Heroin Drug is an illegal and highly addictive opioid drug that’s derived from morphine, a substance that’s naturally found in certain varieties of the poppy plant. Poppies grow best in warm, dry climates like South America, Mexico, and southern Asia. Typically, heroin is sold as a white or brown powder or as a sticky black tar and it’s often mixed, or “cut,” with other substances such as flour, sugar, powdered milk, painkillers, starch, or quinine to give dealers more product to sell and thus more profit.1 Fentanyl has been increasingly added to heroin, increasing the potency and therefore the risk of overdose.
After years of declining use in the United States, heroin started making a comeback in 2007. The high demand is fueled by the increased availability of the drug and because people who have developed a dependence on prescription opioids often turn to heroin. This has also resulted in more deaths from heroin overdose; in 2014, the number of overdose deaths more than tripled compared to the number in 2010, and the number of heroin overdose deaths from 2002 to 2016 has increased by 533%.3
According to research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), since 2002, the number of heroin users has jumped from 404,000 to 948,000 in 2016, an increase of 135%. However, the number of heroin users only increased a relatively small amount from 2015 to 2016, showing stabilization in terms of new users.3
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials believe the increase in heroin overdose deaths arises from these factors: Today’s heroin is cheaper and often purer, leading to an accidental overdose.
An increased number of young, inexperienced people are trying heroin.
Toxic substances, such as fentanyl, a narcotic pain medication that’s even stronger than heroin, are being used to cut heroin in certain markets.
Former heroin users who use again don’t have the tolerance they once did.
Although some narcotics like codeine and morphine are legal if prescribed for pain relief, heroin is an illegal narcotic because it has dangerous side effects and is very addictive.
horse, smack, big H, black tar, caballo (Spanish), 8-ball (heroin mixed with crack cocaine), junk, TNT
How It’s Used:
Heroin is usually injected or smoked. Purer forms of heroin are inhaled.
What It Does:
Heroin provides a burst or rush of good feelings, and users feel “high” and relaxed. This may be followed by drowsiness and nausea.
Many people who are addicted to heroin inject the drug into a vein with needles, and may inject the drug several times a day. Over time, the needle marks, or tracks, can become permanent scars.
Often, heroin addicts will share needles, which can lead to infection with dangerous germs like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Heroin Drug is a very addictive drug and many people find it extremely difficult to stop using it — even after using it for just the first or second time. Heroin users constantly crave their next dose.
If heroin addicts suddenly try to stop using the drug or are unable to get another dose, they often develop withdrawal symptoms, like feelings of panic, sleeplessness, bad chills and sweats, muscle pain, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Taking an overdose of heroin can cause a person to stop breathing and die. This is especially true if the heroin is mixed with a synthetic opioid like fentanyl. Many dealers now lace heroin with fentanyl, a painkiller that is much stronger than heroin and can cause an overdose more quickly.