The Effects of Heroin on the Body

Feb 15, 2016

A syringe full of heroin is measured in someone's handsOf all of the common street drugs that are seen in the world, today, heroin is certainly the most dangerous. In terms of the addictive properties, euphoric high, and destructive effects on the body, heroin cannot be matched. Since heroin addiction is quite a growing epidemic nowadays, due to the gateways that our society has opened with prescription opiates, it is important to understand the exact dangers that heroin presents to our vital organs. To help fully detail exactly these effects, let’s take a look at each bodily system and how it can be destroyed by the effects of heroin…


One common way that heroin can have fatal effects on the body over time (rather than from an immediate overdose), is by causing our kidneys to function improperly, and eventually fail. The synthetic opioids in heroin create extremely high protein levels in our bladder and urinary tract, which must be processed by the kidneys. The extreme levels of protein can overbear the kidneys, which will cause them to tire and give out over time. Kidney failure is one instance of a chronic side effect of heroin, and one that absolutely can be fatal, and may require a kidney transplant to stop.


Because heroin causes such an immense high, it can cause your muscles to relax and cease to function the way they are meant to. While relaxing can be good for certain muscles in your body, heroin has this effect throughout organs that need to constantly be working. When the muscles in the intestines stop working, it can cause extreme constipation. This level of constipation can cause extreme pressure in the intestine, and cause ruptures to happen in your body where waste is supposed to be processed. This largely increases the risk for contamination and harmful diseases, like gangrene.


The greatest damage that gets done to a heroin addict occurs in the brain. While there is still a lot of research that needs to be done on heroin’s effect on the brain, the research that already exists conclusively points to a whole host of negative effects. Chronic heroin abuse has been shown to have a similar effect on the brain as Alzheimer’s, even though most of the addicts tested were in their 20’s. This is likely caused by the low amount of oxygen in the blood while one is on a heroin high, which can cause brain damage after multiple uses. These effects aren’t necessarily permanent, if the addict is able to find help and get off of the drug.