Overdose of heroin - symptoms, what to do, the consequences
Heroin is a drug from the category of opiates. Its second name is diacetylmorphine. People who use this semisynthetic drug are very many. In this case, heroin overdose is a condition requiring urgent measures.
Helping one's neighbor is the duty of everyone. Seeing a dying person, you need to be able to recognize heroin poisoning in time to take the necessary measures to save someone else's life. If this is not done, then the probability of a fatal outcome increases several times. So let's find out how to recognize the symptoms of heroin overdose, what to do for first aid, what will be the consequences of such poisoning.
Why is heroin overdose
Most often, heroin is injected intravenously. To achieve an intoxicating effect, 1 mg of the drug is sufficient. But one dose is usually administered from 10 to 50 mg of the substance. Very quickly, habituation occurs, so the doses are rising rapidly. The daily dose on average is 2 grams.
The desire to get "high" leads to the fact that a person, without thinking about the consequences, can introduce a deadly amount of opiate. To a heroin overdose, a single dose of 60-200 mg is given. And it may be the last. It depends on the characteristics of the body.
Overdose risk factors:
- Decreased tolerance to heroin. If a person does not use heroin for a while, then the susceptibility to it increases and the introduction of the previous dose may lead to an overdose. This situation is possible if treatment was conducted, detoxification or a drug was not available.
- The introduction of the next dose of heroin before the previous action ends.
- Use of drugs that contain impurities when it is difficult to calculate the required dose.
- The use of a purified drug after heroin of poor quality, if dose adjustment is not performed.
- Severe concomitant diseases. Most drug addicts have HIV, hepatitis, lung disease, which is a risk factor for overdose.
- Simultaneous use of psychoactive substances, especially benzodiazepines, other narcotic drugs and alcohol.
- Mental disorders.
- Low socioeconomic status of a drug addict.
If the dose is significantly exceeded, then the effect of the drug is greatly increased.
The first signs of a heroin overdose appear several minutes after its introduction. There is confusion, constipation, lowering blood pressure. Man tends to sleep, there is dryness in the mouth. Nails and lips can become blue. Weakness is felt in the hands and feet. Movement slow. Breath is superficial.
A triad of heroin overdose symptoms should be highlighted:
- lack of consciousness;
- narrow pupils (dotted);
- respiratory depression.
If the addict, and this can be determined by the presence of traces from intravenous injections, there are such symptoms, then the diagnosis is beyond doubt.
In addition, an overdose is characterized by a drop in pressure, a decrease in the pulse. The skin becomes dry and pale. In addition to stopping breathing, the cause of death can be: cessation of the heart and pulmonary edema.
Death from an overdose of heroin is waiting for every second person who uses this drug. This is due to the fact that many do it alone, often in uninhabited places, where no one can see them and help no one.
What to do if a heroin overdose
In case of heroin overdose, first aid includes a number of the following measures.
- Call an ambulance.
- If there is a pulse and breathing, put the person on a hard surface on one side.
- Relieve the airways: remove the vomit from the mouth and prevent possible tongue laxation, which can be pressed with a spoon.
- Unbutton the collar to breathe easier.
- Try to bring the victim into feelings: rub your ears and pat your cheeks. If you have ammonia at hand, then moistened cotton wool to the nose and rub whiskey.
- When returning consciousness to the victim, one must constantly talk, distract, not let him fall asleep.
- Make the breathing slow and deep.
- If we failed to bring it to life, the pulse is absent, the thorax does not perform respiratory movements, the pupils become wide-carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation: artificial ventilation of the lungs and indirect cardiac massage.
Treatment of overdose
Access to the antidote is available only to medical personnel. The emergency ambulance arrived at the site carries out further treatment for a heroin overdose. For this, the antidote, Naloxone, is used, which blocks opiate receptors. It is administered intravenously, intramuscularly and subcutaneously at a dose of 0.4-0.8 mg. Repeated administration is permissible in the absence of effect after 2-3 minutes. As a result, breathing normalizes and blood pressure rises. But after using the antidote, withdrawal symptoms develop - breaking.
The victims are hospitalized, because they need to be watched for a while. Naloxone is effective up to 45 minutes. When administered subcutaneously or intramuscularly the drug works for a maximum of 3 hours, and heroin is excreted from the body much longer. Symptoms of overdose may appear again. Therefore the victim should be in conditions of availability of artificial ventilation of lungs and other resuscitation measures.
Consequences of heroin overdose
With the regular use of diacetylmorphine, a physical and, worst of all, mental dependence is formed, which is impossible to get rid of. This makes a person spend all his energy searching for drugs.
Heroin acts primarily on the nervous system, causing excessive stimulation of neurons. In response, endorphins are produced - hormones of joy. The person relaxes, and there is detachment from everything that is happening. The narcotic "dream" lasts from 4 to 6 hours.
Diacetylmorphine causes mental disorders:
- mood change: euphoria, ease, indifference to everything;
- hallucinations appear: the imagination paints colorful fantastic pictures;
- there is no logic;
- concentration of attention is difficult.
Heroin depresses the activity of the most important structures of the brain:
- center of thermoregulation: body temperature decreases;
- respiratory center: breathing becomes shallow;
- The vomiting center is inhibited by large doses of the drug, but in small quantities it can be stimulated, then nausea and vomiting appear;
- suppressed appetite.
But the action of the drug is not limited to the nervous system. Other organs suffer:
- decreases blood pressure when using large doses due to pronounced vasodilation;
- there is a reduction in the smooth muscles of the intestine, slows down its motor activity and develops constipation;
- there is a retention of urine as a result of contraction of the muscles of the bladder and ureters;
- increases the tone of the bronchi and bronchioles.
The consequences of heroin overdose are very heavy. With a constant excess of the permissible dose, internal organs and the nervous system suffer, especially the brain, which experiences hypoxia. Lack of appetite and disruption of the digestive system leads to exhaustion. Immunity decreases. The mentality changes. But the worst thing is death as a result of stopping the respiratory center when you inject too much heroin.
What a man from the hospital will be, it's easy to imagine. It is a deep invalid who needs constant medical and psychiatric help. Since most addicts continue to take heroin, they die at a young age, often before 35 years.
In conclusion, I want to say that drug addicts are also people. Without help they can not do. Information on what to do with an overdose of heroin is very important. Each of us can face such a situation. Human life is priceless and, perhaps, someone who has been on the verge of death will take advantage of the gift given and start everything from scratch.