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Health hazards
Globe and Mail Update
Saturday, August 11, 2001

  • As well as a fatal overdose, other health conditions associated with heroin abuse include spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins and infectious diseases (such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis)
  • The short-term effects appear after a single dose of heroin, and disappear in a few hours. After an injection, the user will feel a surge of euphoria accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth and heavy extremities.
  • After the initial "rush", the user will go into an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. The central nervous system depressed, mental functions become clouded.
  • Long term effects of heroin appear after repeated use. Chronic users can develop collapsed veins, infection in the lining of the heart and valves, abscesses, skin infections and liver disease. Because of the user's poor health condition and the depressing effects on respiration, there may be pulmonary complications, including pneumonia.
  • Street heroin may have additives that don't readily dissolve and may clog blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys or brain. This can cause infection or even death.

source: U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse

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