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Of all the addictive drugs that’ve warped the fabric of American society, heroin abuse and addiction has remained an ongoing problem for decades on end. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as of 2011, an estimated 4.2 million Americans, 12 years old and up, have tried heroin on at least one occasion. Of this number, 23 percent become addicted to the drug.
As one of the most powerful opiate-based drugs on the market, heroin comes from morphine, which exists as a natural compound of the opium poppy seed plant. Heroin abuse occurs through snorting, smoking and IV injection, with injection being the most damaging of all methods.
Within a week’s time, someone who uses heroin on a repeated basis opens him or herself up to the drug’s track record of ruining one life after another. Here are 25 ways heroin addiction ruins lives:
- A pregnant woman who uses heroin sets herself up for any number of complications throughout the pregnancy and during the delivery.
- Heroin addicts who shoot up all but destroy the body’s cardiovascular system and risk eventual heart failure.
- Heroin addiction weakens the body’s respiratory system making addicts more susceptible to illness.
- Heroin addictions keep the body in a perpetual state of withdrawal discomfort.
- Heroin’s effects essentially destroy cells and tissues as well as cause considerable damage to organ structures.
- Heroin IV users remain at high risk of contracting blood-borne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C.
- The risk of overdose and even death increases the longer a person continues to use heroin.
- Long-term heroin use takes years off a person’s lifespan.
- For former long-term addicts, the potential for relapse can stay with a person for decades.
- Heroin’s effects leaves addicts unable to function for any length of time on the job.
- Criminal behavior becomes an inevitable outcome from chronic heroin use.
- Heroin’s effects make addicts more prone to developing psychological disorders.
- Jail time for heroin-related activity can run as long as three years for multiple offenses.
- A heroin addiction lifestyle destroys relationships, marriages and families.
- Heroin’s effects destroy a person’s sense of self and compassion towards others.
- Maintaining a heroin addiction can quickly deplete a person’s financial means.
- Heroin use wreaks havoc on the body’s hormonal balance.
- Damage to the body’s cells and tissues places addicts at high risk of developing cancer.
- Heroin’s effects on the kidneys can result in kidney failure as well as muscle deterioration throughout the body.
- The liver’s role in metabolizing heroin can cause serious damage to liver tissue.
- Heroin addicts remain at high risk of getting injured and developing lifelong disabilities.
- Heroin addiction during pregnancy greatly increases the likelihood of birth defects.
- Over time, heroin addicts become increasingly aggressive and tend towards violence-prone behaviors.
- Regular heroin users develop impulse control problems, which breed risk-taking behaviors that endanger their overall safety.
- The time, money and energy it takes to sustain a heroin addiction can leave a person homeless and destitute while the addiction lives on.