How Heroin is Smoked

Heroin is a dangerous opioid, and its use is on the rise in the U.S.

One of the biggest reasons it’s believed that heroin use continues to become more prevalent is because of the opioid prescription drug crisis happening in the U.S.

People often begin abusing prescription opioids and then, they move to heroin because it’s cheaper and more easily available.

Another factor leading to heroin becoming abused by more people is also believed to be because it’s not just a drug that people inject. In the past, heroin was seen as something that was primarily used through injection, which may have led more people to avoid the drug. Now, smoking it or snorting it is more common, at least when someone first starts using heroin, so it may be less intimidating, unfortunately leading to a rise in its use.

So how is heroin smoked and what are the signs and side effects?

How Heroin is Smoked
When someone smokes heroin what they actually do is inhale the fumes and smoke, making it different than many other drugs that are smoked. Smoking heroin is also referred to as Chasing the Dragon, and it’s the fastest growing way to abuse heroin,  particularly for people who are worried about the social stigma of injecting it, or people who are wary of using a needle.

How heroin is smoked is that the original powder version of the drug can be vaporized and the user then breathes in the smoke. That delivers the drug directly from the lungs to the arteries, then it hits the bloodstream and passes the blood-brain barrier.

To give a brief rundown of how heroin is smoked: first, the drug is placed on a surface that can be heated, and a flame is applied directly below it so that it begins boiling it. Then, the vapor is inhaled using a tube of some type. Often even something as simple as a toilet paper tube can be used to smoke heroin, although that many options. A plastic straw can be used, or people may even use something like a teapot to get the vapor of the drug.

Another way how heroin is smoked is by using it along with weed. People will combine marijuana and heroin, which is known as lacing, and this isn’t necessarily done on purpose by people using the drug. Instead, marijuana dealers will lace their product with heroin to make it m ore addictive, so they will get a repeat customer, and also make it more powerful in smaller amounts.

People often wonder not just how heroin is smoked, but what happens when you smoke heroin. First, when you smoke heroin it still works in much the same way as it does when it’s injected. It attaches to opioid receptors in the user’s brain and then creates a euphoric high. It also relieves pain and then once the euphoria subsides, heroin leads to a sense of deep relaxation or sedation often lasting for several hours.

When you smoke heroin, the euphoric rush isn’t as instantaneous or as powerful as when it’s injected, but it’s just as dangerous.

However, as with other ways of using heroin, when you smoke this drug you will rapidly build a tolerance, diminishing the effects and also increasing the risk of an overdose.

When heroin is smoked, people think they’re not only avoiding the stigma and anxiety of using a needle to inject it, but they incorrectly believe it won’t lead to addiction. This is not the case, and not only can smoking heroin lead to addiction, but many people who start out smoking the drug often move to injecting it.

There are many negative side effects and adverse health outcomes that come from smoking heroin as well. Not only is there the risk of overdose, dependence, and addiction, but when you smoke heroin, it’s also extremely detrimental to the health of your lungs. It can lead to pneumonia and bronchitis, and the drug itself regardless of how it’s taken can lead to damage to all organs.

Some of the signs of someone smoking heroin include paraphernalia being found. This can include sheets of aluminum foil, straws or ball point pens. People who smoke heroin also often have a constant hacking cough, and it can even lead to the development of asthma.

What’s important to realize when looking at how heroin is smoked is the fact that it’s no safer than injecting the drug. There is no safe way to take heroin, and it’s always dangerous no matter what.

How Heroin is Smoked
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