What is Heroin?

Though appraised as an illegal drug, heroin's highly addictive nature continues to give it a worldwide market. Known for the intense rush felt shortly after intake, heroin presents a threat to the human body on a number of levels.

Commonly known as dope, big H, Dr. Feelgood, smack, thunder, mud, skag, and brown sugar, this semi-synthetic drug, derived from morphine and extracted from poppy plants, has a distinctive ability to control its abuser.[ref]http://www.nida.nih.gov/DrugPages/DrugsofAbuse.html[/ref]

Poppy Plants

Often mixed with talcum powder, starch, sugar, and powdered milk, the adulterated form of heroin, often called brown sugar, can be even more dangerous. Mixing heroin makes it hard to determine the actual dose. Overdoses often transpire this way, and the results can be fatal.

Heroin is administered into the body by sniffing, smoking, or intravenous injection. The "rush" following these actions is often accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, small pupils, watery eyes, runny nose, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the arms and legs. The narcotic effect can last up to eight hours.[ref]http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/heroin-topic-overview[/ref]

Heroin Threats:

Satisfaction is impossible to come by for the repetitive heroin abuser. The constant "need" for higher and higher doses, as the body attempts adapt to the drug, is a natural response to overuse.

The only way the drug can maintain its impact, is for the addict to feed the obsession and take heroin in advanced quantities.[ref]http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/advice/factfile_az/heroin[/ref] This common rejoinder to heroin use is called tolerance.

Heroin also tends to elicit a certain dependency. Abusers' psychological and physical functionality is limited considerably if they are unable to have the drug. This dependency originates after as few as two weeks of daily use. Withdrawal symptoms tend to arise within a few hours of a person not using it.[ref]http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/heroin-topic-overview[/ref]

Heroin Use in India:

India was recently dubbed by the United Nations the highest user of heroin in southern Asia. According to a UN report, “One million heroin addicts are registered in India, and unofficially there are as many as five million”.[ref]http://www.pravara.com/pmr/pmr-4-4-2.pdf[/ref] This is largely because India produces its own opium poppy – the raw material for heroin.

According to another report, “India consumed 17 metric tonnes (mt) of heroine in 2008 and current opium consumption is estimated at some 65-70 mt per year.” [ref]http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-06-24/india/28320347_1_opium-heroin-cultivation[/ref]

Visual signs:


  • Runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fever, chills
  • Mental confusion
  • Staggered gait
  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Calmness (when high) and restlessness (when not high)

Health Risks/ Acute Effects:


  • Coma
  • Death
  • HIV and other diseases resulting from infected needles
  • Collapsed veins
  • Infections

Helpful Heroin Articles:

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