Growth in Heroin Use from 1990-2004

(Growth in Heroin Use from 1990-2004) "There is no doubt that drug use and heroin use particularly have risen meteorically in Russia since 1990. Mikhailov said the total number of drug users had risen 900 percent in the decade ending in early 2004. A Max Planck Institute study of the drug trade in Russia concluded that drug-related crimes increased twelve-fold from 1990 to 1999.

Availability of Heroin-Assisted Treatment in the EU

(Availability of Heroin-Assisted Treatment in the EU) "A number of European countries have remained at the forefront of innovation with regards to OST and drug dependence therapies. For those who cannot or do not wish to stop injecting, a small number of European countries prescribe injectable OST medicines (including the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) (Cook and Kanaef, 2008). The prescription of pharmaceutical heroin (diacetylmorphine) remains limited to a few European countries (Fischer et al., 2007; EMCDDA, 2009a, Table HSR-1).

Need for User Education on Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction

(Need for User Education on Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction) "Our findings that an ambulance was called while the subject was still alive in only 10% of cases, and that a substantial minority of heroin users died alone, strongly suggest that education campaigns should also emphasise that it is safer to inject heroin in the company of others, and important to call for an ambulance early in the event of an overdose. Consideration should also be given to trialling the distribution of the opioid antagonist naloxone to users to reduce mortality from heroin use."

Overdose Prevention a Priority

(Overdose Prevention a Priority) "A first priority for prevention must be to reduce the frequency of drug overdoses. We should inform heroin users about the risks of combining heroin with alcohol and other depressant drugs. Not all users will act on such information, but if there are similar behavioral changes to those that occurred with needle-sharing overdose deaths could be substantially reduced. Heroin users should also be discouraged from injecting alone and thereby denying themselves assistance in the event of an overdose."

Heroin Toxicity or Overdose

(Heroin Toxicity or Overdose) "The main toxic effect is decreased respiratory rate and depth, which can progress to apnea. Other complications (eg, pulmonary edema, which usually develops within minutes to a few hours after opioid overdose) and death result primarily from hypoxia. Pupils are miotic. Delirium, hypotension, bradycardia, decreased body temperature, and urinary retention may also occur.
"Normeperidine, a metabolite of meperidine, accumulates with repeated use (including therapeutic); it stimulates the CNS and may cause seizure activity."