Heroin addiction carries a plague of
health woes, as well as overdose risk
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and multiple state agencies – including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) – have been fighting the scourge of heroin addiction and overdose.
In recent years, heroin use has caused numerous fatal overdoses in Maryland, and the stories of addiction have encompassed residents’ tragic ordeals across the state and along the East Coast, as recent years have seen the addition of narcotic fentanyl to increase the potency and danger of the drug.
For heroin users who make the courageous decision to seek treatment, a resulting lowered tolerance for the drug can also carry risks for overdose. And last year, DHMH data indicated that patients hospitalized for a nonfatal overdose stood a significantly higher risk for having a fatal overdose later.
But the physical toll of heroin addiction isn’t limited to the risk of overdose. Sadly, users of heroin also run the risk of developing several other heroin-related complications:
Heroin abuse is associated with a number of serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV. … Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, constipation and gastrointestinal cramping, and liver or kidney disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health of the user as well as from heroin’s effects on breathing.
If you need help finding substance abuse treatment resources in Maryland, please visit our page. For information on overdose-reversing drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, visit our page here.