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FAQ' s on Heroin Addiction

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an addictive, illegal drug made from the opium poppy, Papaver Somniferum.

Heroin is processed from morphine. Morphine is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder.

Heroin is smoked or inhaled as a powder or it can be mixed with water, heated, then injected. Heroin crosses through the blood brain barrier 100 times faster than morphine because it is highly soluble in lipids.

Heroin is also called smack, horse, crank, jive, shag, dope, H, skag, junk and Mexican black tar.

Complications of Heroin Addiction

Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and, particularly in users who inject the drug, infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Short Term Effects of Heroin Use

The short term effects of heroin usually appear immediately after a single dose, and disappear within a few minutes or hours.

Heroin usually makes the user feel a surge of euphoria, followed by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth and heavy extremities. After the initial euphoria, the user goes "on the nod," an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system.

Long Term Effects of Heroin Use

The user may develop a tolerance to Heroin's high and may need to use more Heroin to experience the same level of pleasure. Chronic heroin users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulitis, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration.

Heroin Addiction and Pregnancy

A woman should not take heroin while pregnant. Babies born to a heroin addicts often have breathing problems, are born prematurely, have low birth weights and are addicted to heroin.

Can Heroin Addiction be Treated?

Yes. There are a broad range of treatment options for heroin addiction. Treatments include medications as well as behavioral therapies.

Heroin Hotlines and Support Groups


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