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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: How Heroin Can Kill You

….When someone takes heroin there is an immediate rush. Then the body feels an extreme form of relaxation and a decreased sense of pain. What's happening inside the body is the heroin is turning into morphine. Morphine has a chemical structure similar to endorphins--the chemicals your brain makes when you feel stressed out or in pain. Endorphins inhibit your neurons from firing, so they halt pain and create a good feeling….

     Most people die from heroin overdoses when their bodies forget to breathe….A heroin overdose can also cause your blood pressure to dip significantly and cause your heart to fail….Intravenous heroin users are 300 times more likely to die from infectious endocarditis, an infection on the surface of the heart.

     Heroin use can also cause an arrhythmia--a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body, and lack of blood flow affects your brain, heart and other organs. Heroin use can also cause pulmonary edema. That's when the heart can't pump blood to the body well. The blood can back up into your veins, taking that blood through your lungs and to the left side of the heart….

     Heroin can also come with other toxic contaminants that can harm a user--although deaths from such instances, while not unheard of, are thought to be rare….

Jen Christensen, "How Heroin Kills You," CNN February 4, 2014 

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