Sunday, March 29, 2009


Heroin is a natural opiate made from morphine (opiates dull pain). Morphine is extracted from the opium poppy. Like many drugs made from opium, including synthetic opioids (e.g. methadone) heroin is a very strong painkiller. ‘Street’ heroin sold as 'brown' is sometimes used by clubbers as a chill out after a big night out. Brown is still heroin but some people mistakenly think it's not as addictive.

Street names for drugs can vary around the country. Brown, skag, H, horse, gear, smack.

The effects
Heroin slows down body functioning and substantially reduces physical and psychological pain.
Most users get a rush or buzz a few minutes after taking it.
A small dose of heroin gives the user a feeling of warmth and well-being.
Bigger doses can make the user sleepy and very relaxed.
The first dose of heroin can bring about dizziness and vomiting.

Chances of getting hooked
Heroin is highly addictive. Over time, effects of heroin on the brain cause 'craving' and a strong psychological desire to keep on using. Also tolerance builds and the desired effects reduce so much that users have to take more just to get the same effects and even more just to feel 'normal' or to avoid a very unpleasant withdrawal state.
Drugs have been developed to help treat heroin addiction. These include opiate substitutes for heroin such as methadone and subutex (buprenorphine) and also drugs like naltrexone that block the effects of heroin so you can't get a high once you have become drug-free

Appearance and use
Heroin comes as a white powder when it's pure (diamorphine), such as that used by doctors. Owing to the range of substances it's cut with, street heroin can be anything from brownish white to brown. It is either smoked or dissolved in water and injected or, if high purity, it is snorted.

A user has no way of knowing what their heroin is mixed with. Recent tests have shown it can contain nutmeg, brick dust, and ground-up gravel but it’s more commonly mixed with sugar, starch, powdered milk, or quinine.

The risks
*Deaths from overdoses occur. But the risk increases after a period off the drug because the body's tolerance for the drug goes down.
*Overdoses can lead to coma and even death from respiratory failure (i.e. when breathing stops).
*If heroin is taken with other drugs, including alcohol, overdose is more likely. Other downers such as benzodiazepine tranquillisers are also associated with heroin overdose deaths.
*There's also a risk of death due to inhaling vomit as heroin stops the body's cough reflex working properly.
*Injecting heroin can do nasty damage to your veins and has been known to lead to gangrene (death and decay of body tissue, usually a digit or a limb) and tissue infections.
*The risks of sharing needles and other works to inject are well-known, putting you in danger of infections like hepatitis B or C and HIV/AIDS.

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