Blog | Drug Addiction

Five Ways That Heroin Use Can Kill You

Heroin is a dangerous drug. You can overdose on it alone or in combination with other drugs. Use increases the likelihood of contracting infectious diseases like hepatitis or HIV. Heroin impacts mental health and can contribute to suicide risk. It puts stress on the body and damages organs.

Heroin Overdose Is Deadly

If you use heroin, you are at risk for overdose. Any use is dangerous. First-time users can overdose. Individuals who have been using heroin for years and believe they know their tolerance levels can overdose. Heroin overdose is a real danger. It is an increasingly common one.[1] explains, “In 2010, there were 38,329 overdose-related deaths, and by 2015, that number had climbed to 52,404.” Of these, “One in four drug overdoses in 2015 was related to heroin. In 1999, just 6% of all overdoses were related to the drug.” Heroin overdose is not a rare phenomenon. It is not an outdated one or a problem of the past. Heroin overdose occurs, and it can be deadly. The only way to prevent overdose is to end heroin use. Michael’s House can help you or a loved one end overdose risk. We create personalized paths to health and freedom. We work with you to find effective evidence-based treatment options. By ending heroin use, you end the risk of overdose. Woman with heroin needle

Heroin Use Is Often Combined with Other Drug Use

Heroin is dangerous enough on its own. When it is used with other drugs, associated risks increase. As the Centers for Disease Control[2] (CDC) shares,

“People often use heroin along with other drugs or alcohol. This practice is especially dangerous because it increases the risk of overdose.”

This increased overdose risk isn’t rare. Most drug users are polydrug users. They use more than one substance at a time or use one drug to counteract the unwanted effects of another. The CDC continues, explaining that the people most at risk for heroin addiction are those already addicted to opioid painkillers, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol. If you are already addicted to prescription opioid painkillers, you are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin. You are likely to use more than one substance at a time and therefore increase your risk of overdose and other health complications.

Heroin Use Increases Risk of Infectious Disease

Using heroin puts you at risk for contracting infectious diseases like Hepatitis B and C and HIV. Untreated hepatitis leads to liver failure or liver cancer. HIV leads to AIDS and destroys the immune system. These health conditions are treatable and manageable. Without this treatment, they can kill you. The Centers for Disease Control[3] (CDC) shares, “Nearly 13,000 people with AIDS in the United States die each year.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse[4] (NIDA) shares, “During the next 40–50 years, 1 million people with untreated chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) infection will likely die from complications related to their HCV.” Additionally individuals with one infectious disease are likely to struggle with another. The CDC continues, “Of people with HIV in the United States, about 25% are coinfected with HCV, and about 10% are coinfected with HBV. About 80% of people with HIV who inject drugs also have HCV.”

These statistics matter to heroin users. Intravenous drug use greatly increases the likelihood of contracting hepatitis, AIDS, and other communicable diseases. Even if individuals do not inject heroin, drug use impacts judgement and inhibitions. Users are more likely to engage in unprotected sex and have multiple partners. They are more likely to have accidents or injuries where blood-related safety isn’t a priority. Heroin doesn’t have to kill you directly. It can open the door for other diseases to do so. This is why addiction treatment begins with a complete health assessment. Treatment at Michael’s House does more than address immediate drug use. It involves complete physical care. Medical professionals are available during and after withdrawal. They help patients manage any co-occurring physical health concerns. You leave treatment healthier than when you enter it. You leave protected from many infectious disease risks. You learn to take control of your health and your future. You can live a long, healthy and enjoyable life by ending heroin use and seeking treatment.

Heroin Use Increases Suicide Risk

Heroin can kill through its relationship to suicide. Addiction[5] shares, “Heroin users are 14 times more likely than peers to die from suicide. The prevalence of attempted suicide is also many orders of magnitude greater than that of community samples.” Heroin users are more likely to try to commit suicide than non-heroin using peers. They are also more likely to succeed. Addiction explains why heroin users are more at risk for suicide: “The major general population risk factors for suicide also apply to heroin users (gender, psychopathology, family dysfunction and social isolation). Heroin users, however, have extremely wide exposure to these factors. They also carry additional risks specifically associated with heroin and other drug use.”

Heroin users face the same challenges to mental health and happiness as the general population. They have the added stress, influence, and pressures of heroin. Heroin impacts mental health, creates new lows, and provides easy access to methods for self-harm. Heroin affects relationships that would otherwise support mental health. It impacts finances and employment. It can leave individuals feeling lost and alone, although this is never the case. Michael’s House is always available, and through treatment users can rebuild relationships with loved ones. You forge new, healthy friendships with peers in recovery. You have 24-hour, long-term access to our professionals. You can reach out and find support at any time.

Heroin Stresses Overall Health

Hands with IV line hospital

Heroin use puts your health at risk. Overdose creates immediate physical risk. Use increases the likelihood of contracting communicable diseases. Additionally long-term use leads to an accumulation of side effects and internal damage. Heroin users may experience bacterial infections in blood vessels, skin, or heart. Infections may travel to or appear in other vital organs and lead to the death of cells in these organs. When you struggle with addiction, you are unlikely to eat well or stay physically active. You are unlikely to participate in self-care and treat your mind, body and spirit as they should be. Michael’s House can include nutritional counseling as part of your overall treatment plan. We can help you restore balance and learn how eating well is related to feeling good and staying healthy. We can help you explore ways of staying active. This can involve traditional exercise. It doesn’t have to. You can do yoga, hike, dance, or find the activities that are fun for you. We are here any time to help you create your customized path to wellness. Heroin robs you of your overall health. It doesn’t have to rob you of your life. Take action, and take back control.

Heroin Doesn’t Have to Kill You

You don’t have to live in fear of overdose. You can avoid contracting infectious diseases or learn to manage the ones you face. You don’t have to despair or damage your body. You can find recovery and health. Call Michael’s House to learn about comprehensive, holistic treatment. Our professionals combine the best mental, physical and addiction health care. We offer a clear path away from heroin. You can save your life or the life of a loved one. Reach out to us today and learn more.

[1] “25% of All Overdoses Are from Heroin.” 24 Feb 2017. Web. 7 Mar 2017.

[2] “Today’s Heroin Epidemic.” Centers for Disease Control. 7 Jul 2015. Web. 7 Mar 2017.

[3] “HIV and Viral Hepatitis.” Centers for Disease Control. Mar 2014. Web. 7 Mar 2017.

[4] “Viral Hepatitis—A Very Real Consequence of Substance Use.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. May 2013. Web. 7 Mar 2017.

[5] “Suicide among heroin users: rates, risk factors and methods.” Addiction. Nov 2002. Web. 8 Mar 2017.