How Does a Heroin Overdose Kill?
Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the world, and thousands will die every year from a heroin overdose. Used for centuries for anything from a cough to pain relief, the potential for addiction and death was not fully realized until 1900. Heroin was made illegal in 1920, leaving millions of addicts desperate for opiate drugs.
Categorically, heroin is a central nervous system depressant, synthesized from the psychoactive chemicals in the opium poppy. Both opium and heroin can result in life-threatening central nervous system depression.
The Effects of Heroin: Addiction and Withdrawals
Snorted, smoked or injected, heroin reaches the brain through the bloodstream quickly. Once there, it binds to the opioid receptors, resulting in the relief of anxiety and pain. In effect, it gives the user a calm, euphoric sensation of escape from reality that can last for several hours.
Addiction occurs upon repeated use of the drug. The user’s brain has been, in essence, “hijacked” by heroin. It becomes dependent on the drug to feel good. In addition, it needs more and more of the drug to achieve the same results (tolerance).
When the user “comes down”, or stops using the drug, withdrawal symptoms occur. They are typically the opposite of what it feels like be high. Withdrawals are also a big incentive for people to keep using. Commonly, this is known as being “dope sick”.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Depression and Anxiety
- Body aches and increased pain sensitivity
- Runny nose, tears
- Diarrhea, stomach pain, and spasms
- Nausea and vomiting
Symptoms can begin without hours of the last dose and can last several days. While not fatal, symptoms are extremely unpleasant and can result in severe depression and suicidal feelings.
Fentanyl is an opioid pain medication with a rapid onset and short duration of action. It is a potent agonist of μ-opioid receptors. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, but some fentanyl analogs, which are designed to mimic the pharmacological effects of the original drug, may be as much as 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, Police, and Forensic students. This hybrid course looks at death investigation from a combined perspective of law enforcement and medicolegal death investigations.
MLDI online Academy is a Nationally Accredited online training designed to teach all aspects of death investigation and scene management. Unlike any other coroner training today, this course offers a blended learning style combining online self-paced video training, along with opportunities of live interaction with instructors several times throughout the program, and a unique private Facebook group open only to students of Coroner School™ where everyone can interact and ask questions.
MLDI online Academy is a six-week guided course with certified instructors. However, at the end of the six weeks, you still have access to all videos, downloadable material, and the private facebook group. You can return to the online school anytime to finish up the courses or as a refresher in certain topic areas.
The Death Investigation Training Academy was founded to play an integral role in the death investigation community. The need for quality accredited training is in short supply and high demand. Using a combination of class room training, live on site scenario exercises, and web based training, the Death Investigation Training Academy is filling the need of 21st-century investigators.