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Investigating the involvement of heroin in crime - Research Paper Example

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This study will investigate the drug’s availability and price, and the role that these play in the abuse of heroin. It shall consider various facts which seek to assess all available elements in the understanding of the use and the abuse of heroin.

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Investigating the involvement of heroin in crime
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Download file to see previous pages Heroin is considered an “opiate drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant”. It appears as a white or brown powder and it can be injected, smoked, or snorted. Through these routes, it can quickly deliver the drug to the brain. By injecting it, the needle can administer the drug to the bloodstream; by snorting, the drug can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues; and by smoking, the drug can also be absorbed into the lungs. These methods can all lead to addiction and other serious health issues. As heroin enters the brain, it is then converted to morphine where it later binds with opioid receptors. Such receptors are found in different parts of the brain and the body, most likely those which have something to do with perception of pain and reward. These receptors are also found in the brain stem. The brain stem is involved in the automatic processes of breathing, blood pressure, and arousal. (Ritter and Lampkin, 2010). Heroin users and abusers initially report feeling a surge of euphoria, accompanied by dry mouth, warm flushing of the skin, heaviness in their extremities, and compromised mental functioning (Cobb and Brogan, 2008). After this state of euphoria, the heroin user then goes through an alternate wakeful and drowsy state. Through continued heroin use, tolerance for the drug sets in and the user’s physiological reaction to the drug diminishes, and more heroin is necessary to receive the same level of effect. Users have a high risk of experiencing addiction with about 23% of individuals using heroin becoming dependent to it (NIDA, 2010). The drug’s behavioral impact on users is severe. Most abusers find trouble concentrating, learning, or having clear thoughts (ACDE, n.d). Most of the time, they cannot hold down jobs; they can be apathetic and be unable to carry out and sustain personal relationships (Pearson, Gilman, and McIver, 1987). Their inability to find means to sustain their addiction often leads them to crime. Their compulsive use often triggers self-destructive and irresponsible behavior which manifests as antisocial actuations and a general indifference to injury, pain, and the loss caused to others (ACDE, n.d). Heroin has adverse effects on health. It is associated with serious health conditions, fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and in some individuals injecting the drug – infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis (NIDA, 2010). For prolonged users, they may suffer collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, liver or kidney disease (NIDA, 2010). Some may later develop pneumonia which may be caused by their poor health as well as their compromised respiration. The drug sometimes contains toxic contaminants which can clog the blood vessels to the lungs, liver, and other major organs, thereby leading to permanent damage to these organs (Virmani, Ali, and Binienda, 2010). For long-time users, their heroin use can lead to physical dependence and when they stop use of the drug they are likely to suffer severe withdrawal symptoms. These ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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