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What is Heroin and How Does it Affect You?

All About Heroin

Since we were children we were taught that Heroin is highly addictive and could ultimately kill us. But what exactly is Heroin and what makes it so addictive?

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive and illegal substance that temporarily alters brain chemistry. Despite the occasional fictitious article circling around the internet, heroin is still illegal in every state, including New York. The drug was first manufactured by Bayer pharmaceutical company of Germany in 1898 and marketed both as a treatment for tuberculosis and morphine addiction.

Like oxycodone (the active ingredient in the named brand medication Percoset), Fentanyl and many others, Heroin is an opiate which stems from the term “opium”. As a result, people tend to think that Heroin is made directly from the opium poppy however, it is actually made from Morphine. Morphine itself is derived directly from the poppy seed.

Heroin can be snorted, smoked or injected. In its purest form, heroin is a fine white powder. However, most heroin dealers save money by diluting heroin by adding inexpensive additives such as caffeine, sugar and other substances. This results in a color change from white to gray, brown or even black. Street heroin is often mixed or “cut” with strychnine (a popular ingredient found in rat poison which can cause violent convulsions and ultimately, death) or other toxic chemicals making heroin even more deadly than it already is. The various additives do not fully dissolve and can clog blood vessels when injected, carrying poisons to the kidneys, lungs and the brain.

Heroin consumers can never be sure of the actual strength of the drug in each bag and thus, is always at an increased risk of overdosing.

Why Do People Use Heroin?

Heroin is used by millions of addicts around the world and when used, it provides a euphoric feeling that puts the mind at rest and acts as a temporary means of escape from real world problems. Unfortunately, pleasurable feelings of elation become harder to re-create and addicts require more and more of the heroin drug in order to produce the same feelings.


Men and women who’ve used heroin a long time eventually stop chasing the “high” and only use it to prevent themselves from becoming terribly sick that withdrawal from the drug creates when stopping use.

Withdrawal symptoms are so gruesome and horrible that heroin addicts would do virtually anything to get their “fix” for the day to avoid experiencing them. This includes lying, cheating, stealing and even resorting to violence if/when necessary. But while withdrawal is extremely painful, continued use of the drug leads to a broken down immune system, a thin and bony structure and inevitably, death.

Street Names

Street names include the following: Big H, Brown Sugar, Dope, H, Hell Dust, Horse, Junk, Nose Drops, Skag, Smack and Thunder


Continuing the use of heroin only leads two places, incarceration and death. But there is a third and better option, “Recovery”. To learn more about getting help for addiction, visit our heroin treatment section. To garner support and meet real recovering heroin addicts who can help you, visit our heroin addiction and treatment discussion forum.

Visit our list of prescreened addiction treatment centers and drug rehabs to see who we recommend. Click here to contact us and for addiction help.

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