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We all know heroin is bad for us, even deadly.
But there’s another danger that most of us might not give a lot of thought to: the possibility that heroin causes cancer.
The Truth About Heroin and Cancer
Using heroin does increase your risk of developing cancer, but in an indirect way.
That was the finding of one study that examined the cancer mortality in people who had entered methadone treatment from 1985 to 2006. The study was conducted at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney, Australia.
While you won’t find evidence that heroin directly causes cancer in the same way that smoking or alcohol can, the Australian study nonetheless found a connection.
In fact, the study stated very clearly that: “Heroin-dependent people have a higher risk of death from cancer than the general population.”
Let’s take a look at why that is.
The Risks of Heroin Use
While it’s not always true, the reality is that heroin users are at a greater risk of exposure to hepatitis B and C than the rest of the population. The culprit, of course, is mostly contaminated needles used to inject the drug.
Both hepatitis B and C increase the risk of liver cancer.
But dirty needles aren’t the only risk facing heroin users. According to the study, heroin users are generally more likely to use alcohol and tobacco heavily. Both of those are, of course, risk factors for cancer, as well.
The study goes on to point out that heroin users have “reduced access to early diagnosis and treatment” than the general population. And that only makes the situation worse.
If you use heroin, but don’t share needles, smoke or drink heavily, you’ll obviously reduce your odds of getting cancer. But heroin brings many other risks to both mental and physical health, including damage to the lungs, heart, brain, intestines and kidneys.
The good news is that heroin addiction is treatable. And the goal isn’t just to get sober; it’s to be free and live the kind of authentic and peaceful life that isn’t possible while in the chains of addiction.
Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House in Denver, Colorado, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get heroin out of your system. We work with you to help you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially as well. Rehab isn’t just about giving something up; it’s about getting your life back. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the heroin addiction treatment programs at The Raleigh House.