The Drug That Kills

The Facts

  1. Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is processed from morphine, which is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant.
  2. Heroin can be injected, snorted/sniffed, or smoked. It is highly addictive and enters the brain very quickly. Contrary to popular opinion, all three methods can lead to addiction and other severe health problems.
  3. There is no cookie cutter heroin user. In fact, many of heroin’s newest addicts are in their teens or early 20's; many also come from middle- or upper-middle-class suburban families.
  4. Tolerance to heroin develops with regular use, so after a short time more heroin is needed to produce the same level of intensity. This results in addiction.
  5. Health risks to using heroin include:
  • Fatal overdose
  • High risk of infections such as HIV/AIDS
  • Collapsed veins
  • Infection of the heart lining and valves
  • Liver disease
6. When an addict stops using, he experiences physical withdrawal which can begin within just a few hours since the last use. Symptoms include:
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes with goose bumps
  • Muscle and bone pain
7. Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose and can last up to a week. Some people experience withdrawal symptoms for as long as a few months after stopping the drug.
  • Sudden withdrawal by heavily dependent users who are in poor health can be fatal.
8. Heroin was first manufactured in 1898 by the Bayer pharmaceutical company of Germany and marketed as a treatment for tuberculosis as well as a remedy for morphine addiction.

9. Heroin craving can persist years after drug use stops, and can be triggered by exposure to stress or people, places, and things associated with drug use.

10. In heroin’s purest form it is a fine, white powder. More often than not, it is found to be rose gray, brown or black.

  • Toxic ingredients are usually mixed with heroin so the true purity of the drug and its strength is usually hard to really know.
11. Approximately 13.5 million people in the world take opioids (opium-like substances), including 9.2 million who use heroin.

Other Names of Heroin

  • Smack
  • Horse
  • Brown Sugar
  • Dope
  • H
  • Junk
  • Skag
  • Skunk
  • White Horse
  • China White
  • Mexican Black Tar

The Risks

Heroin enters the brain very quickly. This effect makes it very addictive. And each time you use heroin, the more you need to get high. One of the greatest risks with this drug is how extremely easy it is to become dependent. It's estimated that almost one-fourth of the people who try heroin become addicted. It's nearly impossible to know the actual strength or purity of heroin because it's often combined with toxic ingredients. This is one of the reasons why using heroin always carries the risk of infection, overdose and death. Also, heroin often has additives that will not dissolve in the bloodstream. This can easily cause a blood clot to form and travel to the lungs, liver, heart or brain, which is instantly fatal.

The Effects

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, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, from needle use.

Heroin Usage

Heroin can be used in a variety of ways, depending on user preference and the purity of the drug. Heroin can be injected into a vein (“mainlining”), injected into a muscle, smoked in a water pipe or standard pipe, mixed in a marijuana joint or regular cigarette, inhaled as smoke through a straw, known as “chasing the dragon,” snorted as powder via the nose.

History of Heroin

In 1898, a German chemical company launched a new medicine called 'Heroin'. A hundred years later, this drug is flooding illegally into Britain in record amounts. The latest Home Office figures show a 40 percent increase in police seizures of Heroin. The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) believes that up to 80 percent of the Heroin currently entering Britain is controlled by Turkish organised criminals based in London and the South-East.In 1863, a dynamic German merchant called Friedrich Bayer, from 1825 to 1876, set up a factory in Elberfeld to exploit new chemical procedures for making colorful dyes from coal-tar. German coal-tar dye manufacture expanded rapidly, surpassing English or French production six-fold by the mid-1970's. In the mid-1880's, however, price conventions and raw material availability deteriorated in the German dye industry, so the Bayer company invested in scientific research to diversify its product range. In 1888, a new substance synthesized by Bayer chemists became the company’s first commercial medicine.