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 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 dependence (craving).
- Depression and irritability.
- Loss of interest in daily activities such as meals and personal hygiene.
- 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.
- Criminal behaviour.