Posts Tagged heroin use

Reno Makes Move Against Heroin Abuse Among Young People

It is always unfortunate to see ideally promising young people waste away – or have their lives brutally cut short – because of drug abuse. This is why governments and communities are constantly developing means of fighting it, especially among the youth.

heroin abuseA report on RGJ.com shares the efforts of the city of Reno, Nevada, in combating the abuse of a specific illicit substance: heroin. Teens and young adults, according to city authorities, do not seem to realize the danger of using heroin, and how addictive the substance is.

One proof of this is the fact that the rate of heroin use among young people in the city has increased significantly. According to Dave Evans, Reno Deputy Police Chief, arrests for people under the age of 20 increased five times between 2006 and 2009. Heroin-related arrests went up from 3 percent in 2006, to 18 percent in 2009.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell described the heroin of today as different: “We’re not talking about the heroin of the ’70s… Today’s heroin is more pure, and it’s cheap. Kids are buying it with their lunch money.” A balloon of heroin, according to narcotics detectives, costs $10 or thereabouts on the street.

The mayor, the Reno Police, and the school district have joined forces with Join Together Northern Nevada in a public awareness campaign regarding heroin abuse. They are aiming to raise $25,000 for a TV ad as part of the campaign. David Quint, executive director for Join Together, shared that the goal of the campaign is to provide parents and young people with tools as well as warning signs, in the hope that knowledge will prevent more young people from succumbing, and losing their lives, to heroin addiction.

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Risks of Heroin Abuse

Heroin is a dangerous drug that can be taken either intravenously, by snorting or by smoking. As the drug enters the brain, it is then converted to morphine and then bonds with brain receptors called opioids, which are primarily responsible for the body’s sense of reward and pain. The receptors also play important processes in the body like breathing, blood pressure and arousal. Taking heroin during pregnancy is extremely dangerous as it could result to premature birth, breathing problems for the baby, and poor health of the child.

heroinHeroin abuse is often associated with various health problems such as overdosing, miscarriages, HIV and AIDS and hepatitis. Users are often at risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C and other infectious diseases through sharing and recycling of syringes that have been used by other infected addicts.

Heroin often has immediate effects after a single dose and dissipates after a few minutes to few hours. After the initial dose, there is a surge of euphoria which is often followed by a warming sensation around the body. There is a certain “rushing” effect that overtakes the body, making the addict feel at ease. There is also suppression of pain, clouded mental functioning, and depressed respiration.

Extended use of heroin results in many dangerous illnesses. The addict may develop an increasing tolerance to Heroin and may feel the need to match every time the same level of pleasure. Using Heroin, especially intravenously, may result to collapsed veins, infections in the linings of the heart and valves, cellulitis, liver disease and abscesses. There is also a risk of  pulmonary complications such as pneumonia and may contribute to a user’s overall poor health. Other long term effects include bacterial infections, arthritis and other rheumatologic problems.

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