National Geographic: HEROIN
A Week in the Life of Heroin. National Geographic flexes their muscles and delve into painting a portrait of a week in the life of heroin. The documentary traces Heroin’s life span: from its birth in an Afghan lab to a police raid in North America. This documentary will take you to some dangerous corners of the world and shed light on why the face behind the drug are many farmers simply trying to eek out a living for their families.
Heroin is not a drug to be taken lightly. How does Heroin work on the brain? Heroin first enters the brain through ingestion, injection, or other method. It is rapidly converted to morphine by your body and clings to receptors. The heroin clings especially tightly to the receptors responsible for pain and pleasure. This dichotomy can give the user a feeling of euphoria mixed with a feeling of impending doom. The psychological and physical effects are often deadly.
Heroin enters the brain, where it is converted to morphine and binds to receptors known as opioid receptors. These receptors are located in many areas of the brain (and in the body), especially those involved in the perception of pain and in reward. Opioid receptors are also located in the brain stem—important for automatic processes critical for life, such as breathing (respiration), blood pressure, and arousal. Heroin overdoses frequently involve a suppression of respiration. A heroin overdose usually happens by suppressing the ability to breathe. The person chokes to death by a lack of oxygen to the brain.
National Geographic has done a solid job of showing the entire process: from the fields, to the lab, to the streets, to the buyer, and to the morgue or police station. But, this is not simply to scare people. The pleasurable effects cannot be denied. The importance of drugs to the Afghan economy cannot be denied, either.