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A Primer on Heroin: Part 1  

Author:  Julie  Salmon, M.D..

Source: Volume 01, Number 06, September/October 2000 , pp.81-83(3)

Correctional Health Care Report

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Approximately two million men and women are incarcerated in the United States, and a substantial proportion of them are serving time for drug-related crimes. Given this staggering reality, and the fact that often times inmates and detainees have used drugs shortly prior to arrest, and are in some stage of withdrawal at the time of incarceration, a review of the common illicit drug heroin seems apropos. Intravenous heroin will be the main focus of this article, although intranasal use (“snorting” or “sniffing”), subcutaneous administration (“skin-popping”), and smoking of heroin are other common ways that the drug is used. In addition to discussing medical aspects of the drug, I will include ome “street” information on it, which I gleaned by interviewing about 25 of my inmate patients who have had extensive experience using heroin. The inmates I spoke with were surprisingly enthusiastic and forthcoming in sharing stories of their varied drug experiences.

Keywords: adulterants, preparation, IV Use, immunodeficiency virus, infection, trauma, Pneumothorax, cotton

Affiliations:  1: Suffolk County House of Corrections.

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