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Heroin Basics

February 6, 2010



Heroin is a powerful opiate. Individuals that take it report strong feelings of euphoria. Heroin is very addicting, it can be quite dangerous and is associated with the transmission of high levels of infectious disease due to individuals sharing contaminated needles.  Heroin is a euphoric depressant and is known on the streets by the names smack and junk. The appearance of heroin will differ based on what type it is. It may be white, brown or black.  It can be smoked, snorted and injected.  Some users of heroin will experience a rush, followed by feelings of euphoria and then nod off.


The amount of heroin that it takes to get a person high will vary based on a number of factors. Their experience with the drug, their sex (male or female), weight and metabolism will all have an effect on how the drug will respond in their body. Also, whether or not a person snorts or injects it will also make a difference.


Heroin is extremely dangerous and highly addicting. Studies have shown that heroin use is the most risky as it relates to death, due to overdose. More people die from heroin overdose then from any other drug. Most individuals die from respiratory depression. They stop breathing and then die.


As stated above, heroin is extremely addicting. Individuals can become hooked very quickly, both physically and psychologically. They may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms after using the drug for only a short amount of time.


Shortly after taking heroin, the user will feel a rush. Their skin may become warm and their mouth may begin to feel dry. The user’s legs and arms will then begin to feel heavy. The person may then feel nauseous, begin to itch and even throw up. Individuals will start to nod off, going in and out of consciousness.  Their heart rate and breathing slows down. If a person has taken too much heroin, they are at risk of pulmonary depression. 


The drug’s possible, long term effects include the development of an infection of the heart and heart values, kidney and liver damage and pulmonary problems. Individuals that are long term users of heroin and use needles will have an increased risk of contracting HIV and Hepatitis C, both devastating diseases.






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