What is Heroin?

Heroin comes from the opiod family of drugs, which also includes opium, morphine and codeine. All of these are depressants; after use, brain and nervous activity slows down. Heroin causes an intense feeling of euphoria immediately after use. The feeling doesn’t last long, however, and people quickly become tolerant to low doses, which makes them seek ever bigger highs with ever increasing dosages.

It goes by a lot of different street names, such as smack, china white, unga, beet, gear, and Thai white.

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Heroin comes in a many guises that range from a fine white powder to brown rocks. It’s usually sold in little packets of foil or balloons.


How is it used?

Heroin can be used in a variety of ways; it can be smoked, injected, snorted, and packed into ordinary cigarettes or cannabis joints.



Heroin has pleasant and unpleasant side-effects, the intensity of which varies from person to person. They also depend on the size of the dose and on how long the drug has been used.

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Pleasant side-effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Warmth
  • Comfort
  • Contentment
  • Complete lack of pain


Unpleasant side-effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slow heart rate
  • Respiratory failure
  • Death


Long-term side-effects

  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Mood swings
  • Collapsed veins (from injecting the drug)
  • Brain damage
  • Organ failure


Heroin addiction

As far as addictive drugs go, heroin is at the top of the list. It only takes one experience of intense euphoria for people to become addicted. The more they take it, the less intense the experience becomes. So, they have to take more of it more often to experience the same high.

The result is physical and psychological addiction, which doubles the difficulty of withdrawal and recovery.



When people try to give up heroin, they have to deal with psychological cravings, as well as physical withdrawal, as their bodies have become dependent on the chemical properties of the drug.

In very serious cases of addiction, physical withdrawal symptoms may appear in as little as six hours. They get gradually worse until they peak, which is usually between 24 and 72 hours. They eventually begin to subside after five to seven days.

Some of the symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased excretion of bodily fluids, such as sweat, tears and snot.
  • Vomiting
  • Fever and cold sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Severe cramps
  • Muscle spasms


Given all these problems when it comes to recovering from heroin addiction, it becomes obvious that addicts need professional help and support to successfully kick the habit.

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