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What is it?

Opioids encompass the drugs Heroin, Morphine, Codeine, Methadone, Buprenorphine, Pethidine, Dilaudid, Kapanol, MS Contin. Heroin is arguably the most abused opioid, though there has been a steady increase on dependency and abuse of prescription opioids such as morphine.

Heroin is actually derived from Morphine, which is from the Opium poppy used by Egyptians for thousands of years.

What does it look like?

Heroin can be

  • Powder that varies in color from white to brown
  • Off-white granules
  • Brown pieces of crystalline ‘rock’ form

It is usually packaged in

  • Foil
  • Small balloons

Street Names

H, Hammer, Skag, Gear, Smack, Horse, Elephant, Rock, Slow, Black tar, Poison, Homebake, China white, White, Chinese H, Harry Cone, Junk, White dynamite, Dragon

How They Are Taken

  • Heroin can be
  • Injected
  • Snorted
  • Smoked by heating it (often over tin foil, with a lighter underneath) then inhaling the fumes using a straw or rolled paper. This is referred to as “chasing the dragon” or “tooting”
  • Added to cigarettes or cannabis and smoked

How They Work

Being a depressant, Opioids affect the nervous system by slowing down the messages between the brain and the body

Why Is It Taken? (Desired Side Effects)

  • Feelings of well being
  • Intense pleasure rush
  • Euphoria
  • Pain reduction
  • Warmth
  • Sleep\Lethargy

Unwanted Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shallow and slowed breathing
  • Slowed pulse rate
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Dry mouth
  • Slurred and slow speech
  • Reduced coordination
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced libido
  • Coma (from overdose)
  • Respiratory failure (from overdose)
  • Death (from overdose)
  • Tetanus (from sharing needles)
  • Hepatitis B and C (from sharing needles)
  • HIV (from sharing needles)

Long Term Side Effects

  • Collapsed veins
  • Blisters and sores
  • Mood swings
  • Tetanus (from sharing needles)
  • Hepatitis B and C (from sharing needles)
  • HIV (from sharing needles)
  • Depression
  • Heart, chest and bronchial problems
  • Anxiety
  • Reduced appetite
  • Pneumonia
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Infertility in woman
  • Impotence in men
  • Chronic Constipation

Overdose And Death

Overdose, coma, respiratory and death can occur particularly if Heroin is used with other depressants to intensify the effects. A user can easily underestimate the purity or strength of Heroin, increasing the chances of overdose.

Addiction And Dependency

Heroin is highly addictive both psychologically and physically. Building a tolerance to the drug is easy which then requires higher doses of the drug to achieve the same high. Overdose is common as a result of this.