Addiction treatment works, and heroin addicts have several treatment options. Longer participation in any form of treatment is associated with significantly better outcomes. Addiction: Heroin is very addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include extreme physical discomfort (with flu-like physical sickness and pain), tremors, anxiety, and intense craving.
After a couple of weeks of regular heroin use, users become physically dependent, and avoiding heroin withdrawal sickness becomes a significant motivator to continuing use. All heroin users--not just those who inject the drug--risk becoming addicted. Although it is difficult to obtain an exact number of heroin users because of the transient nature of this population, several surveys have attempted to provide estimates. A rough estimate of the hardcore addict population in the United States places the number between 750,000 and 1,000,000 users. American doctors no longer use heroin as a pain reliever due to its addictive nature and the dangers of abuse and diversion, but heroin remains used for analgesia in some countries.
Among college students surveyed in 2001, 1.2% reported using heroin during their lifetime and 0.1% reported using heroin in the 30 days before being surveyed. Of those young adults surveyed between ages 19 and 28, 2% reported using heroin during their lifetime and 0.3% reported using heroin within the 30 days before being surveyed.
An addiction to heroin can happen very quickly -- and once addicted, the realities of physical dependency make it very tough to stop using on your own. Heroin Appearance: Brown or white powder, or a black, sticky resin or tar. Arrest and Incarceration – Not only is the possession of heroin against the law, the costs of a heroin habit force a lot of people into criminal activities.
As a state, New Mexico led the nation in heroin-induced deaths for the years of 1993-1995. Both new and experienced users risk overdosing on heroin because it is impossible for them to know the purity of the heroin they are using. (Heroin sold on the street often is mixed with other substances such as sugar, starch, or quinine. An added risk results when heroin is mixed with poisons such as strychnine.)
Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulitis, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications including various types of pneumonia may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin's depressing effects on respiration.