The Facts About Heroin

Illegal Drugs in New Jersey – Heroin

Heroin (also called diacetylmorphine) is a white, odorless, bitter crystalline compound C17H17NO(C2H3O 2)2, derived from morphine, which is a derivative of the opium poppy plant. It is the 3,6-diacetyl ester of morphine, and is actually metabolically converted to morphine once it enters the body. The drug heroin is the derivative of opium, a product of the poppy seed plant, which is almost exclusively grown in the Middle East and Southern Asia. The white crystalline form which is commonly considered “pure heroin” is usually the hydrochloride salt, also known as diacetylmorphine hydrochloride, which is normally combined with the drug as a finished product. However, on the black market heroin is usually converted to a freebase form, dulling the sheen and consistency to a matte white powder.

It has been reported by various news organizations that an estimated 50 million people or more worldwide are regular users of heroin, cocaine and synthetic drugs. Global users of heroin are estimated at between 15 – 21 million people with ages ranging from 15 years old – 64 years old. As with other opiates, heroin is used as both an analgesic and a recreational drug. Frequent and regular administration is associated with tolerance and physical dependence, which may develop into addiction. Internationally, diacetylmorphine is controlled under Schedules I and IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It is illegal to possess heroin and to sell or manufacture heroin in New Jersey and throughout the United States. In fact, almost every country in the world has made it illegal to possess or use heroin, with rare exceptions. Under the chemical name diamorphine, it is actually legally prescribed in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.

Heroin has some valid medical uses when given under proper maintenance to treat addicts. However this is obviously controversial among many supporters of the zero tolerance drug policy in the United States. Tests have shown that diacetylmorphine is superior when compared to methadone in improving the social and health situation of addicts. The hesitation to use the heroin in a medical setting is well-seeded because tolerance with the drug develops very quickly and addicts begin need more to achieve the same intense euphoria and deep relaxation. Its popularity among recreational drug users stems from the fact that heroin produces more of an intense rush when injected as opposed to other opiates. Because of this, it is considered far more addictive than other illicit drugs such as Cocaine or Marijuana. One possible explanation is the presence of 6-monoacetylmorphine, a metabolite unique to heroin. While other opioids of recreational use, such as codeine, produce only morphine, heroin also leaves 6-MAM, which is a psycho-active metabolite.

Short-term addiction studies by the same researchers demonstrated that tolerance developed at a similar rate to both heroin and morphine. When compared to the opioids hydromorphone, fentanyl, oxycodone, and pethidine/meperidine, former addicts showed a strong preference for heroin and morphine, suggesting that heroin and morphine are particularly susceptible to abuse and addiction. Morphine and heroin were also much more likely to produce euphoria and other positive subjective effects when compared to these other opioids.

Commons Ways to Ingest Heroin

Injecting Heroin

A common form of ingesting heroin is injecting it with the use of a hypodermic needle and latex tourniquet. This type of use is often referred to as “slamming”, “banging”, “shooting up” or “mainlining”. The users will dissolve the heroin by usually adding some type of acid. Addicts normally tend to inject in the most accessible veins which are found in the arms, but as these veins collapse over time, through damage caused by the acid. This causes scarring from infection in the shooting sites and shows up as what is commonly referred to as “track marks”. The dose of heroin used for recreational purposes is dependant on the frequency and level of use, thus a first-time user may use between 5 and 20 mg, while an addict may require several hundred mg per day. Users will often resort to sharing dirty needles which often transmits blood-borne disease such as HIV and hepatitis.

Smoking Heroin

Smoking heroin refers to vaporizing it to inhale the resulting fumes, not burning it to inhale the resulting smoke. It is commonly smoked in glass pipes made from glass pyrex tubes and light bulbs. It can also be smoked off aluminium foil, which is heated underneath by a flame. This method is also known as “free basing” or “chasing the dragon”.

Snorting Heroin

Another popular way to take heroin is snorting, where a user crushes the heroin into a fine powder and then sharply inhales it usually with a straw or a rolled up dollar bill, similar to cocaine. Once it is in your nose the heroin is absorbed through the soft tissue in the mucous membrane and straight into the bloodstream. This obviously creates a fast intense rush and onset of the high for the user. This method is sometimes preferred by users who do not want to use a hypodermic needle, but still want to experience a fast onset of a rush.

Eating Heroin

Taking heroin orally is less popular among recreational drug users because the high is much less intense as there is little to no “rush”, and the effects are less potent. But it is still common in some countries for users to keep a patch of heroin in the inside of their lip much like how people in the United States use tobacco dip.

International Heroin Trafficking

Traffic is heavy worldwide, with the biggest producer being Afghanistan. According to recent surveys, Afghanistan accounts for over 85 percent of the world’s production of opium. It should also be noted that Afghan opium is also estimated to kill around 100,000 people annually. At present, opium poppies are mostly grown in Afghanistan, Pakistan and in Southeast Asia, in the region known as the Golden Triangle straddling Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnan, Laos, and Yunnan province in China. There is also cultivation of opium poppies in the Sinaloa region of Mexico and in Columbia. The majority of the heroin consumed in the United States comes from Mexico and Columbia. Conviction for trafficking heroin carries the death penalty in most of Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Middle East.

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