Heroin is a drug that is available in an injectable morphine-derived form and has been around for quite some time. Its first use dates back to somewhere near the turn of the 20th century. In this period, it has proven itself to be one of the most potentially dangerous of all recreational drugs. It is popular for the transcendent relaxation and the intense euphoria that it can produce in its consumers. This is why it is very easy to become addicted to heroin to the stage where enrolling in a drug treatment program will be unavoidable for the recovery.
Heroin has legitimate medical uses, but that usage is aimed at treating debilitating pain. However, it is most commonly used in the recreational sense, which also happens to be illegal in most corners of the world. In the US, heroin is a Schedule I drug, so it makes heroin illegal to possess without a DEA license. Possession of more than 100 grams of heroin is punishable with a minimum mandatory sentence of five years of imprisonment in federal prison.
Unlike the fiercely-championed and relatively-mild mood enhancer marijuana, there are no lobbyists advocating for the legalization of heroin. While it remains remarkably enduring among substance abusers worldwide, it has many very obvious destructive properties. Heroin is intensely addictive, as its euphoric effects are such that its users want to seek out more immediately after the initial high fades. The highs are uniquely high, and the lows are uniquely low. Heroin can be consumed in a number of ways, such as by snorting it, smoking its vapors, skin-popping, or chasing the dragon (inhaling it in its heated form). The most immediately satisfying method is by intravenous injection, although as is the case with injected substances, this is considered an indication of the most serious dependence. Using needles to inject heroin has all kinds of severe health risks related to improper use or the contraction of communicable diseases due to sharing.
The clearest risk presented by heroin injection is overdose. Too much heroin can stop the heart, which of course, leads to death. A heroin user in the throes of their altered mind-state may not pay adequate attention to modulating their dosage and therefore overdose. A heroin user who has overdosed may not have the appropriate medical response team nearby and probably will not be able to get to one on their own, so death by overdose is unfortunately not uncommon. In addition, heroin users may not always be able to trust their dealers, who often cut the purity of the drug with all kinds of substances, and some of which may even be toxic.
It is probably less than reasonable to advocate the cessation of all heroin use. This has been around for many years, and it surely will not go away on its own. However, heroin users should be aware of the many potential risks in both the drug itself and the potential lifestyle that will ensue, and all who suspect that they are beginning to develop an addiction should feel no shame in consulting the many treatment options that are available.