Jessamine County Coroner

Heroin

HEROIN IS AN ILLEGAL OPIATE WHICH IS PROCESSED FROM MORPHINE, AND DERIVED FROM THE MILK OF THE POPPY PLANT.  ORIGINALLY  PRODUCED  FROM MORPHINE IN BRITAIN IN 1874, IT REMAINED UNEXPLOITED UNTIL THE BAYER PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY BEGAIN PROMOTING HEROIN AS A NON-ADDICTIVE PAINKILLER AND COUGH MEDICINE FOR CHILDREN, AND AS A CURE FOR MORPHINE ADDICTION IN 1898. IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1924 THAT THE SALE, IMPORTATION AND MANUFACTURE OF HEROIN WAS BANNED IN THE UNITED STATES. 

WHEN REFINED, HEROIN IS USUALLY A WHITE POWDER WITH A BITTER TASTE.  SINCE MOST HEROIN SOLD ON THE STREETS IS NOT PURE, IT VARIES IN COLOR FROM YELLOW TO DARK BROWN. THIS IS DUE TO THE ADDITIVES THAT “CUT” OR DILUTE THE PURITY.  SOME HEROIN, PARTICULARLY FROM MEXICO, LOOKS LIKE, AND IS CALLED “BLACK TAR”.  ON THE STREET, HEROIN IS CALLED “H”, “SMACK”, “SKAG”, ‘HORSE’ AND “JUNK”.  SINCE HEROIN IS MANUFACTURED ILLEGALLY AND NOT BY A DRUG COMPANY, THERE IS NO QUALITY ASSURANCE, THUS THERE IS NO WAY OF TELLING WHAT MIGHT BE MIXED IN WITH IT TO “CUT” IT.  AS A RESULT, THE POTENCY OR STRENGTH COULD BE VERY MILD TO VERY POTENT, THEREBY INCREASING THE RISKS OF OVERDOSE AND DEATH. 

HEROIN IS USED IN SEVERAL WAYS.  IT CAN BE INJECTED INTO A VEIN (“MAINLINING”), INJECTED INTO A MUSCLE, INJECTED UNDER THE SKIN, SMOKED IN A WATER PIPE, MIXED IN A MARIJUANA JOINT, INHALED AS SMOKE THROUGH A STRAW (“CHASING THE DRAGON”)OR  SNORTED AS POWDER THROUGH THE NOSE. 

BASICALLY, HEROIN TRICKS THE BRAIN INTO RELEASING HIGH AMOUNTS OF ENDORPHINS WHICH CAUSES A FEELING OF WELL-BEING AND EUPHORIA.  AFTER REPEATED USES, THE BODY DEVELOPS A TOLERANCE, AND MORE OF THE DRUG IS REQUIRED JUST TO FEEL NORMAL.  AFTER REPEATED USE, THE BODY BECOMES DEPENDENT ON IT TO PRODUCE THE ENDORPHINS WHICH BLOCK PAIN SIGNALS IN THE BRAIN. WITHOUT MORE HEROIN TO PRODUCE THE ENDORPHINS, EVERYTHING THE USER DOES, INCLUDING BREATHING BECOMES PAINFUL.  OTHER SYMPTOMS OF WITHDRAWL INCLUDE: NAUSEA AND VOMITING, DIARRHEA, ABDOMINAL CRAMPS, MUSCLE SPASMS AND PAIN, ANXIETY AND MORE.  IT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS “THE WORST FLU YOU EVER HAD MULTIPLIED TIMES TEN”.

OVERDOSE AND OFTEN DEATH OCCUR WHEN SOMEONE IS USED TO A LOW GRADE HEROIN AND ULTIMATELY BUYS A VERY PURE BATCH.  HE OR SHE WILL TAKE THE SAME AMOUNT THEY ALWAYS USE, BUT BECAUSE OF THE INCREASED PURITY, THAT AMOUNT NOW BECOMES LETHAL FOR THEM.  OTHER OVERDOSES OCCUR BECAUSE THE USER IS TRYING TO ACHIEVE THE SAME HIGH THEY GOT ON THE FIRST USE, BY TAKING INCREASINGLY HIGHER AMOUNTS.  THEY WILL BECOME CLAMMY AND COLD (HYPOTHERMIA), BLOOD PRESSURE AND HEART RATE DECREASE, RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION AND DISTRESS OCCUR, FOLLOWED BY COMA, SEIZURE AND IN THE WORST CASE, DEATH.    

QUOTE FROM A HEROIN ADDICT:

“ONCE YOU’RE ADDICTED TO HEROIN, THERE’S ONLY THREE WAYS YOU CAN GO:

YOU SEEK TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION,

YOU END UP IN JAIL,

OR YOU END UP DEAD!”

IF YOU ARE MESSING WITH HEROIN, STOP!  IF YOU’RE NOT, DON’T!

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