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Heroin Health Hazards

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Woman holding heroin syringeHeroin is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. Individuals who use heroin are susceptible to heart failure, liver failure, suicidal thoughts, depression and many other life-threatening issues. In addition, anyone who uses heroin is at risk for an accidental drug overdose because each dose of heroin varies in strength.

In addition, heroin carries other potential health hazards for anyone who injects the drug using needles. Heroin injection poses the greatest risk of lethal overdose by introducing large amounts of the drug (and any additional contaminants) quickly into the bloodstream.1 The body simply does not know how to respond and an individual has a drug overdose.

Health Hazards of Heroin Addiction

Beyond the high risk of overdose, there are other common, life-altering health problems connected with using heroin intravenously.


Although sexual transmission normally gets most of the headlines, one of the most common forms of transmission of AIDS/HIV is through sharing dirty needles. And since heroin addicts are the most likely to ingest the drug though injection, that puts them at a great risk for the virus that causes AIDS. Many communities have enacted clean needle programs to try and offset this problem, but it still remains a serious concern.

When a heroin addict needs a fix, they do not often wait to find the proper sterile equipment. That means HIV can spread rapidly through groups of drug users, even if they only use an infected needle once.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis is another serious infectious disease that can be transmitted through IV drug use and the sharing or reusing of dirty needles. Hepatitis C causes long-term damage to the liver and often leads to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. Hep C is a highly contagious disease when blood and other bodily fluids are shared between individuals.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and a variety of other serious medical conditions can be easily spread through unprotected sex. There are several ways that diseases spread sexually among heroin users. In most cases, good decision-making rarely happens when an individual uses heroin. This can lead to unsafe sex in groups that are already at a risk for disease from heroin abuse. Also, there is a widespread heroin problem among prostitutes around the world. These prostitutes will work in order to pay for their habit, spreading the disease to their customers.

While sexually transmitted diseases are a problem for ALL heroin users, the effects of the drug often leads to unsafe behavior such as unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. However, intravenous use puts heroin users at the greatest level of risk.

According to statistics from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, over two percent of individuals aged 26 or older have used heroin in their lifetime.2

But help is available.

We at Michael’s House are ready to help. We are a residential heroin addiction rehab facility that offers the highest quality of care available. Individuals who complete our heroin treatment program at Michael’s House are able to move forward and live a life without heroin abuse. Please contact Michael’s House today at 760.548.4032 for more information.


1HeroinFacts.” Drug Policy. Accessed 5 December 2017.

2Heroin.” National Institute of Drug Abuse.Accessed 5 December 2017.