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Why Do People Get Addicted to Heroin?

Why Do People Get Addicted to Heroin?

A person on heroin may adopt a physical dependence on the highly addictive opioid made from morphine. Heroin is extracted from the resin of seeds of the opium poppy plant and is sold in white or brown powders. It can resemble a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Many people assume heroin is a stimulant, but it is a depressant. In addition, there are numerous dangers attached to the use of the drug, causing severe health complications. So, why do people get addicted to heroin?

How Does Heroin Work?

People can consume or directly insert heroin to achieve a heroin high in numerous ways. The drug is most commonly injected intravenously (IV), meaning into a vein. A heroin addict will mix the drug with water so it can easily be injected into the body. Additionally, a powder form of the drug is available, which is snorted or smoked. Some people will mix the substance with cocaine, called “speedballing,” for greater and more intense effects.

How Addictive Is Heroin?

Heroin use and abuse of the substance increase the risk of overdose and health issues. Still, the drug is a highly addictive opiate that affects the brain’s reward system. The drug attaches to opioid receptors in the brain, blocking pain from warning the brain and increasing dopamine levels in the central nervous system. As a result, people enjoy the euphoric sensation and pleasure and may feel motivated due to the rise in dopamine.

What is a heroin high like? Heroin permits the brain to regain released dopamine, overwhelming the brain and creating a euphoric high. There is a rise in dopamine and the feel-good chemical serotonin. After multiple uses, the brain links heroin to the reason these happy chemicals are activating, which causes the addiction.

How Long Does a Heroin High Last?

Heroin’s duration of effects depends on the method of administration and how high the dose amounts. By injection, a high can take place within twenty seconds, peaking after two hours, and may last longer than four hours. If a person is to snort or smoke the drug, then the effects of heroin will typically begin after ten minutes. The sensations may last as long as five or more hours. However, the overwhelming euphoric high does not survive the entire few hours but may last around ten minutes.

Heroin abuse can lead to serious side effects that can last hours, days, or weeks, especially if a person is craving or withdrawing from the drug. So, why do people use heroin when overdose and death are very possible for those who abuse the substance. Is the high worth it?

Here are some heroin side effects to know:

  • Sedation
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Warm flushing of the skin
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • Collapsed veins from injecting the drug intravenously
  • Damaged tissue inside the nose in people who snort or sniff the drug

Having an addiction to heroin may lead to more harmful side effects like infection in the heart lining or liver and kidney disease. Heroin addiction treatment is seriously advised for those struggling with addiction. The quicker substance abuse is treated, the threat of long-term health complications declines.

Addiction Treatment at Banyan Treatment Centers Massachusetts

At our Banyan Massachusetts addiction treatment center, we offer Faith in Recovery and other unique therapy and treatment programs to help patients receive the help they need to achieve their recovery goals. From mindfulness and group therapy to intervention planning services, our medical team is prepared to safely and efficiently get you through detox and back to a sober life. 


Speak with a specialist at our Massachusetts rehab by calling 888-280-4763 and asking about our outpatient program to get started today!


Related Readings:

Dopamine Foods: Boosting Your Mood Naturally

Fighting Heroin Cravings

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.