Long-term effects

With prolonged use of heroin, further to short-term effects, a person’s lifestyle deteriorates in all aspects. A heroin user becomes an addict and their health, love life, social life, daily routine, and behaviour are placed in jeopardy.

Physical effects

  • Physical dependence and increasing tolerance levels.
  • Dramatic weight loss and paleness of the face.
  • Bacterial infections, infection of the heart lining and valves, cellulitis, liver disease, arthritis, seizures, strokes and rotting teeth.
  • Injecting heroin exposes users to HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B or C, septicaemia, pneumonia, pulmonary abscesses, skin abscesses and collapsed veins.
  • Excessive doses can induce stupor or coma or lead to death from respiratory failure.
  • Spontaneous abortion
  • Heroin abuse during pregnancy causes low birth weight and developmental delay of the baby.

Psychological effects

  • Psychological dependence (craving).
  • Depression and irritability.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities such as meals and personal hygiene.

Social effects

  • Withdrawal from friends, especially those who don’t take heroin.
  • Difficulties maintaining a job or a relationship.
  • Lack of money and personal items sold to feed the habit.
  • Lying.
  • Criminal behaviour.