What is heroin?
Heroin is an opiate, a class of drugs that are either naturally derived from the flowers of the poppy plant, or synthetic substitutes. In the case of heroin, it’s produced from morphine, a naturally occurring substance that comes from the seedpod of poppy plants. All opiate abuse, including heroin and many prescription painkillers, carries a strong risk of addiction and physical dependence. Heroin is abused by injecting, snorting or smoking it, and all three can cause the same level of addiction, as well as serious health problems.
What are the risks?
In a short amount of time, regular heroin use destroys the body. Common conditions that plague heroin users include infection of the heart lining and valves, liver disease, lung disease, and hepatitis and HIV/AIDS from needle use.
What are other common names for the drug?
Smack, horse, brown sugar, dope, H, junk, skag, skunk, white horse, China white, Mexican black tar
What are treatment methods for heroin use/addiction?
A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin use disorder, including both behavioral and pharmacological (medications). Both approaches help to restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior, resulting in increased employment rates and lower risk of HIV and other diseases and criminal behavior. Although behavioral and pharmacologic treatments can be extremely useful when utilized alone, research shows that for many people, integrating both types of treatments is the most effective approach.
Click here to learn what NIDA has to say about treating heroin use!