Reducing the risks of opiates

Short-term risks
Apart from overdosing, the major problem with short-term use of any opiate is the way it is used. For example, injecting heroin can result in skin, heart and lung infections, and diseases like hepatitis and HIV.

Long-term risks
In its pure form, heroin is relatively non-toxic to the body, causing little damage to body tissue and other organs. However, there are some long-term effects, including dependence, constipation, menstrual irregularity and infertility in women, loss of sex drive in men, intense sadness and cognitive impairment.

glassMany of the other long-term problems may be the result of other factors, such as the person's poor general care of the self, drug impurities and contaminants and blood-borne viruses.

Heroin is usually a mixture of pure heroin and other substances, such as caffeine and sugar. Additives can be highly poisonous. They can cause collapsed veins, tetanus, abscesses and damage to the heart, lungs, liver and brain.