What is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Buying Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin.
It is a semisynthetic product obtained by acetylation of morphine, which occurs as a natural product in opium: the dried latex of certain poppy species. Diamorphine is a narcotic pain relief used in the treatment of severe pain. Illicit heroin may be smoked or solubilized with a weak acid and injected. Whereas opium has been smoked since historical times, diamorphine was first synthesized in the late nineteenth century. Heroin is under international control.
It is a narcotic pain relief that is used in the treatment of severe pain.
How can we use Heroin?
It is most often injected intravenously (IV), however, it may also be:
- vaporized (“smoked”)
- sniffed (“snorted”)
- used as a suppository
- orally ingested.
Smoking and sniffing heroin do not produce a “rush” as quickly or as intensely as an IV injection. Oral ingestion does not usually lead to a “rush”, but used in suppository form may have intense euphoric effects. Heroin can be addictive by any given route.
Heroin from south-west Asia may be ‘smoked’ by heating the solid on a metal foil above a small flame and inhaling the vapor. Those intending to inject this form must first solubilize it with, for example, citric acid or ascorbic acid. The south-east Asia type is suitable for the direct injection of a solution. A typical dose is 100 mg at street level purity. Except when used therapeutically as a pain relief drug, ingestion of diamorphine/heroin is a much less effective route of administration.
What are the treatments for heroin addiction?
A variety of effective treatments are available for its addiction, including both behavioral and pharmacological (medications). Furthermore, both approaches help to restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior, resulting in increased employment rates and lower risk of HIV and other diseases and criminal behavior.
It is listed in Schedule I of the United Nations 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Diamorphine is also included in a generic sense in the 1972 Protocol, which revised the 1961 Convention, extended control to esters, and ethers of scheduled substances. For that, diamorphine is the diacetyl ester of morphine (Schedule 1).
It is metabolized to morphine and other metabolites that bind to opioid receptors in the brain.
1- After injection, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria (the “rush”) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities.
2- Following this initial euphoria, the user experiences an alternately wakeful and drowsy state.
3- Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system.
4- The short-term effects of abuse appear soon after a single dose and disappear in a few hours.
Other effects can include respiratory depression, constricted (“pinpoint”) pupils, and nausea. Effects of overdose may include slow and shallow breathing, hypotension, blue lips and nails, muscle spasms, convulsions, coma, and possible death.
A large number of street terms are in use, including horse, Smack, Dope, Mud, Skag, Junk, H, Black tar, Black pearl, Brown sugar, Witch hazel, Birdie powder, Dragon, Hero, White stuff, China white, Boy, Chiva, Mexican horse, Pluto, Skunk, Number 2.