Where does heroin come from? It’s a question on the minds of many families throughout America recently. The opioid crisis in our country is as bad as its ever been.
As a result, people are wanting to know more about this drug. What it is, where it comes from, and how it gets here are all questions on the minds of parents and other family members.
This article intends to answer all of those questions and more. We’ll also cover how addictive heroin can be, as well as what treatment options are available.
What Is Heroin
To answer the question, “where does heroin come from?” it helps to understand what heroin actually is. Heroin is an opioid substance that starts as the seed of the poppy plant. These are the same seeds found on poppy seed bagels. This is why if someone takes a drug test after eating a bagel, they can get a false positive for opiates.
The poppy plant grows naturally in southeast and southwest Asia, Colombia, and Mexico. Once it’s processed into heroin it can be a white or brown powder. Black tar is another type of heroin. This can show up as a sticky, black substance.
Where Does Heroin Come From?
As far as the areas of the world, Heroin originates in the same areas where the poppy plant grows. Those areas, again, are southeast and southwest Asia, Colombia, and Mexico. But, that just covers the origin of heroin.
When you attempt to answer, “where does heroin come from?” there’s much more to the story.
The History of Heroin
Traditionally, the seed of the poppy plant was used to make morphine. Morphine is a common painkiller used by medical professionals. It changes the way the brain senses pain and makes it more tolerable for patients.
It’s usually used to deal with extreme pain or to help with terminal illnesses. For example, a person going through cancer treatment might be given morphine.
The first known traces of heroin date back to 1874. A chemist synthesized the drug from morphine. After that, it began to be used medicinally. The first instance of that was in 1898 by Bayer Pharmaceutical.
They wanted to produce the drug as an alternative to morphine. This was because many people started to misuse morphine back in the 1800s. Eventually, America caught on to the fact that heroin was very addictive, as well. Once this was discovered the U.S. moved to make heroin illegal.
Heroin in Modern Society
Although heroin has been illegal for decades, it’s still being missed in the U.S. Many users have access to some form of pure heroin. This comes in the white or brown powder, or the black, sticky substance known as “black tar” heroin.
But, as with most things, the use of heroin has evolved over time. Users in today’s world are beginning to mix the drug with other substances. People have been known to mix heroin with another powerful drug known as fentanyl. This can be dangerous for several reasons.
Heroin is dangerous enough on its own. Combining it with fentanyl makes it even more dangerous. Add to that the fact that these drugs are being mixed and sold on the street. There’s no telling how much heroin or how much fentanyl is in each dose.
People who decide to take these drugs are taking their lives into their own hands. Without any clue about how much of a particular drug they’re taking, the chance for overdose is much higher.
The opioid crisis has come in three major waves. The first wave was in the 1990s. During that time, America experienced an increase in people misusing opioid painkillers. The next wave began in 2010. During this second wave, America started to see an increase in heroin overdose-related deaths.
The third, and most recent, wave began in 2013. This wave saw an increase in deaths from synthetic opioids. The most common example of a synthetic opioid is fentanyl.
Opioid Misuse and Side Effects
There are a lot of ways that opioids can be misused. Users will usually snort them, smoke them, or inject them to get high. Their preferred method of using these substances is injection. This is also known as IV drug use.
IV drug use is so popular because it’s the fastest way that users can feel the effects of the drug. Heroin enters the brain rapidly and bonds to opioid receptors found in nerve cells. These receptors exist in several areas throughout our brains.
Heroin is particularly attracted to the receptors that affect pain and pleasure. It also likes to bond to the receptors that control heart rate and breathing. That’s why some of the side effects of misusing the drug can be heart infections or breathing problems.
Long-term users of opioids can also experience mental health issues. Their veins and nasal tissue can start to deteriorate, as well. This depends on whether they inject or snort the drug. Users can also develop serious health complications like kidney or liver disease.
Two of the effects users look for in the drug are the sedative or euphoric effects. But, both of these can be damaging to the brain and central nervous system. Feelings of euphoria can overload the pleasure centers of the brain. This can put undue stress and damage on those areas.
Using opioids can overload the body with the feeling of sedation, as well. The result of this is users feeling as if they’re drifting in and out of consciousness while on the drug.
All of these side effects can be dangerous and a good number of them can result in death.
Getting Treatment for Heroin and/or Opioid Use
There is no way to manage opioid addiction. The chemicals within these substances are powerful. Addiction to opioids can have a crippling hold on a recovering user. The treatment program to overcome opioid addiction usually consists of behavioral therapy. In many cases, a rehab center will work together with a doctor to use medication, as well.
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, contact Just Believe today. We are here to help. We want to see you work through this and move on to live the best life you can for yourself and your family.