Why Synthetic Heroin Is More Deadly Than Heroin

We all take our chances when we use any drug—legal or illegal, over-the-counter, or prescription. But one of the real risks of taking street drugs is not knowing exactly what you’re getting or how powerful it is. It is not always known how pure the street substance is or isn’t. And that’s definitely the case with synthetic heroin.

What Is Synthetic Heroin?

Synthetic heroin can be several things, but none of it is real heroin, the illegal opiate drug made from morphine that is taken from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Synthetic heroin is a man-made opioid drug. It contains no opium, which is one way it differs from real heroin. So, in other words, real heroin, which comes from a plant, is replaced by man-made analogs that are more addictive, deadly, and harder to track down.

The term synthetic heroin could refer to a combination of natural heroin that’s been mixed with fentanyl, an opioid that is similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. When fentanyl is prescribed to relieve pain in safe dosages, it can be effective. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 700-plus fentanyl-related overdoses that occurred between 2013 and 2015 is mostly linked to fentanyl that was not produced by a pharmaceutical company.

Synthetic heroin also can refer to a substance that is mislabeled as “heroin” but is entirely made up of nothing but fentanyl, or the animal sedative carfentanil, a derivative of fentanyl. The list of opioids that also could fall under the synthetic heroin label include:

  • Hydromorphone (brand name Dilaudid)
  • Methadone
  • Tramadol
  • Pethidine

Fentanyl-Laced Drugs Cause Spikes in Overdose Deaths

According to the DEA’s 2016 report on the heroin threat in the United States, several states started to report spikes in overdose deaths due to fentanyl and its analog acetyl-fentanyl in late 2013. It writes in the report, “Fentanyl is much stronger than heroin and can cause even experienced users to overdose. Between 2013 and 2014, there was a 79 percent increase in deaths related to synthetic opioids, the category under which fentanyl falls. There were 5,544 synthetic-opioid-related deaths in 2014, and the true number is most likely higher because of non-standardized reporting and because many coroners’ offices and state crime laboratories initially did not test for fentanyl or its analogs unless given a specific reason to do so.”

Why Do People Use Synthetic Drugs?

As dangerous as they are, there are several reasons why synthetic drug use is popular. The most common one is that people seek these potent substances because they’re potent and the highs last longer. According to JustThinkTwice.gov, more than 200 synthetic drug compounds have been identified. Many of them are made abroad in other countries and then smuggled inside the United States. The site lists anxiety, aggressive behavior, paranoia, seizures, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, coma, and death as effects that result from synthetic drug use.

Brookings explains in its April 2018 article titled, “How Synthetic Opioids Can Radically Change Global Illegal Drug Markets and Foreign Policy,” why the synthetic opioid trade appeals to the people who participate in it. Making synthetic opioids requires a smaller labor force, it reports, and it takes far less work than cultivating the poppy plant and collecting its resin for heroin. Brookings also writes that because less labor is required, it also means the benefits of production are lower in poor areas. Synthetic drugs also can be produced just about anywhere, meaning any place is ripe for opportunity.

In a March 2018 press release, the CDC reported that drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016. “Nearly two-thirds of these deaths (66 percent) involved a prescription or illicit opioid,” it said.

According to its analysis of 2016 U.S. drug overdose data, “The recent increases in drug overdose deaths are driven by continued sharp increases in deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF).”

The synthetic class of drugs, which are also known as designer drugs, includes:

Synthetic marijuana. This is not real marijuana and it is also known as cannabinoids. It is known on the streets as K2 and Spice. JustThinkTwice.gov reports that there are about 90 different synthetic marijuana chemical compounds.

Synthetic LSD. This drug, a phenethylamine, is said to mimic the effects of actual LSD and causes hallucinations and paranoia. Street names for it include “N-Bomb” and “Smiles.”

Synthetic stimulants. These are popularly known as “bath salts” or “Molly.” They are also called cathinones and mimic the effects of MDMA or ecstasy.

Synthetic PCP. This synthetic compound, known as MXE or Methoxamine, mimics the effects of PCP (phencyclidine). Delusions, a sense of detachment, and psychosis are effects of using this drug.

When it comes to synthetic heroin, there are a few more things to know.

It Is Hard to Tell Synthetic Heroin From Real Heroin

The appearance of synthetic heroin makes it tricky to identify, which is why so many people are not aware that they have used it. A powder that looks like heroin could have been cut or laced with fentanyl or another synthetic opioid. A person buying prescription pills off the streets with a certain label actually could be buying another substance entirely.

The practice of cutting synthetic heroin with fentanyl and other harmful substances increases profits for sellers in the illicit market because it increases their drug supply. But for users who get ahold of these cut batches of drugs only increase their chance of overdosing. The substance is in part stronger because some dealers may not have the equipment to measure out levels of the drug that could result in an overdose. Illegally made fentanyl also can be unpredictable as the pharmaceutical version of it.

Synthetic Heroin Is More Addictive Than Heroin

Natural heroin is a strong, addictive drug in its own right. The substance can be eaten, smoked, snorted, or injected for the highs it brings. Users report feeling an immediate, intense, and pleasurable rush as the drug enters the brain and returns to its morphine state. Regular heroin use is quickly habit-forming, and chronic heroin use results in addiction for most people. However, an addiction to synthetic heroin, which, again, might not be heroin at all, presents a different set of challenges. It’s already difficult to end addiction to heroin. But synthetic heroin is another battle altogether and a person can have an even tougher time ending their dependence on that drug.

Synthetic Heroin May Not Respond Well to Overdose-Reversal Drugs

Synthetic heroin and other synthetic opioid drugs are stronger than natural heroin, which means life-saving overdose agents like naloxone aren’t as effective. Multiple doses may be required to bring around a person who has overdosed, and as an August 2017 Bloomberg article notes, multiple applications of overdose-reversal agents can drain health care resources.

“Hospitals and emergency-services agencies across the U.S. are confronting higher bills for the chemical compound that can block the effects of painkillers and heroin, as super-strong synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil grow increasingly popular,” the article says. “Not only are more doses of the remedy often required, prices for some brands of naloxone have been ticking up.”

According to the report, the National Association of EMS Physicians says the number of people who receive more than one dose of naloxone has grown more than 25 percent since 2012.

The fact that these overdose-reversal medications may not work as well, if at all, makes synthetic heroin more lethal and dangerous. If one does overdose on a substance that has been passed off as heroin but isn’t, the person could die. They also can have a harder time ending their addiction.

About China White

The name “China White” emerges when synthetic heroin comes up. The designer drug China White, a fat-soluble pain reliever, is said to be stronger than morphine, heroin, or fentanyl. It also is said to last much longer than any of these drugs.

China White has been described as a heroin-like drug that actually is a derivative of fentanyl. But Dr. Wilfredo Lopez-Ojeda, a biomedical sciences professor at the University of Central Florida, told RollingStone.com that the substance popularly known as China White doesn’t exist. He explained, “What gave rise to China White is a mixture of the original fentanyl with perhaps some residues of heroin and maybe some cocaine, then they started referring to it as a more pure product. But the truth is such a thing doesn’t exist.”

Despite this, China White’s side effects are reported to be deadlier and harder to identify. “People high on the drug who enter emergency room may seem like they’re overdosing on heroin or another opioid, but the symptoms are more complicated because fentanyl derivatives are far more powerful,” the publication reports.

Battling a Synthetic Heroin Addiction? Let Us Help

Whether it’s heroin, synthetic heroin, or any other addictive substance, dependence on a drug jeopardizes everything—health, relationships, income, well-being, and more. Battling addiction can be difficult without professional help from trained addiction specialists, but that’s what Pathway to Hope is here for. We can help you.

Pathway to Hope, a Delphi Behavioral Health Group facility, specializes in helping people who are battling substance addiction, whether that substance is legal or illegal. We focus on the roots of your addiction and mental health condition and help you or your loved one start healing from substance abuse and give you the tools to leave it behind for good.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug abuse, call Pathway to Hope at 844-557-8575 today or contact us online, so we can help you find the right treatment program. Don’t delay. If you need addiction treatment, now is the time to make that important step for your health and your life.

Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Elderly

As the U.S. grapples with its opioid abuse epidemic, it might come as a surprise that contributing to that crisis are senior adults who are dealing with prescription drug abuse, particularly where opioids are involved.

The nation’s baby boomers—the generation born after World War II between 1946 and 1964—are reportedly the fastest-growing population in the country who are battling opioid dependence and addiction. Their experiences signal to what is to come, observers say. As the U.S. adult population is projected to live longer, it is predicted that more people will battle geriatric substance abuse or addiction as they live out their golden years.

By 2020, the number of American adults who need drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment is expected to double to about six million. By 2030, older adults will account for roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population, according to a State of Aging and Health in America 2013 report.

Why Senior Prescription Drug Abuse Easy to Miss

The beginnings of senior prescription medication abuse and addiction are easy to go unrecognized or misdiagnosed.

First, older adults buy many prescription medications. Data reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that U.S. residents age 65 and older account for more than one-third of total outpatient spending on prescription medications although they make up only 13 percent of the country’s population.

NIDA also cites research saying that “more than 80 percent of older patients (aged 57 to 85 years) use at least one prescription medication on a daily basis, with more than 50 percent taking more than five medications or supplements daily.”

So, to see an older loved one buy and use these drugs likely won’t raise many eyebrows, especially when the person’s prescription medications come from a reputable doctor’s office.

For adults age 50 and older, misusing or abusing prescription drugs may be related to the natural process of aging. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this population is said to be at a higher risk for medication misuse than the general population because of their slower metabolism and elimination as well as the higher rates of pain, sleep disorders, and anxiety.

Also, as we age, our memory changes. It becomes common to forget a name or where the keys were last placed as we grow older. The American Psychological Association notes that as the brain changes so does a person’s behavior. An older person may forget how much medication they should be taking or they may forget that they have taken their medication already. They also may mix up medications, which is very common.

Taking any drug, whether legal or illegal, can affect the brain and therefore what a person remembers or how they behave.

However, not all memory loss or forgetfulness in older adults is related to their age. If cognitive difficulties increase after a person chronically misuses their medication, it could be a sign of medication abuse.

Other signs of substance abuse that are commonly confused with aging are:

  • Losing track of time (not remembering what day it is or what time of day it is)
  • Coordination problems (such as walking unsteadily, falling)
  • Chronic, unexplained aches, pains
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Changes in the sleeping schedule (such as sleeping all day, staying up at night), eating habits
  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, marks
  • Mood changes, irritability, sadness, depression, loneliness
  • Lethargy, personality changes, energy levels

If you or an older person you know is exhibiting changes such as these after taking medications, it might be worth looking into how they are taking their medications to ensure they have the right medications and that they are taking those medications properly.

Managing Pain: Is It Start of Geriatric Substance Abuse?

Older people are more susceptible to prescription drug abuse as they try to treat chronic pain ailments.

Nearly half of older U.S. adults have a chronic pain disorder, and the chances of them having chronic pain increase as they age, according to a SAMHSA report. For this reason, doctors are likely to treat older adults’ ailments with medications and more likely to prescribe more than one medication if multiple ailments are present and need treatment.

Seniors with prescription medications for long-term ailments are at risk of using these medications incorrectly. Incorrect use means they may take more than the dose prescribed, whether on purpose or not, or they may inadvertently mix medications with each other. They also may inadvertently mix their prescription meds with alcohol if they still drink. SAMHSA cites data that says the combination of alcohol and medication misuse has been estimated to affect up to 19 percent of older American adults. The interaction of medicines and alcohol can be dangerous. People are advised to avoid alcohol if they are taking a medication and are not aware of the effects it may have on a substance. Keep in mind that alcohol and medications can still cause risky interactions even if they are not taken at the same time. Because older people have a slower metabolism and the body doesn’t break down substances as quickly as they once did, the likelihood that they will mix drugs and alcohol is high.

Senior prescription drug abuse often involves two kinds of medications: opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines.

Opioids

Opioid pain relievers are prescribed to treat and manage pain in groups across the age spectrum. Oxycodone (OxyContin), Percocet, hydrocodone, Vicodin, codeine, and many others are among the drugs commonly prescribed for this group. Opioid dependence and addiction are not good for any group, no matter the age. But for seniors, opioid abuse complicates health matters. Many older people who develop a dependence on these potent pain medications first started using them legitimately to manage chronic health problems.

According to data in a report from the Administration on Aging and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of older U.S. adults who misuse opioids is projected to double from 2004 to 2020, from 1.2 percent to 2.4 percent.

By the year 2020, the number of addicted older U.S. adults who need drug and alcohol treatment is expected to double to about six million. By 2030, older adults will account for roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population, according to the State of Aging and Health in America 2013 report.

To combat opioid misuse and abuse, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The CDC said the guidelines aim to improve communication between healthcare providers and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain in addition to other goals.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, or “benzos” for short, are prescribed to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, insomnia, muscle relaxation, and seizures. These medications act on the central nervous system and produce sedation, sleepiness, and muscle relaxation. Widely prescribed benzos include Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium.

A March 2018 article in The New York Times called benzo use “a quiet drug problem among the elderly.” “Despite warnings from experts, older people are using more anti-anxiety and sleep medications, putting them at risk of serious side effects and even overdoses,” the article’s opening reads. The report goes on to highlight how using the medications can worsen an already common problem for people in the senior adult population: falls and fractures. Benzos, the article notes, cause dizziness.

“Set aside the opioid issue,” Michael Schoenbaum, an epidemiologist at the National Institutes for Health, told the newspaper for its report. “Way too many older Americans are getting benzos. And of those, many — more than half — are getting them for prolonged periods. That’s just bad practice. They have serious consequences.”

Donovan Maust, a Michigan psychiatrist, told The New York Times that benzodiazepines also negatively affect memory and cognitive function.

Over-the-Counter Medications Also Risky

Abusing medicines doesn’t only involve the ones people have a prescription for. Over-the-counter medications can be abused as well. Always check with your personal doctor to confirm if taking pharmacy-bought medications are OK to use and if so, follow the directions on the label or the ones your doctor fives.

Geriatric Substance Abuse: What Are the Signs?

While it may be challenging to pick up on the warning signs of prescription medications abuse among seniors, there are ways to tell that something is going on. Changes in behavior are a place to start. Warning signs include:

  • Making an effort to get a prescription for a medication from two or more doctors, a practice known as “doctor shopping”
  • Going to two different pharmacies to fill a prescription for the same medication
  • Taking more of a medication than they used to or taking more than is instructed on the label
  • Using the medication in a manner inconsistent with its purpose
  • Taking the medication at different times or more often than instructed on the label or by a physician
  • Becoming withdrawn, isolated or angry
  • Appearing confused or forgetful
  • Talking often about a medication to the point of seeming preoccupied with it
  • Being fearful of going somewhere without taking a medication first
  • Becoming defensive or “touchy” when asked about a medication
  • Giving excuses for why a medication is needed
  • Keeping “extra” pills handy when there appears to be no reason to
  • Sneaking or hiding the medication.
  • Using the medication in secret or privately outside of the knowledge of friends, family
  • Having a history of substance abuse or abusing alcohol, drug, or prescription medications

These warning signs may motivate some people to reach out for help likely after they have been prompted to do so by others. But the reality is some older adults simply won’t receive the help they need for substance abuse disorders involving prescription medication. Many are ashamed and won’t seek professional help because of that shame. Others are in denial and know they need help but won’t reach out to find it. People in both groups may not even realize their misuse or abuse has led to an addiction that requires professional treatment to stop.

Observers say changing the perception of who abuses drugs and alcohol will be important as the nation’s health care professionals work to identify and help older people who are dealing with substance abuse and addiction.

Medical professionals have been advised to look for a personal history or family history of substance abuse of medications when screening older patients. Geriatric substance abuse is not an easy topic to discuss among older populations for various reasons, but having that conversation can be just what’s needed to uncover a problem and help people get the help they need.

Abusing Prescription Drugs and Can’t Stop? We Can Help

Older adults are at a higher risk of misusing or abusing their medications for several reasons, and they may not always be aware when such use is dangerous or has led to a physical or psychological dependence. Substance abuse among the elderly can be difficult to quit without professional help from trained addiction specialists, but that’s what Pathway to Hope is here for. We can help you.

Pathway to Hope, a Delphi Behavioral Health Group facility, specializes in helping people who are battling with substance addiction, whether that substance is legal or illegal. We focus on the roots of your addiction and mental health condition and help you or your loved one start healing from substance abuse and give you the tools to leave it behind for good.

If you or someone you know is struggling with senior prescription drug abuse, call Pathway to Hope at 844-311-5781 today or contact us online, so we can help you find the right treatment program. Don’t delay. If you need addiction treatment, now is the time to make that important step for your health and your life.

How Narcan Reverses Opioid Overdoses

The opioid epidemic has been a growing problem in the United States for over a decade, with the death toll setting new records each year. The problem is so significant that it has negatively affected U.S. life expectancy for the second year in a row, dropping from 78.7 years old to 78.6 in 2016. However, one way to fight the rising overdose rates is a drug called Narcan that can stop and even reverse the effects of an overdose that could otherwise be fatal.

Learn how this drug works to reverse an opioid overdose and how it can help. Is it the key to turning the tide in the fight against opioids or is it a temporary fix?

How Opioids Work

Before understanding how Narcan can stop an overdose in its tracks, it’s important to understand how opioids work in the brain and body. Opioids are analgesics, which are useful for suppressing and managing pain. But they aren’t just helpful, they are excellent at stopping pain every step of the way.

The Science of Pain

The message your body sends your brain when you experience something that can damage you, like touching a hot stove, is what we know as pain. Pain travels through the nervous system via neurotransmission or the release of chemical messages from nerve-to-nerve across synapses. When you experience something that triggers pain like falling on your roller skates and scraping your knee, a message is sent from its origin to the spine and into the brain, specifically the thalamus. Then the thalamus relays that message to the hypothalamus and limbic system, which helps you learn to be more careful on roller skates. When the pain message is particularly strong, the response from the hypothalamus and limbic system might cause you to develop an intense fear or phobia, causing you never to put on roller skates again.

How Opioids Intervene

Opioids don’t just stop pain in the brain, they work all along the nervous system’s pain highway, even in the spine and pain origin areas. In the spine and pain areas, opioids can modify and inhibit pain signals that are being sent to the brain. And in the brain, opioids alter mood, having calming or euphoric effects. They can also soften your brain’s response to pain, helping you avoid long-lasting psychological repercussions of an accident like a fear of roller skates.

Opioids do this by binding to opioid receptors in the presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons. In other words, they attach to particular points designed for them in both the neuron that’s sending the signal and the one that’s receiving the signal. These opioid receptors exist for naturally occurring opioid-like chemicals called endorphins.

The Problem with Opioids

The problems with opioids are their dangerous side effects, ability to cause tolerance, and chemical addiction. The level of tolerance is increased the longer opioids are used, making them less effective at the same dose over time. As tolerance grows, many users increase the dose, which puts them at greater risk of developing dependence and addiction. The limbic system, the same system that causes you to learn from pain, teaches you that opioids not only kill pain but also leave you feeling pleasurable euphoric effects. A similar instinctive or irrational compulsion that can make you fear your roller skates after an accident can make you crave and seek opioids. Once addiction takes hold, your likelihood of experiencing dangerous and fatal side effects or overdose increases.

What Is Narcan?

Narcan is the brand name for a drug called naloxone that block the effects of an opioid. It’s primarily used to treat patients during overdose but is also sometimes combined with opioid prescriptions, in the same pill, to decrease the risk of abuse. During an opioid overdose, users can experience respiratory depression, mental confusion, and heart-related complications. Narcan is effective in reversing respiratory depression during an overdose, but there is very little evidence to suggest that it can help with heart-related complications, like cardiac arrest. Still, Narcan, where it has been implemented, has saved countless lives that would otherwise be lost to overdose.

Opioids like heroin bind to opioid receptors to relax you and essentially slow you down. In high doses, opioids can slow down breathing and heart rate to the point of oxygen deprivation. Narcan binds to the same receptors that opioids do, which means that Narcan blocks the binding of opioids and stops their effects. Narcan is a competitive antagonist and binds to active binding sites on receptors that are taken up by opioids. As an antagonist, it does not activate the receptor it binds to, as an opioid would.

How Is it Used?

Narcan can be administered intravenously, injected into the muscle, or in the form of a nasal spray. The speed at which it begins to take effect depends on the method of administration, but it works within minutes. Naloxone can reverse and prevent overdose for a half hour to an hour after it’s administered. However, many opioids, including heroin have a much longer duration of action than one hour. To prevent an overdose from occurring after Narcan wears off, additional doses are administered until the opioid stops being effective.

Paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters often carry naloxone like they would carry other life saving, fast-acting medications including epinephrine or insulin. In some counties, police officers carry it in the event they are the first on the scene during an overdose. It is legal to prescribe Narcan in every state in the U.S., but its administration is still restricted. Individuals are able to purchase Narcan at a pharmacy as an over-the-counter medicine, without the need for a prescription. However, only 36 states allow over the counter sale of naloxone.

Why Narcan Isn’t a Cure

There is no question that Narcan has saved lives, and the more its availability increases, the more lives it will save. However, as Narcan has become more available, with more states making it legal to buy over the counter, opioid overdose death rates continue to grow every year.

The problem is growing faster than Narcan can stop it.

One reason for this is that Narcan isn’t a cure. While it stops the effects of overdose, it does not stop addiction. In fact, Narcan can cause withdrawal symptoms to occur in people who are chemically dependent on opioids. This means that someone administered Narcan in the morning might be using heroin again in the afternoon.

What You Can Do To Beat Opioid Addiction

If you are struggling with addiction and would like to avoid adding to the overdose statistics, there is treatment available. Addiction is a chronic disease, but it is one that can be treated. Through personalized addiction treatment, you can enter into lasting recovery. Call Pathway to Hope today at 844-557-8575 or contact us online to find out more about your treatment options. Addiction is chronic, but overdose death isn’t inevitable.

10 Surprising Facts About Heroin

Heroin is one of the most potent and deadly illicit substances in the world. As the opioid epidemic wages on, we see more people succumb to heroin’s wrath every day. It seems that all eyes have been on this powerful drug lately. Despite all of the attention it may be getting, there still may be more about this drug that you may not know.

Heroin Used to Be Legal

Whenever people think of heroin, they automatically associate crime with the drug. While the drug is illegal now, and possessing any quantity of the illicit substance will land you in jail, this was not always the case. In fact, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, heroin was legal!

Heroin Once Was Used As Medication

Piggybacking off of the previous fact, heroin was legal and also sold over the counter! That’s right, while it can be extremely difficult to imagine now, there was once a time that heroin was sold as a “safe, alternative pain relieving” medication.

It was marketed as a “less addictive” alternative to morphine. A variety of products were sold containing heroin such as cough syrups and even medications for infants! It wasn’t until a few years later that scientists realized that heroin was, in fact, more addictive and potent than morphine.

It Comes from the Poppy Plant

Many people do not realize that heroin actually has a natural, botanical source. Heroin comes from the opium poppy, also known as the poppy plant. After about three months following the planting of the poppy seed, the poppy flowers bloom. As the petals fall away, an egg-shaped seedpod in the middle of the flower is exposed. It is from here a thick sap is excreted, which is opium in the purest form. The poppy flower farmers will then extract the sap and ship it on the black market to be refined into pure opium and eventually heroin.

While Withdrawals are Uncomfortable, They’re not Deadly

Anyone who has ever undergone heroin withdrawals can tell you just how awful the experience may be. The addict may begin to feel withdrawal symptoms as soon as six hours after the last dose is administered. While these withdrawal symptoms can be intense, heroin withdrawals, themselves, are actually not life-threatening.

Heroin Comes in Three Different Colors

Heroin has several different faces. Heroin is almost always in powder form, but the hue of this powder comes in a variety of colors. White and brown heroin powder is the most common types of heroin. Heroin also comes in a sticky form that is black in color known as “black tar heroin.” The color of the drug is usually a telltale sign from which region it has originated. White heroin powder typically comes from Asia, Colombian and Afghan heroin is usually brown in color, and black tar is usually sourced from Mexico.

Many Different Phrases Come from Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin has affected our culture in a variety of ways, including different phrases and sayings that come from heroin withdrawal symptoms. The phrase “kicking the habit” is derived as a result of the twitching legs heroin users experience during withdrawal. Also, the phrase “going cold turkey” comes from heroin users experiencing goosebumps from the severe cold flashes they may experience from heroin withdrawal.

Most of the Heroin Supply Originates from Afghanistan

It was estimated that approximately 93 percent of the world’s opium supply originated from Afghanistan in the mid-2000s. Since heroin is sourced from opium directly, most of the world’s heroin supply originated from the Afghan poppy farmers. Approximately $4 billion was made as a result of the exports, with three-fourths of the total going to traffickers and the remaining one-fourth going to the Afghan opium farmers.

9.2 Million People Abuse Heroin Worldwide

Heroin addicts are not in short supply. In fact, while heroin remains a severe issue for the United States thanks to the current opioid epidemic, it is also a worldwide issue affecting approximately 9.2 million people total.

The Creator of Heroin Died A Heroin Addict

Even though heroin technically does come from the poppy plant, it still had a creator. The German chemist responsible for the creation of heroin was named Heinrich Dreser. Working for the Bayer Company, Dreser was determined to create a product that would be highly marketable and make him a fortune. In 1898, Bayer began selling heroin over-the-counter as a remedy for a variety of different ailments and touted the drug as a “safe” alternative to morphine. What they failed to realize was that heroin was far more addictive and potent than morphine. Ultimately, Heinrich Dreser would ironically die at the age of 64 as a heroin addict, himself.

Heroin Has Been Banned in the United States Since 1924

Heroin may not have always been illegal, but after years of it being sold over-the-counter and the multitude of social implications that came from the wide use of the drug around the country, something had to be done. In 1924, The Heroin Act was signed into legislation, which declared heroin a dangerous substance and made the act of owning or manufacturing the drug illegal, which it has remained for nearly 100 years.

Do You Need Help?

While these facts about heroin may be interesting, the important fact is the tragic and devastating effect this drug can have on those who find themselves addicted. If you or someone you know has been struggling with heroin addiction, let Pathway to Hope help! Call us 24/7 at 844-557-8575 or contact us online and be connected to an addiction specialist who can help you start on the road to recovery today!