What Is Heroin?

What is heroin

Street names:

Smack, Horse, “H,” Boy, Gun Powder, Diesel, Scramble, Junk, Black Tar, Big H, Dope

Heroin is an extremely potent type of painkiller that’s synthesized from the opium poppy plant. The poppy pods are slit, releasing a sticky, milky substance known as opium. The opium is then taken and heavily processed where it’s turned into heroin. The main active ingredient created by the processing is diacetylmorphine, which produces heroin’s sought after intoxicating effects. Basically, heroin is super-powered morphine and is about 50 times as strong.

The drug has gained mass popularity in the United States over the past twenty years and is one of the most heavily consumed illicit substances nowadays. Heroin comes in a few different forms; brown powder, white powder, and black tar to name a few. The difference in color and consistencies is the result of whatever refining process the drug went through, black tar heroin being the most impure.

Heroin can be smoked, swallowed, injected, or snorted. A heroin user might not have the stereotypical “track marks” many people associate with heroin use, but you might find burnt tin foil with black lines all over it, straws, lighters, and empty pens.

It’s important to know everything you can about heroin since so many people are using it these days and dying from it. Heroin is an extremely dangerous drug, responsible for tens of thousands of deaths over the last two decades and it shows no signs of slowing down. Highly dangerous and potent by itself, heroin is also being mixed with fentanyl, another powerful opioid, resulting in mass casualty events all over the country.

Know the Signs of Heroin Use

  • Energetic and talkative when using smaller doses
  • In higher doses, drowsiness and sleepiness
  • Person seems to fall asleep randomly and “nods off”
  • Constricted pupils
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Flu-like symptoms when withdrawing
  • Intense sugar cravings
high on heroin overdose

Signs of a Heroin Overdose

  • Shallow breathing
  • Going in and out of consciousness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Respiratory arrest

If you suspect someone is overdosing, call 911 immediately

Q & A

Q) Is heroin less dangerous if you snort it or smoke it instead of injecting it?

A) No. Heroin is heroin. There is no safe way of ingesting it. It will get you addicted and you can die from an overdose however it is ingested.

Q) Can withdrawal from heroin kill you?

A) Although it is seldom fatal, withdrawal from heroin produces cravings, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms that usually last about a week. With professional help and treatment, withdrawal from heroin is much easier with less discomfort and can be accomplished, generally within a week.

Q) Is heroin illegal?

A) Yes. Heroin is an illegal, Schedule I drug, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, no medicinal purposes, and has severe safety concerns.