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Heroin is a very addictive chemical called diacetylmorphine. Heroin is a modified form of morphine, a highly abundant opium derived from the seedpods of the poppy plant.
Heroin is most commonly sold as a white or off-white powder. The color changes from pure white as the level of impurity in the chemical rises. In some areas, heroin is also available as a sticky dark brown or black substance.
Heroin can be taken via several different administration routes and can be injected, snorted or smoked.
Data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse estimates that nearly 3 million U.S. residents aged 12 and older have used heroin at least once in their lifetime. Initially, school aged children and young adults commonly smoke or snort the drug, under the impression that this is less addictive. In most cases, these individuals move onto using the injectable form of heroin at a later stage.
Heroin is one of the most potent and potentially addictive opioids. Some of the short-term effects of heroin use include:
Some of the long-term effects include:
The risks associated with heroin use include over dose, coma, convulsions, transmission of HIV or hepatitis, death and criminal activity.
Some of the common street names of heroin include H, Big H, Capital H, Good H, China white, White junk, Chiva, Boy, Diesel, Dope, Junk, Hell dust, Horse, Mexican horse, Poppy, Smack, Eighth, Mud, Thunder and Train.