Heroin is an opioid that is usually injected but can also be smoked or inhaled. Physical and psychological dependency develops fast in people who consume heroin; overdoses can cause a quick death.
Heroin induced euphoria, eases pain and at the same time induces sleep. Sensory perceptions become muted and sexual desire decreases. An overdose can lead to respiratory paralysis, which can be deadly.
Heroin is very addictive. Typical withdrawal symptoms include sweating, shaking, cramps and sleeplessness, plus psychological changes such as confusion, restlessness and disorientation.
Heroin itself does not damage human organs. Health problems arise primarily from impurities in the drug and from injecting the drug into the vein under unclean conditions.
As a rule, dependency also results in a very difficult living situation. The drug can often only be financed through criminal acts or prostitution. Many addicts lose contact with their family and friends.
Premature withdrawal symptoms are possible in combination with some HIV medications such asViracept® (nelvinavir), Aptivus® (tipranavir) and Norvir® (ritonavir). These include, for instance, tearing, sweating, restlessness, sleeplessness, dilated pupils and tremors.
Substitution means replace. Heroin is replaced with a medication (methadone or buprenorphin for example) that a doctor prescribes. Thus the onset of withdrawal symptoms is prevented despite the fact that heroin is no longer being consumed.
Substitution therefore makes it possible to
Health insurance covers the costs for substitution. Even substitution with heroin that is manufactured pharmaceutically (diamorphine) is possible under certain conditions.
You’ll find more information in HIV specialist doctors’ office, in AIDS service organizations and in drug treatment centers.