Nationally, the trend for heroin overdose rates is rising. The National Institutes of Health tracks known overdose deaths from a variety of sources, including popular illicit and legal drugs. Where drugs like cocaine are seeing fewer and fewer deaths from misuse, heroin overdose rates are trending upward and have been since 2010. As of 2013, the latest year for which there is data, the heroin overdose rates in the U.S. are up over five times their rate in 2001. Nashville heroin overdose recovery centers help addicts regain sobriety and avoid the many dangers associated with heroin abuse.
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Heroin can be snorted, smoked or injected to provide a euphoric high that makes the user feel relaxed, comfortable and drowsy. The effects are immediate and last for some time. Heroin acts by replacing dopamine in brain receptor cells. Over time, the body is less able to manufacture its own dopamine, a "feel good" neurotransmitter chemical, and the individual experiences discomfort, which causes more drug-seeking behavior. The effects of heroin on the body and brain can last for some time after the drug is withdrawn. For this reason, treatment can be difficult and can take some time.
Almost half of all overdose-related deaths in the United States are from the use of heroin or morphine. One of the reasons for the rapid rise in the use of these drugs is their relatively low cost and ease of accessibility in comparison to their semi-legal prescription counterparts. On the street, prescription equivalents can run four to five times the cost of a similar amount of heroin. This would explain the rising use of heroin among demographics of people, including the wealthy and the more educated who are traditionally considered less likely to abuse illicit drugs.
Long term heroin use can cause lasting effects on the brain, causing difficulties with memory and cognition. Vein problems, cardiovascular effects, kidney damage and other health problems can also occur. Sexually transmitted infections can result from risky behavior while under the influence.