Heroin — The short-term effects of heroin abuse can appear as soon as after a single dose and can disappear in as little as a few hours. After an injection of heroin, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria (“rush”) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Following this initial euphoria, the user goes “on the nod”, an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system. Furthermore effects include slowed and slurred speech, slow gait, constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired night vision, vomiting, and constipation.
Morphine / Codeine — can also produce drowsiness, cause constipation, and, depending upon the amount taken, depress breathing. Taking a large single dose could cause severe respiratory depression, coma, or death.
Oxycodone / Hydrocodone / Hydromorphone — Relief from pain. In some people, prescription pain relievers also cause euphoria or feelings of well being by affecting the brain regions that mediate pleasure. This is why they are abused. Other effects include drowsiness, constipation, and slowed breathing. Taking a large single dose of prescription pain relievers can cause severe respiratory depression that can lead to death. Use of prescription pain relievers with other substances that depress the central nervous system, such as alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or general anesthetics, increases the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression.
Heroin — Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulites, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration. Withdrawal, which in regular abusers may occur as early as a few hours after the last administration, leads to drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”), kicking movements (“kicking the habit”), and other symptoms.
Morphine / Codeine — Long-term use of morphine also can lead to physical dependence. This can also include tolerance and addiction.
Oxycodone / Hydrocodone / Hydromorphone — Taken exactly as prescribed, pain relievers can manage pain effectively. But chronic use or abuse of opioids can result in physical dependence and addiction. Dependence means that the body adapts to the presence of the drug, and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced or stopped. Symptoms of withdrawal include: restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”). Tolerance to the drugs’ effects also occurs with long-term use, so users must take higher doses to achieve the same or similar effects as experienced initially. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use.