RECREATIONAL DRUGS

Heroin
Home
LSD, a balanced review
WAR ON DRUGS: COSTS--jk
RECREATIONAL DRUGS: a fair evaluation
LSD THE PROBLEM SOLVING DRUG--jk
Quaaludes, How Drug companies Profited
Leading Causes of Death
PHARMACOLOGY OF ALCOHOL
Alcohol principle cause of heroin overdose
ECONOMICS OF DRUG WAR AND RECREATIONAL DRUGS
Supreme Court's Medical Marijuana Ruling
Canada and Freedom of Choice
GATEWAY THEORY
Drug LawTimeline
Heroin
happiness enhancing drugs?
Mandatory Minimum
Pot not a major cause of lung cancer
MARIJUANA
MARIJUANA MYTHS
MARIJUANA ARREST & PRISON DATA
NETHERLANDS & UNITED STATES
Needle program opposed, results
International Facts, Policies, & Trends: Data From Various Nations
FEDERAL PRISON SYSTEM STATS for 2002
San Pedro, a South American source of mescaline
BUSH & KERRY. their drug war records
LINKS

Warning as to true cause of heroin overdose.  About 30 years ago Consumer Report did an article on heroin in which they pointed out that the death from heroin were from the combination with other drugs—much like the barbiturate overdoses were most often due to the additive effect of alcohol—as Judy Garland and Hank Williams Sr. proved.  Consumer Report based this conclusion on two bits of evidence.  One, an overdose from heroin would be a gradual nodding out with suppression of breathing.  Heroin deaths however are sudden, sometimes with the needle still in the user’s arm (as with Lenny Bruce the comedian).  Secondly, in an experiment done in the 1920s in Philadelphia with heroin users, it was found that they could tolerate 10 times the amount of heroin they used to produce a high.  In other words, overdoses were not doing to taking too much heroin, but rather taking it with another drug in their system. See #6, where “alcohol in 45% of subjects and benzodizepines [valium family] in just over a quarter.”—jk  

 

 

FROM http://www.drugwarfacts.org/heroin.htm

Heroin

Heroin

1.       "Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder. Street names for heroin include 'smack', 'H,' 'skag', and 'junk'. Other names may refer to types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area, such as 'Mexican black tar.'"

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax on Heroin No. 13548 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/heroin.html last accessed November 16, 2000.

2.     "Acute intoxication (overdose) with opioids is characterized by euphoria, flushing, itching of the skin (particularly with morphine), miosis, drowsiness, decreased respiratory rate and depth, hypotension, bradycardia, and decreased body temperature."

Source: "Opioid Dependence", The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Section 15.Psychiatric Disorders, Chapter 195.Drug Use and Dependence, Merck & Co. Inc., from the web at http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section15/chapter195/195c.htm last accessed December 5, 2000.

3.     "Many complications of heroin addiction are related to the unsanitary administration of the drug. Others are due to the inherent properties of the drug, overdose, or intoxicated behavior accompanying drug use. Common complications include pulmonary disorders, hepatitis, arthritic disorders, immunologic changes, and neurologic disorders."

Source: "Opioid Dependence", The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Section 15.Psychiatric Disorders, Chapter 195.Drug Use and Dependence, Merck & Co. Inc., from the web at http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section15/chapter195/195c.htm last accessed December 5, 2000.

4.     "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. "

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax on Heroin No. 13548 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/heroin.html last accessed November 16, 2000.

5.     "In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin may have additives that do not readily dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs."

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax on Heroin No. 13548 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/heroin.html last accessed November 16, 2000.

6.     "A striking finding from the toxicological data was the relatively small number of subjects in whom morphine only was detected. Most died with more drugs than heroin alone 'on board', with alcohol detected in 45% of subjects and benzodiazepines in just over a quarter. Both of these drugs act as central nervous system depressants and can enhance and prolong the depressant effects of heroin."

Source: Zador, Deborah, Sunjic, Sandra, and Darke, Shane, "Heroin-related deaths in New South Wales, 1992: toxicological findings and circumstances," The Medical Journal of Australia, published on the web at http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/feb19/zador/zador.html last accessed on November 17, 2000.

7.     "Our findings that an ambulance was called while the subject was still alive in only 10% of cases, and that a substantial minority of heroin users died alone, strongly suggest that education campaigns should also emphasise that it is safer to inject heroin in the company of others, and important to call for an ambulance early in the event of an overdose. Consideration should also be given to trialling the distribution of the opioid antagonist naloxone to users to reduce mortality from heroin use."

Source: Zador, Deborah, Sunjic, Sandra, and Darke, Shane, "Heroin-related deaths in New South Wales, 1992: toxicological findings and circumstances," The Medical Journal of Australia, published on the web at http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/feb19/zador/zador.html last accessed on November 17, 2000.

8.     "The disadvantage of continuing to describe heroin-related fatalities as 'overdoses' is that it attributes the cause of death solely to heroin and detracts attention from the contribution of other drugs to the cause of death. Heroin users need to be educated about the potentially dangerous practice of concurrent polydrug and heroin use."

Source: Zador, Deborah, Sunjic, Sandra, and Darke, Shane, "Heroin-related deaths in New South Wales, 1992: toxicological findings and circumstances," The Medical Journal of Australia, published on the web at http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/feb19/zador/zador.html last accessed on November 17, 2000.

9.     "A first priority for prevention must be to reduce the frequency of drug overdoses. We should inform heroin users about the risks of combining heroin with alcohol and other depressant drugs. Not all users will act on such information, but if there are similar behavioral changes to those that occurred with needle-sharing overdose deaths could be substantially reduced. Heroin users should also be discouraged from injecting alone and thereby denying themselves assistance in the event of an overdose."

Source: Dr. W.D. Hall, "How can we reduce heroin 'overdose' deaths?" The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA 1996; 164:197), from the web at http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/feb19/hall/hall.html last accessed on November 17, 2000.

10. "Tolerance of and physical dependence on opioids (natural or synthetic) develop rapidly, therapeutic doses taken regularly over 2 to 3 days can lead to some tolerance and dependence, and when the drug is discontinued, the user may have mild withdrawal symptoms, which are scarcely noticed or are described as a case of influenza."

Source: "Opioid Dependence", The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Section 15.Psychiatric Disorders, Chapter 195.Drug Use and Dependence, Merck & Co. Inc., from the web at http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section15/chapter195/195c.htm last accessed December 5, 2000.

11. "Withdrawal, which in regular abusers may occur as early as a few hours after the last administration, produces drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps ('cold turkey'), kicking movements ('kicking the habit'), and other symptoms. Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose and subside after about a week. Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health is occasionally fatal, although heroin withdrawal is considered much less dangerous than alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal."

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax on Heroin No. 13548 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/heroin.html last accessed November 16, 2000.

12. "There is a broad range of treatment options for heroin addiction, including medications as well as behavioral therapies. Science has taught us that when medication treatment is integrated with other supportive services, patients are often able to stop heroin (or other opiate) use and return to more stable and productive lives."

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax on Heroin No. 13548 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/heroin.html last accessed November 16, 2000.

13. "In November 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a Consensus Panel on Effective Medical Treatment of Heroin Addiction. The panel of national experts concluded that opiate drug addictions are diseases of the brain and medical disorders that indeed can be treated effectively. The panel strongly recommended (1) broader access to methadone maintenance treatment programs for people who are addicted to heroin or other opiate drugs; and (2) the Federal and State regulations and other barriers impeding this access be eliminated. This panel also stressed the importance of providing substance abuse counseling, psychosocial therapies, and other supportive services to enhance retention and successful outcomes in methadone maintenance treatment programs. The panel's full consensus statement is available by calling 1-888-NIH- CONSENSUS (1-888-644-2667) or by visiting the NIH Consensus Development Program Web site at http://consensus.nih.gov."

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax on Heroin No. 13548 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/heroin.html last accessed November 16, 2000.

14. "Methadone, a synthetic opiate medication that blocks the effects of heroin for about 24 hours, has a proven record of success when prescribed at a high enough dosage level for people addicted to heroin. LAAM, also a synthetic opiate medication for treating heroin addiction, can block the effects of heroin for up to 72 hours. Other approved medications are naloxone, which is used to treat cases of overdose, and naltrexone both of which block the effects of morphine, heroin, and other opiates. Several other medications for use in heroin treatment programs are also under study."

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax on Heroin No. 13548 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/heroin.html last accessed November 16, 2000.

15. "These pilot study findings showed that opiate-dependent injecting drug users with long injecting careers (most started between 1970 and 1982) and for whom opiate treatment had failed multiple times previously were attracted into and retained by therapy with injectable opiates."

Source: Metrebian, Nicky, Shanahan, William, Wells, Brian, and Stimson, Gerry, "Feasibility of prescribing injectable heroin and methadone to opiate-dependent drug users; associated health gains and harm reductions," The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA 1998; 168: 596-600), from the web at http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/jun15/mtrebn/mtrebn.html last accessed on November 17, 2000.

16. "Prescribing injectable opiates is one of many options in a range of treatments for opiate-dependent drug users. In showing that it attracts and retains long term resistant opiate-dependent drug users in treatment and that it is associated with significant and sustained reductions in drug use and improvements in health and social status, our findings endorse the view that it is a feasible option."

Source: Metrebian, Nicky, Shanahan, William, Wells, Brian, and Stimson, Gerry, "Feasibility of prescribing injectable heroin and methadone to opiate-dependent drug users; associated health gains and harm reductions," The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA 1998; 168: 596-600), from the web at http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/jun15/mtrebn/mtrebn.html last accessed on November 17, 2000.

17. "According to the 1999 MTF (Monitoring the Future Survey), rates of heroin use remained relatively stable and low since the late 1970s. After 1991, however, use began to rise among 10th- and 12th-graders and after 1993, among 8th-graders. In 1999, prevalence of heroin use was comparable for all three grade levels. Although past year prevalence rates for heroin use remained relatively low in 1999, these rates are about two to three times higher than those reported in 1991. "

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax on Heroin No. 13548 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/heroin.html last accessed November 16, 2000.

18. "The 1999 NHSDA (National Household Survey on Drug Abuse) study reports the use of illicit drugs by those people age 12 and older. The lifetime prevalence (at least one use in a persons lifetime) for heroin for those people age 12 and older was 1.4 percent. "By age category, 0.4 percent were in the 12-17 range; 1.8 percent were 18- 25; and 1.4 percent were users age 26 and older."

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Infofax on Heroin No. 13548 (Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services), from the web at http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/heroin.html last accessed November 16, 2000.

Perspectives from Experts in the Field of Narcotics Treatment

  "Unlike alcohol or tobacco, heroin causes no ongoing toxicity to the tissues or organs of the body. Apart from causing some constipation, it appears to have no side effects in most who take it. When administered safely, its use may be consistent with a long and productive life. The principal harm comes from the risk of overdose, problems with injecting, drug impurities and adverse legal or financial consequences."

Source: Byrne, Andrew, MD, "Addict in the Family: How to Cope with the Long Haul" (Redfern, NSW, Australia: Tosca Press, 1996), pp. 33-34, available on the web at http://www.csdp.org/addict/.

  "People rarely die from heroin overdoses - meaning pure concentrations of the drug which simply overwhelm the body's responses."

Source: Peele, Stanton, MD, "The Persistent, Dangerous Myth of Heroin Overdose," from the web at http://www.peele.net/lib/heroinoverdose.html last accessed on November 18, 2000.

  "The majority of drug deaths in an Australian study, conducted by the National Alcohol and Drug Research Centre, involved heroin in combination with either alcohol (40 percent) or tranquilizers (30 percent).

Source: Peele, Stanton, MD, "The Persistent, Dangerous Myth of Heroin Overdose," from the web at http://www.peele.net/lib/heroinoverdose.html last accessed on November 18, 2000.

  "If it is not pure drugs that kill, but impure drugs and the mixture of drugs, then the myth of the heroin overdose can be dangerous. If users had a guaranteed pure supply of heroin which they relied on, there would be little more likelihood of toxic doses than occur with narcotics administered in a hospital."

Source: Peele, Stanton, MD, "The Persistent, Dangerous Myth of Heroin Overdose," from the web at http://www.peele.net/lib/heroinoverdose.html last accessed on November 18, 2000.

  "But when people take whatever they can off the street, they have no way of knowing how the drug is adulterated. And when they decide to augment heroin's effects, possibly because they do not want to take too much heroin, they may place themselves in the greatest danger."

Source: Peele, Stanton, MD, "The Persistent, Dangerous Myth of Heroin Overdose," from the web at http://www.peele.net/lib/heroinoverdose.html last accessed on November 18, 2000.

For a more complete perspective, view Drug War Facts sections on Drug Use Estimates, Methadone, Race & HIV, Syringe Exchange, and Treatment.

Common Sense for Drug Policy Presents The Facts: Heroin

 

Copyright 2000-2005, Common Sense for Drug Policy
Updated: Thursday, 24-Mar-2005 08:56:36 PST   ~   Accessed: 42822 times

 

 

Enter supporting content here

DRUG ABUSE CAUSES HARM;
OUR DRUG LAWS GREATER HARM