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Heroin addiction re-enters the news

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Heroin has been a serious problem on Long Island over the last few years, and now the highly-addictive drug is back in the news again, with the recent death of acclaimed actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who most recently starred in the "The Hunger Games" movie franchise.

Hoffman was found in his New York City apartment, with heroin near his body. He had struggled with drug addiction in the past, and had apparently relapsed. Several suspected drug dealers have since been arrested, in connection with his death. The death of this beloved actor has once again brought the subject of heroin back into the New York media.

Over the past few years, deaths from heroin have become far more common. While many people have the vision in their mind of drug deals taking places on the street corners of inner cities, the truth is heroin is commonly used, even in areas of suburban Long Island.

So, what exactly makes heroin so appealing to users?

For one, heroin is an extremely cheap drug, especially when compared to drugs such as Vicodin, which often makes it appealing to younger adults. It is usually injected into the arm with a needle. One can also quickly develop a tolerance for heroin, but perhaps its main appeal for users is it usually produces instant feelings of euphoria. Some even believe that it produces more "euphoric" feelings than any other drug.

Of course, the drug comes with huge downsides for users. Aside from the most obvious (serious addiction), heroin users are also at-risk for contracting serious illnesses, such as HIV and hepatitis if needles are shared, as well skin abscesses, and poor kidney function later in life.

Jails today are filled with people who have been charged with possession of heroin, although perhaps rehabilitation services would be more beneficial to those addicted to this serious drug.

While often considered a "forgotten" drug, heroin continues to be an issue in our society, even on Long Island. It is important that knowledge be shared about this drug, in order to prevent further tragedies in the future.

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