an overdose Heroin dependence and tolerance Symptoms of heroin withdrawal Damage caused by long-term heroin use Treatment for heroin addiction Where to get help.
How heroin works Heroin is a central nervous system depressant. Effects of heroin The effects of heroin depend on: the strength of the dose the size, weight, general health and state of mind of the person taking the heroin the effects of other drugs and medication that they might have taken at the same time or even in the last two days. Some of the immediate effects of taking heroin include: a rush of pleasurable feelings and relief from physical pain feeling sick or vomiting shallow breathing, drowsiness and sleepiness a drop in body temperature narrowing of the pupils loss of sex drive.
Symptoms of heroin overdose One of the most dangerous adverse effects of heroin use is the risk of overdose. The symptoms of overdose include: dangerously low body temperature slowed breathing blue lips and fingernails cold, clammy skin convulsions and coma. What to do if you suspect an overdose If someone who has taken drugs does not respond when you talk to them, is snoring loudly or Effects of using heroin gurgling noises, they may be in a coma and having trouble breathing.
Heroin dependence and tolerance As with some other drugs, a person can build up a tolerance to heroin. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal Withdrawal symptoms can start after a matter of hours without a dose of heroin. They may include: cravings diarrhoea and vomiting stomach cramps sweating bone, t and muscle pain and twitching mood swings and crying. Treatment for heroin addiction Treatment options for heroin addiction include: detoxification individual counselling group therapy medication programs such as methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone.
Where to get help In an emergency, always call triple zero Your doctor — for information or referral to a drug treatment service Alcohol and drug treatment services — for help with dependence, detoxification, individual counselling and group therapy DrugInfo. Heroin, Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
What are the medical complications of chronic heroin use? Give feedback about this. Was this helpful? Yes No. View all drugs.
Related information. Support groups Family Drug Help. From other websites Australian Drug Information Network. Counselling Online. Family Drug Help. Narcotics Anonymous Victoria. Content disclaimer Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Reviewed on:Effects of using heroin
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