A Brutally Honest Answer to “Can Shooting Heroin Kill You?”

Addiction Resource > Addictive Substances: The Anatomy of Drug Addiction > Heroin Addiction, Abuse, and Treatment > A Brutally Honest Answer to “Can Shooting Heroin Kill You?”

Yes, shooting heroin can absolutely kill you. When heroin is injected into the bloodstream, it travels through the heart and makes its way up to the brain.

Shooting Heroin

Because the brain is focused on absorbing the drug, other priorities fall to the wayside, such as telling the lungs to inhale and exhale. This lack of oxygen causes sudden death.

Every once in a while, the rumor will surface that shooting heroin is not a killer, just wildly dangerous. If you have any doubts about the question, “Can Shooting Heroin Kill You?”, just ask Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, River Phoenix, Cory Monteith, John Belushi, Robert Pastorelli, Chris Farley, Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious and Peaches Geldof. Oh right, you can’t. They all died from shooting heroin.

Famous people who have died from shooting heroin

Some famous people who have died from shooting heroin are:

  • Jim Morrison
  • Janis Joplin
  • River Pheonix
  • Cory Monteith
  • John Belushi
  • Robert Pastorelli
  • Chris Farley
  • Sid Vicious
  • Peaches Geldof

The Governor of Maine recently stated that people are dying of heroin overdose in Maine at the rate of one person a day.

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It is as Bad as You Think

Woman shooting heroinMany people graduate from snorting heroin and smoking heroin to injecting heroin directly into their veins, because it goes directly into the bloodstream and then into the brain, creating an almost instant high. While going to the brain, it routes through the heart, causing it to slow down, and through the lungs, causing them to breathe shallower. When it hits the brain, the control center of the body, the brain gives a little hiccup while it absorbs the drug. During the hiccup it often forgets to inhale and exhale. It stops telling the lungs to breathe.

What health risks are associated with shooting heroin?

Health risks associated with shooting heroin include:

  • Permanent vein damage
  • Abscesses near injection site
  • Increases likelihood of blood clots
  • Collapsing of veins
  • Serious infections that can lead to amputation
  • Higher risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, and other blood borne infections

When the brain forgets to inhale and exhale the body has no oxygen. The addict dies. This is the consequence of injecting heroin or shooting heroin. The brain stops the oxygen supply and the heart and body quit. Immediately. Sudden death!

For those users that are fortunate enough to survive the injection, permanent damage to the veins is a primary concern. Veins collapse when used too often, which means the user spends time searching for another site and risking infection and collapse in this vein also. Other consequences from shooting heroin include blood clots, gangrene, amputations, strokes and heart attacks.
Shootinh heroin can cause irreversible damage to the circolatory system.
Shootinh heroin can cause irreversible damage to the circolatory system.

Heroin vein damage renders the veins particularly susceptible to blood clots, a life-threatening and very painful condition. A blood clot is formed by various reasons, particles in the blood stream from contaminants in the heroin mix, sitting or lying in one place for a few hours while the high wears off, or even slower blood flow in the body, all circumstances that occur with every shooting heroin instance. Blood clots, in return, bring their own set of life-threatening issues.

When blood clots occur in the body they gravitate. The blood clot, caused from heroin vein damage, can start in the calf, behind the knee, or in the groin, and then it starts moving with the blood flow. As it moves upward through the blood stream, either in the veins or arteries, its picks up momentum and material. It gets larger as it moves and it gets faster. When it gets stuck at a junction point is when the person with the blood clot begins to feel it. It is extremely painful, burning, itching, hot and red, and aching.

The blood clot can move from annoying to painful to life-threatening in just a matter of minutes, or it might take days. All the while, the blood clot is preventing the flow of blood to the vital organs of the body, which is also hampered by heroin vein damage.  Sometimes this causes the sudden death of the person. Other times it causes more illness and debilitation.

Gangrene is one of the possible side effects of injecting heroin.
Gangrene is one of the possible side effects of injecting heroin.

As the blood clot moves with the blood flow at the speed of 10 miles per hour, pieces of the clot break off and travel alongside, diverting with the blood flow to the heart, lungs and brain. If the blood clot lodges in the brain, it causes a stroke. If it lodges in the heart, it causes a heart attack and part of the heart muscle dies. If it lodges in the lungs, this is called a pulmonary embolism, and can cause sudden death. If the pulmonary embolism is survived, the patient will have issues with oxygen absorption the rest of their lives. Shooting heroin will make breathing even more difficult, as heroin causes the respiratory system to slow down and even stop.

Blood clots that are untreated can cut off the blood flow to an arm or leg, get infected very quickly, and develop gangrene. Once gangrene develops, the arm or leg must be amputated. Since the body is already infected with the gangrene, this may not stop the spread of the infection and the user is still at risk of dying, but now has the additional pain of an amputation. The heroin vein damage is still working against the patient, preventing the medical personnel from administering the intravenous antibiotics necessary to kill the widespread infection.

Other Effects Of Shooting Heroin

Shooting heroin can also cause abscesses. Abscesses are infected skin boils that pop up next to the veins and injection sites. They are very painful, full of nasty pus, and can also cause death. The pus inside the boil is toxic to the bloodstream. If the boil or abscess bursts open and leaks pus into the bloodstream, it will cause an infection that can be untreatable.

Shooting heroin causes all kinds of risks of infections in the body because of the contaminants in the heroin and the insertion of needles into the veins. Even if the addict uses rubbing alcohol on every utensil, at the injection site, and on the hands and the container for the heroin, there is still quite a bit of risk for infection.

Contaminants in the injected heroin are another risk for infection. What exactly is used to cut heroin before it is sold? Well, most sellers don’t put a specific list of ingredients on the heroin container like the FDA requires for other drugs.

Police reports have listed all kinds of substances found in heroin packets: Water-soluble solutions are the most popular, like sugar, tranquilizers, powdered milk, laundry starch, talcum powder, baby powder, rat poison and laundry detergent powders. None of these substances are good additions to the blood supply in a person.

Shooting heroin can be the fastest ticket to death that a person can use. Don’t buy a ticket on the death train, stop injecting heroin today. Get help.

A Brutally Honest Answer to “Can Shooting Heroin Kill You?”

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