A Guide to Heroin

By Bryan Le 02/05/13
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What is heroin?

Heroin is the most abused and rapidly-acting of the opiates, or drugs processed from the morphine that comes from the seed pods of poppy plants. It's highly addictive and can vary in appearance depending on how it was processed. It can look like a white powder, brown rocks or a thick, sticky black substance known as “black tar heroin.” To save money, heroin producers may “cut” or dilute their heroin with any available powdery substance such as sugar, powdered milk or starch.  Many addicts graduate to heroin after getting hooked on prescription opiate painkillers.

How is heroin used?

It can be injected, smoked or snorted, but injection is by far the most popular method. Injected heroin brings on a rush of euphoria that comes in 7 to 8 seconds or 5 to 8 minutes (dependent upon whether the injection was intravenous or intramuscular) before giving way to a sedative state that lasts hours. Snorting and smoking heroin leads to a slower, less intense high in 10 to 15 minutes because it is not directly applied to the bloodstream. Those dabbling or experimenting with heroin for the first time may choose to eat or smoke heroin.

What are the effects of heroin?

The effects of heroin—and its dangers—can be divided into its immediate and long-term effects. It creates a rush that lasts a few minutes and then turns into a sedated state that may last for hours. READ>>

How do I know if someone is addicted to heroin?

If you suspect a loved one is using heroin or is becoming addicted, there are a few signs you can look for... And how you can help. READ>>

How do I quit heroin?

The first step to quitting anything is to focus on a reason to quit—to stop hurting your family and friends, to stop becoming who you are becoming—and stick to it. Here are some things you can do to start right now. READ>>



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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter