Today is our fourth and final day on the subject of heroin use. Today we will continue to talk about the consequences associated with heroin use along with the subject matter of tolerance.
A huge problem with heroin is the aspect of tolerance. Tolerance refers to the user’s inability to achieve the desired high with the same dosage he or she started out with. Sandy experienced tolerance to heroin firsthand. She would continually raise the doses of the heroin that she would take in order to feel like she did the first time she used it. However, she ever achieved that first high. Tolerance is dangerous! The more heroin that is put into the body, the greater the chances are of unwanted side effects and consequences. Overdose can also occur. Overdose is the worst possible consequence of heroin use. It is also, however, the most common. As noted, Sandy developed tolerance to the heroin quickly. This led her, again, to take higher and higher doses. Eventually, the addict will take a high enough dose that kills them. A high enough dose of heroin can suppress the respiratory or breathing rate until the individual stops breathing. This, then, leads to cardiac arrhythmias and finally death. While some overdoses are due to taking a lethal amount of heroin others are caused by combining heroin with another drug, such as cocaine which is called speed balling.
The chemical composition of heroin varies from batch to batch, so a user never knows how much heroin they are receiving in a single dose. Therefore, an amount that barely gave someone a high one day may be enough to kill them the next day. Although speed balling received more press, the most common deadly interaction is heroin and alcohol. You see, both are sedating drugs to the respiratory system, therefore, enhancing respiratory failure, cardiac arrhythmia, and death.
There are dangers of maternal heroin use. Sandy is now aware of the significant risk she placed her unborn children in as she continued with her heroin use during her pregnancies. The unborn child of a mother addicted to heroin faces an array of potential dangers before entering the world. Children born to a heroin abusing mother deal with the following: premature deliveries; stillbirths; increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. An infant born to a mother addicted to heroin are born addicted themselves and go through withdrawal upon being born. These are known as heroin babies. The withdrawal they go through is known as instant abstinence syndrome. I have stood at the side of a basinet watching a 72 hour old baby start the withdrawal process from heroin. I remember standing over that precious little girl, innocent from any wrongdoing regarding drug addiction, begging God to have mercy on her life. This is another pivotal memory that has been seared into my mind that demonstrates the devastation of drug addiction not only on the addict but others also.
Heroin also causes biological changes in the brain of addicts. Because of these biological changes, heroin withdrawal is a very serious issue. Heroin withdrawal, to say the least, is depressing, debilitating, and, in some cases, deadly. As Sandy withdrew from heroin, she experienced muscle and bone pain. In fact, some heroin addicts have told me, as they went through the withdrawal process, that every aspect of their bodies would hurt. It is not uncommon for them to cry out that their hair hurts. Along with the significant pain that is associated with heroin withdrawal, they also become extremely restless. They also experience: nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; chills; twitches of the arms and legs; irritated eyes; drainage from the eyes; nose drainage; extreme anxiety; sweating; abdominal cramping.
While the symptoms of heroin withdrawal are more intense the first several days, they can’t last, in some degree, for several weeks. To say the least, withdrawal from heroin is severe! Sandy would describe to you in great detail that, without exception, her withdrawal from heroin was a nightmare.
Friend, regardless of where you may be at this time in your struggle with heroin addiction, the good news is that there is life after heroin! Sandy found this life!
For this to be accomplished in your life there must be a change in your behavior. I want you to know that the only effective way of changing your behavior is changing the beliefs to which you hold. Please allow us at reformers unanimous to help you in this process. Our whole desire is to help you break free from this bondage to heroin and introduce to you a freedom of life that you never knew existed. Please contact us today and together we will begin a journey that will make you free.