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  • 1. The truth aboutHeroin k H ac Sm g Junk a S k Horse drugfreeworld.org
  • 2. WHY THIS BOOKLET WAS PRODUCEDT here is a lot of talk about drugs in the world—on the streets, at school, on the Internet and TV. Some of it is true, some not.Much of what you hear about drugs actually comes from those sellingthem. Reformed drug dealers have confessed they would have saidanything to get others to buy drugs.Don’t be fooled. You need facts to avoid becoming hooked on drugsand to help your friends stay off them. That is why we have preparedthis booklet—for you.Your feedback is important to us, so we look forward to hearing fromyou. You can visit us on the web at drugfreeworld.org and e-mail usat info@drugfreeworld.org.2
  • 3. Heroin: What is it?H eroin is a highly addictive, illegal drug. It is used bymillions of addicts around refined to make morphine, then further refined intothe world who are unable to different forms ofovercome the urge to continue heroin.taking this drug every day of Most heroin is injected,their lives—knowing that if creating additional risksthey stop, they will face the for the user, who faceshorror of withdrawal. the danger of AIDSHeroin (like opium and or other infectionmorphine) is made from on top of the painthe resin of poppy plants. of addiction.Milky, sap‑like opium is firstremoved from the pod of thepoppy flower. This opium is 3
  • 4. H eroin cut me off from the rest of the world. My parents kicked me out. My friends and my brothers didn’t want to see me anymore. I was all alone.” — Suzanne4
  • 5. The origins of heroinH eroin was first manufactured in 1898 by the Bayer pharmaceuticalcompany of Germany and marketed as As with opium, the morphine problem was solved by another “non‑addictive” substitute—heroin, which proved to bea treatment for tuberculosis as well as a even more addictive than morphine. Withremedy for morphine addiction. the heroin problem came yet another “non‑addictive” substitute—the drug nowA vicious circle known as methadone. First developed in 1937 by German scientists searching for aDuring the 1850s, opium addiction was surgical painkiller, it was exported to the USa ­ ajor problem in the United States. m and given the trade name “Dolophine” inThe “solution” was to provide opium 1947. Renamed methadone, the drug wasaddicts with a less potent and supposedly soon being widely used as a treatment for “non‑addictive” substitute— heroin addiction. Unfortunately, it proved morphine. Morphine to be even more addictive than heroin. addiction soon became a bigger problem By the late 1990s, the mortality rate of than opium heroin addicts was estimated to be as high addiction. as 20 times greater than the rest of the population. 5
  • 6. What doesheroin look like? I n its purest form, heroin is a fine white powder. But more often, it is is sometimes “cut” with strychnine or other poisons. The various additives do found to be rose not fully dissolve, and gray, brown or when they are black in color. injected into The coloring the body, comes from can clog additives which the blood have been used vessels that to dilute it, which lead to the can include lungs, kidneys or brain. sugar, caffeine or This itself can lead to other substances. infection or destruction Street heroin of vital organs.6
  • 7. The user buying heroin on the street never STREET NAMES forknows the actual strength of the drug inthat particular packet. Thus, users areconstantly at risk of an overdose.Heroin can be injected, smoked or sniffed. HEROIN • Big HThe first time it is used, the drug creates • Ha sensation of being high. A person can • Junkfeel extroverted, able to communicate • Skageasily with others and may experience • Horsea sensation of heightened sexual • Smackperformance—but not for long. • Thunder • Hell DustHeroin is highly addictive and withdrawal • Nose Dropsextremely painful. The drug quicklybreaks down the immune system, finallyleaving one sickly, extremely thin andbony, and, ultimately, dead. 7
  • 8. F rom the day I started using, I never stopped. Within one week I had gone from snorting heroin to shooting it. Within one month I was addicted and going through all my money. I sold everything of value that I owned and eventually everything that my mother owned. Within one year, I had lost everything. “I sold my car, lost my job, was kicked out of my mother’s house, was $25,000 in credit card debt, and living on the streets of Camden, New Jersey. I lied, I stole, I cheated. “I was raped, beaten, mugged, robbed, arrested, homeless, sick and desperate. I knew that nobody could have a lifestyle like that very long and I knew that death was imminent. If anything, death was better than a life as a8 junkie.” — Alison
  • 9. INTERNATIONAL STATISTICSA n estimated 13.5 million people in the world take opioids (opium‑likesubstances), including 9.2 million who use Europe, according to a 2008 report from the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction.heroin. • Opiates, mainly• In 2007, 93% of the world’s opium supply heroin, accountcame from Afghanistan. (Opium is the raw for 18% of thematerial for heroin supply.) Its total export admissionsvalue was about $4 billion, of which almost for drugthree quarters went to traffickers. About a and alcoholquarter went to Afghan opium farmers. treatment in the US.• The 2007 National Survey on DrugUse and Health reported 153,000 currentheroin users in the US in 2007. Otherestimates give figures as high as 900,000.• Opiates, mainly heroin, were involved infour of every five drug‑related deaths in 9
  • 10. D rugs equal death. If you do nothing to get out, you end up dying. To be a drug addict is to beimprisoned. In the beginning, you think drugs are yourfriend (they may seem to help you escape the things orfeelings that bother you). But soon, you will find you getup in the morning thinking only about drugs.“Your whole day is spent finding or taking drugs. Youget high all afternoon. At night, you put yourself tosleep with heroin. And you live only for that. You are ina prison. You beat your head against a wall, nonstop,but you don’t get anywhere. In the end, yourprison becomes your tomb.” — Sabrina10
  • 11. the destructiveeffects of heroin supplied again with the next dose ofIMMEDIATE HARM: The initial effectsof heroin include a surge of sensation—a heroin. Withdrawal symptoms include“rush.” This is often accompanied by a restlessness, aches and pains in the bones,warm feeling of the skin and a dry mouth. diarrhea, vomiting and severe discomfort.Sometimes, the initial reaction can include The intense high a user seeks lasts only avomiting or severe itching. few minutes. With continued use, he needsAfter these initial effects fade, the user increasing amounts of the drug just to feelbecomes drowsy for several hours. The “normal.”basic body functions such as breathingand heartbeat slow down. Short‑term effects • “Rush”Within hours after the drug effects • Slowed breathinghave decreased, the addict’s body • Clouded mental functioningbegins to crave more. If he does not get • Nausea and vomitinganother fix, he will begin to experience • Sedation; drowsinesswithdrawal. Withdrawal includes the • Hypothermiaextreme physical and mental symptoms (body temperature lower than normal)which are experienced if the body is not • Coma or death (due to overdose) 11
  • 12. Long‑term effectsT he effects on the body from continued use of this drug are verydestructive. Frequent injections can cause The addict lifestyle—where heroin users often share their needles—leads to AIDS and other contagious infections.collapsed veins and can lead to infections It is estimated that of the 35,000 newof the blood vessels and heart valves. hepatitis C2 (liver disease) infections eachTuberculosis* can result from the general year in the United States, over 70% are poor condition from drug users who use needles. of the body. “People believe that heroin Arthritis is super, but you lose is another everything: job, parents, long‑term friends, confidence, your result of home. Lying and stealing heroin become a habit. You no addiction. longer respect anyone or anything.” — Pete Heroin withdrawal is a terrifying experience that begins * tuberculosis: an infectious12 to torture the body within hours of the last fix. disease affecting the lungs and other organs.
  • 13. Long-term effects• Bad teeth • Menstrual disturbance• Inflammation of the gums in women Abscesses• Constipation • Inability to achieve from use• Cold sweats orgasm (women and men) of needles pockmark• Itching • Loss of memory and the body of a• Weakening of the immune intellectual performance 16‑year‑old system • Introversion addict• Coma • Depression• Respiratory (breathing) • Pustules on the face illnesses • Loss of appetite• Muscular weakness, partial • Insomnia paralysis• Reduced sexual capacity and long‑term impotence in menHEROIN ABUSE brings about physical and mental destruction. 13
  • 14. “I’ll just try it once.” Warning: Even a single dose of heroin can start a person on the road to addiction.M any people experiment with heroin thinking, “I’ll try it once or twice.I can always stop.” But those who start The threat of addiction is not the worst consequence of experimenting with heroin. Jim was 21 years old and usually spent hisdown that road find it nearly impossible evenings drinking beer with friends. Heto turn back. Consider the words of Sam, had already experimented with heroin soa 15‑year‑old addict: “When you first when friends offered him a line to sniff, heshoot up, you will most likely puke and feel accepted. Fifteen minutes after inhaling,repelled, but soon you’ll try it again. It will he passed out, then dropped into a deepcling to you like an obsessed lover. The rush coma which lasted more than two months.of the hit and the way you’ll want more, as Today, he is confined to a wheelchair,if you were being deprived unable to write, barely able toof air—that’s how it will read. Whatever dreamstrap you.” and aspirations he once had are gone.14
  • 15. the HEROIN “look”O nce heroin frightened people. Morerecently, some people have 1960s, so have some fashion designers, photographers and advertising people oftried to make heroin use today influenced an entire“fashionable.” generation of youth, by portraying heroin use inIn the past decade, magazines and music videosthe “heroin addict as fashionable and evenlook”—blank expression, desirable.waxy complexion, darkcircles under the eyes, sunken It is grimly ironic that Davidecheeks, excessive thinness, Sorrenti (right)—the fashiongreasy hair—was promoted photographer whose workin popular magazines and was synonymous withfashion circles as “chic.” “heroin chic”—reportedly died at the age of 20 fromJust as rock stars helped heroin overdose.popularize LSD during the 15
  • 16. A very slippery Slope S ome children smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol when still very young. Let’s face reality Children increasingly are coming into contact with illegal drugs. By the time they graduate from high school, nearly 40% of all teens The 2007 National Survey on Drug will have tried marijuana. Some later Use and Health found that more than move on to more addictive substances. 9.5% of youths aged 12 to 17 in the USWe cannot assume that all children who were current illegal drug users. In 2008,smoke marijuana today will become heroin the National Center on Addiction andaddicts tomorrow. But the danger does Substance Abuse at Columbia Universityexist. And long‑term studies of high school reported that daily marijuana use amongstudents show that few young people college students had doubled, and use ofuse other drugs without first having tried cocaine and heroin was on the rise as well.marijuana. Once a person can no longerget the initial “rush” he seeks, he begins to According to the UN Office on Drugs andincrease drug consumption or to look for Crime, in 2008 an estimated 16 millionsomething stronger. people worldwide used opiates—opium, morphine, heroin and synthetic opiates.16
  • 17. THE NEW FACEOF HEROINT he image of a listless young heroin addict collapsed in afilthy, dark alley is obsolete. Today, Between 1995 and 2002, the number of teenagers in America, aged 12 to 17, who used herointhe young addict could be 12 years at some point in their livesold, play video games and enjoy the increased by 300%.music of his generation. He could A young person who might thinkappear smart, stylish and bear none twice about putting a needle inof the common traces of heroin use, his arm may more readily smokesuch as needle marks on his arm. or sniff the same drug. But this isBecause it is available in various falsely reassuring and may give oneforms that are easier to consume the idea that there is less risk. Theand more affordable, heroin truth is that heroin in all its formstoday is more tempting than ever. is dangerous and addictive. 17
  • 18. cheese heroin A highly addictive drug known as “cheese heroin” is a blend of black tar Mexican heroin (called “black tar” because of its color) and over‑the‑counter cold medication, such as Tylenol PM. The drug costs only a couple of dollars a hit and children as young as 9, hooked on cheese heroin, have been rushed to hospital emergency rooms for heroin withdrawal. The combination of the two drugs can cause vital body functions such as breathing and heartbeat to slow down and result in death. Since 2004, cheese heroin is responsible for at least 40 deaths in the North Texas region, according to local authorities.18
  • 19. What dealers will tell youW hen teens were surveyed to find out why they startedusing drugs in the first place, Drug dealers, motivated by the profits they make, will say anything to get you to buy their 55% replied that it was due to drugs. They will tell you that pressure from their friends. “heroin is a warm blanket” or They wanted to be cool and “heroin will be your best high.” popular. Dealers know this. They don’t care if the drugs They will approach you ruin your life as long as they are as a friend and offer getting paid. All they care about to “help you out” with is money. Former dealers have “something to bring you admitted they saw their buyers up.” The drug will “help as “pawns in a chess game.” you fit in” or “make you Get the facts about drugs. Make cool.” your own decisions. 19
  • 20. The Truth About DrugsD rugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines the effect. Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones with the unwanted. So, while providing short‑term help in the relief of pain, they also wipe out abilityA small amount acts as a stimulant (speeds you and alertness and muddy one’s thinking.up). A greater amount acts as a sedative (slows youdown). An even larger amount poisons and can kill. Medicines are drugs that are intended to speed up or slow down or change something about the wayThis is true of any drug. Only the amount needed your body is working, to try to make it work better.to achieve the effect differs. Sometimes they are necessary. But they are stillBut many drugs have another liability: they drugs: they act as stimulants or sedatives, and toodirectly affect the mind. They can distort the user’s much can kill you. So if you do not use medicinesperception of what is happening around him or as they are supposed to be used, they can be asher. As a result, the person’s actions may be odd, dangerous as illegal drugs.irrational, inappropriate and even destructive.20
  • 21. The real answer is to getthe facts and not to takedrugs in the first place. 21
  • 22. why do people take drugs? People take drugs because they want They think drugs are a solution. But to change something in their lives. eventually, the drugs become the problem. Here are some of the reasons young people have given for taking drugs: Difficult as it may be to face one’s problems, the consequences of drug • To fit in use are always worse than the problem • To escape or relax one is trying to solve with them. The real answer is to get the facts and not • To relieve boredom to take drugs in the first place. • To seem grown up • To rebel • To experiment22
  • 23. REFERENCES American Council for Drug Millions of copies of booklets such as this Education’s Annals of InternalUnited Nations Office on Drugs Medicine (April 1999) have been distributed to people aroundand Crime World Drug Report2008 The Lancet (UK) the world in 22 languages. As newWhite House Office of National Laboratory of the Municipal drugs appear on the streets and more Police AmsterdamDrug Control Policy information about their effects becomesNational Institutes of Health Columbia University Medical(U.S.) Center known, existing booklets are updatedDrug Enforcement World Health Organization and new ones created.Administration (U.S.) European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction The booklets are published by the“Research Report Series—Heroin Abuse and Addiction,” “Teen Charged in ‘Cheese Foundation for a Drug‑Free World, aNational Institute on Drug Heroin’ Death, Jeremy Landers, nonprofit public benefit organizationAbuse (U.S.) AP, 28 Feb 2008 headquartered in Los Angeles, California.Department of Health and “Message from the Chairman,”Human Services (U.S.) The National Center on Addiction and Substance The Foundation provides educationalCenter for Substance AbuseResearch (U.S.) Abuse of Columbia University, materials, advice and coordination for its Fall 2008“Treatment Episode Data Set international drug prevention network. PHOTO CREDITS:(TEDS) Highlights—2006,” Page 5, 12: istock.com/Peeter It works with youth, parents, educators,Substance Abuse and MentalHealth Services Administration Viisimaa; volunteer organizations and government Page 6: istock.com/Stephanie“Results from the 2007 Horrocks; agencies—anyone with an interest inNational Survey on Drug Use Page 13: Stockxpert; helping people lead lives free from drugand Health: National Findings,” Page 13: U.S. TreasurySubstance Abuse and Mental Department, Bureau of abuse.Health Administration (U.S.) Narcotics/heroin addict;National Library of Medicine(U.S.) Page 15: Courtesy of Francesca Sorrenti 23
  • 24. FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOWThis booklet is one in a series of publications that cover the facts about marijuana, alcohol,Ecstasy, cocaine, crack cocaine, crystal meth and methamphetamine, inhalants, heroin,LSD and prescription drug abuse. Armed with this information, the reader can make thedecision to live a drug‑free life. For more information or to obtain more copies of this or other booklets in this series, contact: Foundation for a Drug‑Free World 1626 N. Wilcox Avenue, #1297 Los Angeles, CA 90028 USA drugfreeworld.org • e‑mail: info@drugfreeworld.org TM Phone: 1‑888 NO TO DRUGS (1‑888‑668‑6378)© 2008 Foundation for a Drug‑Free World. All Rights Reserved. The Foundation logo is a trademark owned by theFoundation for a Drug‑Free World. Item #C6231 US-ENG