Heroin Rehab in Arizona Discusses The Damaging Side Effects of Heroin Use

Heroin Rehab in Arizona Discusses The Damaging Side Effects of Heroin Use

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Heroin Rehab in Arizona Discusses The Damaging Side Effects of Heroin Use

If you find yourself struggling with heroin, you may wonder how continued use will affect your body. Heroin rehab Arizona is here to shed light on these consequences. Unfortunately, the highly addictive drug can cause permanent physical damage or, even worse, death. These dangerous health risks are present whether heroin is injected, snorted, or smoked. Desert Cove Recovery, a heroin rehab in Arizona, explores the physical consequences of chronic heroin use.

Increased Risk of HIV, Hepatitis C, & Hepatitis B

Those who inject heroin intravenously are at an increased risk for HIV, Hepatitis C, and B, among other blood-borne diseases. Shared needles or contaminated paraphernalia used to prepare the liquid heroin can expose users to dangerous diseases.

Drug use also increases the chance of risky sexual behavior through which individuals can contract HIV or Hepatitis. [1] These lifelong viruses cannot be cured and eventually lead to liver destruction or a significantly compromised immune system.

Organ Damage and Impaired Immune System

Heroin use can damage vital organs, including the kidneys, liver, lungs, or brain. Because heroin is an unregulated illicit drug, most of the heroin distributed on the street is not pure. Dealers commonly lace heroin with additives that resemble the drug, including powdered milk, sugar, laundry detergent, or even rat poison. [2] These substances contained within the drug travel through the blood and can have detrimental effects on the body. Bacteria introduced into the bloodstream via unsterile needles can also permanently damage vital organs.

Chronic heroin use also impairs the immune system. This puts users at an increased risk of pneumonia, skin infections, or poor dental health.

Heart Infections

When heroin is injected into the bloodstream, bacteria from contaminated needles can make their way to the heart. These bacteria cause endocarditis or infection of the heart valves and lining of the heart. If left untreated and with continued heroin use, endocarditis can be fatal. [3]

Tissue Destruction

Regardless of the route of administration, heroin can result in tissue damage. Heroin users frequently experience collapsed, scarred veins as a result of intravenous heroin use. When unsterile needles are used, bacteria can enter the skin, causing infections or abscesses.

Nasal heroin use causes progressive destruction of nasal tissues. Some chronic users experience holes in the tissues between nasal passages. [2]

Altered Brain Chemistry

The brain, perhaps the most important organ in the body, can be significantly harmed by continued heroin use. Heroin users experience alterations in brain function as well as destruction to the brain material. When used for long periods, heroin interrupts the brain’s ability to produce its own neurochemicals. Without naturally occurring dopamine, users become dependent on the use of heroin to feel good. Also, heroin may cause damage the brain’s white matter, which controls the ability to regulate mood and make decisions. [4]

Sexual Dysfunction

Chronic use of heroin and other opiates can lead to diminished libido and erectile dysfunction. This is a result of opiate’s effect on testosterone levels. [5] Though not a life-threatening side effect, this consequence can be life-altering for many.

Risk of Heroin Overdose

Overdose is the most severe consequence of heroin use. The United States has experienced a nearly 400% increase in the number of heroin-involved overdose deaths since 2010. [6] Whether an individual is a first-time or chronic heroin user, there is always a risk of overdose. The unregulated nature of heroin means that the purity of any given volume of the drug is variable. The substance can be anywhere from 3% to 99% pure heroin. [7] Unfortunately, this inconsistency in potency can easily lead to an unintentional overdose.

If administered immediately, a drug called Naloxone can reverse the effects of heroin and save a person’s life. [2] Sadly, if the life-saving drug is not administered within a small window of time, it cannot help. Some people are fortunate enough to have access to this medication and overcome a heroin overdose, whereas many aren’t.

Reclaim Your Life with Heroin Rehab in Arizona

The first step toward protecting your body from the irreversible side effects of heroin is to enlist professional help. The compassionate specialists at Desert Cove Recovery are here to provide you with the support you need to achieve recovery. With an intensive outpatient program designed to fit your individual needs, you can rest assured that both your body and mind will be fully cared for. If you are ready to replace heroin with the life you deserve, contact our team today.



[1]: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/statistics/2017surveillance/index.htm

[2]: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin


[4]: https://d14rmgtrwzf5a.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/heroinrrs_11_14.pdf

[5]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6774622/


[7]: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/chew/alcohol-and-other-drugs/