Heroin is a highly addictive narcotic derived from morphine. Heroin’s medicinal use and sale are prohibited in the United States and other countries.
Heroin, like all illegal drugs, is obtained from criminals who import it from other criminals who obtain it from the following sources:
- An estimated 90 percent of the world’s opium production occurs in Afghanistan;
- Although Mexico and Colombia opium production accounts for less than four percent of the world’s total production, they supply most of the heroin to the United States;
- Mexican growers and refiners supply an estimated 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. heroin market, primarily to dealers west of the Mississippi River;
- Colombia supplies heroin to dealers in most of the remainder of the states east of the Mississippi.
Heroin is included in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Like other opium alkaloids, it can produce analgesia (the inability to feel pain), respiratory depression, gastrointestinal spasm, and physical dependence. It produces its major effects on the central nervous system and bowels and alters the endocrine and autonomic nervous systems. Heroin is more powerful than morphine and acts more rapidly.
Once heroin gets into the bloodstream it is carried to the brain and crosses the blood-brain barrier (a barrier that selectively determines what chemicals are allowed to reach the brain). Once across the blood-brain barrier, heroin, which becomes morphine in the liver, activates the endorphin receptors to release more endorphins. The increased endorphins, the body’s natural pain medicine, creates a feeling of comfort and well-being and for many—a sense of euphoria.
Repeated use of heroin produces tolerance to most of the acute opioid effects; physical dependence develops concurrently with tolerance. Withdrawal from heroin after relatively few exposures commonly produces acute abstinence syndrome. Withdrawal signs are usually observed shortly before the next planned dose and commonly include anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and craving for another dose. Other withdrawal signs that may appear 8 to 15 hours after the last dose include crying, perspiration, yawning, and restless sleep. On awakening from such sleep the severely addicted heroin user may experience withdrawal signs, such as vomiting, pain in the bones, diarrhea, convulsions, and cardiovascular collapse. Withdrawal signs usually peak at between 36 and 48 hours and gradually subside during the following 10 days.
When it is refined, commercial heroin is usually a white powder with a bitter taste. Pure heroin is rarely sold on the streets. Most heroin that is sold on the street is a powder varying in color from white to dark brown. The differences in color primarily relate to the presence of additives that “cut” or dilute the purity of the heroin. Some heroin, particularly heroin from Mexico, actually looks more like tar and is called “black tar” heroin.
The most common methods of heroin use are:
- Intravenous injection which gets the drug directly into the bloodstream, causing the effects to be felt in under a minute.
- Intramuscular injections (a syringe which injects the heroin in a muscle) which delays the reaction to between five to eight minutes.
- Snorting or smoking which delays the reaction to between 10 to 20 minutes.
In the 1960’s to the early 80’s the heroin sold on the streets was less than 10% pure. By the end of the 1990”s, the purity of heroin had dramatically increased to over 60% pure. Among other names, heroin is called “H,” “horse,” “smack,” “skag,” and “junk.”
According to the Washington Post, U.S. statistics for the year 2015 reveal that for the first time since at least the late 1990s, there were more deaths due to heroin than to traditional opioid painkillers, like hydrocodone and oxycodone.
The article goes on to say that more people died from heroin-related causes than from gun homicides in 2015. As recently as 2007, gun homicides outnumbered heroin deaths by more than 5 to 1.
Much of the current opioid predicament stems from the explosion of prescription painkiller use in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Widespread painkiller use led to many Americans developing dependencies on the drugs. When various authorities at the state and federal levels began issuing tighter restrictions on painkillers in the late 2000s, much of that demand shifted over to the illicit market, feeding the heroin boom of the past several years.
As reported in Forbes, in 2010, the prescription opiate, oxycodone, was the primary drug implicated in overdose deaths in the U.S. But now, based on data from a new report from the Center for Disease Control, heroin is the leading cause of overdose deaths.
The new study employed a new method to search for specific drugs implicated the overdose deaths, including words such as “drug” and “overdose” as search terms.
The results are striking: Overdose deaths from heroin jumped from 3,000 in 2010 to 10,000 in 2014. Meanwhile, deaths from oxycodone remained steady at 5,000, unchanged from 2010.
Breitbart News reported that the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show that there were nearly13,000 deaths related to heroin overdose in 2015. Heroin deaths surpassed firearm-related homicides for the first time ever in 2015.
There is an alarming new trend among heroin users.
They’re mixing the drug with the synthetic opiate fentanyl — an anesthetic which the most potent narcotic in clinical use today. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Street names for fentanyl or for fentanyl-laced heroin include Apache, China White, Dance Fever, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash.
“The big thing with heroin users now is finding heroin laced with fentanyl,” explains Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Spokesperson Matthew Barden to the Business Insider. “Fentanyl to the touch in its pure form will kill you by touching it.”
Barden recalls an addict who used heroin laced with fentanyl explaining his decision:
The junkie said, “Hey, ya know what? We all know that it could very well kill us, but that is exactly what we are looking for. To get as close to the line as we can possibly get,” Barden said.
With other street names such as Drop Dead, Flatline, and Lethal Injection, fentanyl-laced heroin and cocaine are marketed by drug dealers as the “ultimate high.”
Tragically when heroin is mixed or cut with fentanyl by drug dealers, “the ultimate high” is the high potential for the lethal combo to elicit immediate respiratory failure in users.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; John 10:10a
I am a retired Health and Physical Educator who had worked for New York City’s Board of Education for over thirty two years. The last twenty five of those years were in a violent inner city school in a drug infested neighborhood.
What I noted was that Nancy Regan’s “Just Say No to Drugs” campaign was a failure.
Teaching the harmful effects of substance abuse often made the students more curious. Knowing that something is dangerous is often lost on teenagers who think they are indestructible.
It has been decades now that the public has been made aware of the harmful and often fatal dangers of smoking cigarettes. Has that information resulted in a smoke-free America? Although tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, still 15% of the adult population still smokes.
People who are hurting often seek to self medicate with alcohol, drugs, pornography or other addictive behaviors. Others get hooked on their medications. Many people use pharmaceutical drugs in spite of a litany of harmful side effects. Others turn to street drugs because of past abuse, rejection or hopelessness in spite of knowing the danger.
Knowing that something is harmful doesn’t empower a person to refrain from using and abusing harmful substances.
“Just Pray NO!” is a ministry that understands that people need to be changed from the inside out. We understand the life changing power of the written word of God (the Bible), prayer offered up to our divine Creator, the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the authority in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Jesus proclaimed in Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
The Son of God was empowered by the Spirit of Yehovah to heal the brokenhearted and proclaim liberty to the captives and the oppressed. The word translated from the Greek word, aichmalótos (aheekh-mal-o-tos’) as captives, literally means “taken by the spear” and understood to mean “prison of war.” The word translated as “oppressed” in English comes from the Greek word, thrauó ((throw’-o) and means “I crush, break, shatter.”
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; John 10:10b
The “bad news” is that Satan is in a spiritual war against humanity. The Adversary has used heroin and other powerful drugs to shatter lives and imprison souls.
It is so very vital that we understand that there is an unseen spiritual battle that has been taking place throughout the course of human history since the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Our fight is not against human beings, but against the devil and his hierarchy of evil spirits. Satan is the god of this dark world who has blinded the minds of the unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). He is the prince of the power of the air who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). We cannot fight this battle in our own strength but must be strong in the Lord and his mighty power.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10b
The “good news” is that Messiah Jesus came not only to heal, deliver and set free sinful mankind, but give us an abundant life. That abundant life is not only for our time here on earth but for eternity!
If you are abusing heroin or other drugs and want to lead a victorious life and be set free from addiction you need to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Becoming a Christian is not based on feelings but on the truth of God’s Holy Word. Neither does going to church make you a Christian. Being born-again and forgiven of your sins is based on your placing your trust on Christ’s finished work on the cross. Accepting His substitutionary sacrifice on your behalf is what restores you back to right relationship with God. If you are truly saved, you will have the power of the Holy Spirit within you to change and yes, you will start to feel and act differently. You will know a peace that passes understanding and the joy of the LORD.
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus, pray this following prayer or a similar prayer today:
“Lord Jesus Christ,
I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to earn my way to heaven. Although I deserve God’s wrath, by God’s mercy, I accept your free gift of eternal life by faith. I believe that You were born of a virgin and died on the cross to pay the price of my sins. I believe you were buried, rose again on the third day, have ascended into heaven, and will soon come again.
Lord, please forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and take control of my life.” AMEN
If you sincerely prayed this prayer, then you have just made a decision by faith to accept the free gift (God’s grace) of the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah (the Christ), whose suffering and death paid the price of your sins. You have been born again. Let us know because we want to rejoice with you.