5 horrifying heroin effects you didn't know about

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Heroin Might Be the Most Addicting Drug, and It's a Growing Problem

It's no secret that heroin, of the opioid drug family, is a dangerous epidemic in the United States. The number of U.S. deaths from heroin per year has spiked from roughly 3,000 in 2008 to roughly 11,000 in 2014. In the short term, heroin significantly slows your heart, mental and respiratory functions. In the long term, it can cause a detrimental imbalance in your brain.

While it's generally understood that heroin use is not chill, there are several side effects and potential hazards associated with heroin use you probably didn't know that prove it has absolutely zero chill.

READ MORE: The 6 Stats You Need to Know to Understand America's Heroin Epidemic

5 Horrifying Heroin Effects You Didn't Know About

Source: LUIS ROBAYO/Getty Images

Flesh-eating bacteria

Necrotizing soft tissue infection, known among the masses as flesh-eating bacteria, can be a result of injecting a batch of heroin contaminated with bacteria. The treatment? Most commonly, amputation.

Chronic orgasms

Libido spikes during heroin withdrawal. Speaking to Crackedabouthis experience with heroin withdrawal while serving time in prison, one man described it as "Wake up? Orgasm! Accidentally brush it (his penis) with a scratchy jailhouse blanket? What a lovely orgasm! Shake it off after you pee into an industrial toilet? Bam, orgasm!"

While that sounds heavenly, apparently it's quite the opposite. "This stopped being pleasurable pretty much instantly -- sharing living space with a guy named 'Tito the Butcher' isn't the most erotic of all possible atmospheres -- but that didn't matter," the guy wrote. "I could shoot off three in 30 seconds whether I wanted to or not, and this sensitivity stayed with me for weeks."

Severe itching

Heroin, and opiates in general, trigger histamines, the compound the body produces while having an allergic reaction that makes us super itchy. A Drugs Forum user said the itching side effect subsides with more regular heroin use, but nobody wants to get to that point.

"Itching is a really common side effect, but as soon as you start to build a habit, it generally goes altogether," Mickey_Bee posted. "When you stop itching from a good dose of opiates, you know you're teetering on the brink of a fucking huge cliff...."

Newborn addicts

Pregnant opiate users can birth babies that are already addicted. "This is not only true for a woman who has used heroin during pregnancy, but it could also apply to any opiate drug, such as a mother who has been taking methadone (a synthetic opiate used to withdraw from heroin) or prescription opiates," prenatal drug exposure expert and psychiatry/pediatrics professor at Brown University Alpert Medical School Barry Lester told LiveScience.

Effects of the syndrome, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, include uncontrolled crying, gradual weight gain, fever and vomiting. Babies who experience this syndrome are treated with a dose of opiates that is gradually reduced to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Rotting teeth

One of the main side effects of opiates is drymouth, which essentially sucks up all the saliva in your mouth. Saliva is a cleaning agent that rids the teeth of common bacteria, so lack of saliva causes your teeth to rot and eventually fall out.

"Ya, any opiate or drug that causes drymouth will destroy your teeth if your not extremely diligent about brushing and flossing etc." one user contributed to a thread on MedHelp.Org. "I've lost a few teeth from using oxys and morphine over the last 8 yrs and I was seeing a dentist regularly."

RELATED: Heroin proves a formidable foe in suburban Ohio county

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NTP: Heroin proves a formidable foe in suburban Ohio county
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5 horrifying heroin effects you didn't know about
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, used heroin syringes are stored in a water bottle as Steve Monnin cleans a wooded area in Combs Park, in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. The CDC says heroin-related deaths nationally nearly quadrupled in a decade; and in Ohio's Butler County, they have nearly quadrupled in just the past three years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, photo, Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake, mother of Alison Shuemake who died of a suspected heroin overdose, cries as she clutches her daughter's toy stuffed rabbit during an interview at her home, in Middletown, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. The CDC says heroin-related deaths nationally nearly quadrupled in a decade; and in Ohio's Butler County, they have nearly quadrupled in just the past three years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, used heroin syringes and cooking spoons are found hidden at the base of trees as Steve Monnin cleans a wooded area of Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called a heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, Steve Monnin searches through the thick brush of a wooded area frequented by heroin users as he cleans Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, photo, Melissa Smith-Procter is interviewed in the kitchen area of her workplace at Sojourner Recovery Services in Hamilton, Ohio. Smith-Procter said sheâs had two ex-boyfriends, several other friends and two women she was in treatment with die from heroin. She recently celebrated 20 months of sobriety after more than two decades of abusing drugs and alcohol. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, photo, Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake and Fred Shuemake, parents of Alison Shuemake who died of a suspected heroin overdose, browse a picture collage of their daughter at their home, in Middletown, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, photo, Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake, mother of Alison Shuemake who died of a suspected heroin overdose, looks at pictures of her daughter during an interview at her home, in Middletown, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, photo, Melissa Smith-Procter wipes tears from her eyes as she speaks about the trust her employers show her as she was interviewed in the kitchen area of her workplace at Sojourner Recovery Services in Hamilton, Ohio. Smith-Procter said sheâs had two ex-boyfriends, several other friends and two women she was in treatment with die from heroin. She recently celebrated 20 months of sobriety after more than two decades of abusing drugs and alcohol. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, photo, Butler County Coroner Dr. Lisa Mannix is interviewed at her office in West Chester Township, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. Mannix recently investigated three overdose deaths within a few hours. She says getting results is âa big, big ship to turn around.â (AP Photo/Dan Sewell)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, photo, Melissa Smith-Procter is interviewed in the kitchen area of her workplace at Sojourner Recovery Services in Hamilton, Ohio. Smith-Procter said sheâs had two ex-boyfriends, several other friends and two women she was in treatment with die from heroin. She recently celebrated 20 months of sobriety after more than two decades of abusing drugs and alcohol. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, Steve Monnin, 57, places a heroin syringe in a water bottle as he cleans Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. The CDC says heroin-related deaths nationally nearly quadrupled in a decade; and in Butler County, they have nearly quadrupled in just the past three years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, a loaded heroin syringe is found in the underbrush of a wooded area in Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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