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  • Heroin
    • Heroin is an opiate (acts a a depressant and analgesic/painkiller) and is produced from morphine in powder form
    • Usually injected although can be snorted or smoked
    • Mode of action
      • In the brain it is converted to morphine which at the synapse binds to receptors to reduce preventing effect of gammaaminobutyric acid
      • Acts at opioid receptor sites in the brain which causes more dopamine to be released than normal
    • Effects
      • Short term effects are pleasure, slowing of breathing and heart rate, reduction of pain, dry mouth, heavy limbs, skin flushing, sickness, itching, relaxation and drowsiness
      • Long term effects occur after chronic use which include cravings and if these are not satisfied; withdrawal symptoms
    • Tolerance
      • A stage may be reached where it works to the extent that no high can ever be achieved and drug use is simply to prevent withdrawal
    • Physical and psychological dependence
      • When physically dependent a user tends to produce less endorphin's and so we rely on it for our pleasure
      • If an individual stops taking heroin and gets withdrawal they are physically dependent
      • When cravings begin and they can no longer function normally they are psychologically dependent
    • Withdrawal
      • Symptoms can occur if taken for a maximum of 3 days and tends to start 6 hours after fix
      • Symptoms include sweating, anxiety, depression, cramps, itchy blood and muscle aching


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