Heroin seized in Kerala

Heroin seized in Kerala

#GS-03 Internal Security, #GS-02 Health

For Prelims:

What is Heroin:

  • Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia.
  • Heroin is a highly addictive substance and is known to cause harmful side effects if consumed consistently.

For Mains:

Side effects of Heroin use:

Short-Term Effects

People who use heroin report feeling a “rush” (a surge of pleasure, or euphoria). However, there are other common effects, including:

  • dry mouth
  • warm flushing of the skin
  • heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • nausea and vomiting
  • severe itching
  • clouded mental functioning
  • going “on the nod,” a back-and-forth state of being conscious and semiconscious

Long-Term Effects

People who use heroin over the long term may develop:

  • insomnia
  • collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
  • damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
  • infection of the heart lining and valves
  • abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
  • constipation and stomach cramping
  • liver and kidney disease
  • lung complications, including pneumonia
  • mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
  • sexual dysfunction for men
  • irregular menstrual cycles for women

Injection Drug Use, HIV, and Hepatitis

  • People who inject drugs such as heroin are at high risk of contracting the HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) virus.
  • These diseases are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids, which can occur when sharing needles or other injection drug use equipment.
  • HCV is the most common bloodborne infection in the Unites States.
  • HIV (and less often HCV) can also be contracted during unprotected sex, which drug use makes more likely.

Other Potential Effects

  • Heroin often contains additives, such as sugar, starch, or powdered milk, that can clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage.
  • Also, sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from drug use can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis (see “Injection Drug Use, HIV, and Hepatitis”).