Heroin is a type of opioid drug that is partly manmade and partly natural. It is made from morphine, a psychoactive (mind-altering) substance that occurs naturally in the resin of the opium poppy plant. Heroin’s color and look depend on how it is made and what else it may be mixed with. It can be white or brown powder or a black, sticky substance called “black tar heroin.”
Heroin is becoming an increasing concern in areas where lots of people abuse prescription opioid painkillers, like OxyContin and Vicodin. They may turn to heroin since it produces a similar high but is cheaper and easier to obtain. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin.
Heroin is mixed with water and injected with a needle. It can also be smoked or snorted.
Heroin is a fast-acting opiate. When it’s injected, there is a surge of euphoria that arrives within seconds. Those using the drug other ways may not feel this surge as sharply.
The user will get a dry mouth and his or her skin will flush. The user’s pupils will be constricted. He will feel heavy and dopey and may fade in and out of wakefulness. Heroin users may nod off suddenly. Breathing will be slowed, which is how an overdose kills.
When awake, the person’s thinking will be unclear. They will tend to lose some of their memory. Their decision-making and self-control are likely to deteriorate.
Other signs of heroin use are itching, nausea and vomiting. Another sign of heroin use is the constipation often suffered by opiate abusers. The regular user of this drug may look for laxatives. They may experience skin infections, or other kinds of infections, and a lowered immunity to illness. (Narconon)