The heroin epidemic is a nationwide crisis. It’s destroying families, taking lives and costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The Enquirer spent a week in July chronicling the impact of heroin and found at least 180 overdoses and 18 deaths connected to the drug or to synthetic opiates.
Some frequently asked questions about the drug and how it works:
What is heroin?
Heroin is produced from morphine, a natural substance drawn from opium poppy plants. It’s part of the opioid family of drugs, commonly used in medicine to relieve pain.
How does heroin work?
The drug binds to receptors in the brain involved with feelings of pain and emotions. It also can impact heart rate, breathing and other body functions. The drug can cause feelings of euphoria, but also long-term damage to the heart, liver and kidneys.
What are opioids?
The family of drugs that includes heroin, many prescription painkillers and powerful synthetic opiates such as fentanyl and carfentanil. Some of these drugs are made from poppy plants while others are produced in labs.
Is heroin addictive?
Yes. Researchers say using heroin and other opioids can have an extreme impact on the brain, essentially rewiring it to the point it cannot function normally without the drug. The drug is intensely pleasurable. And when the level of the drug in the body falls, it’s the opposite.
What happens during withdrawal?
Users become emotional and their fight-or-flight mechanism is triggered. The body reacts with an onslaught of flu-like symptoms, including diarrhea, muscle cramps, runny nose, fever and cough.
What happens during an overdose?
Breathing can slow or stop and heroin users can develop a condition known as hypoxia, which means the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen. This can be fatal. It also may cause short-term and permanent brain damage.
What is naloxone?
Also known by the brand name Narcan, this drug can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It can be administered through a nasal spray or directly into the bloodstream through an IV or other means.
Date Posted: Monday, September 11th, 2017 , Total Page Views: 1252
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