10 Things Everyone Should Know About Heroin

Heroin is used by nearly one million Americans nationwide, and is often far less costly and easier to obtain than prescription painkillers. Today, heroin and other opioids are contributing to a sharp increase in overdose deaths across the country — causing a nationwide epidemic. Knowing more about heroin and its effects on the human body can help you or your loved one avoid this dangerous drug, and the risk for addiction and overdose.

If you are struggling with heroin or opioid addiction, understand that it’s never too late to get help. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 844-431-5818(Who Answers?) to learn more about addiction treatment centers that can help you overcome physical dependency and addiction to opioids.

Here are 10 interesting facts everyone should know about heroin that can help raise awareness about this deadly drug.

1. It Causes Deep Sedation

Know About Heroin

Nausea and insomnia are common side effects of heroin abuse.

Unlike drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine that bring on feelings of aggression and excitement, heroin and other opioids bring on deep sedation. Those who enter a deep sedative state are at higher risk for overdose and death, especially when users cannot be roused from sleep.

2. It Causes Severe Itching

Severe itching is a common side effect of heroin use and releases histamines in some people — causing skin irritation and itchiness. Severe itching can lead to broken skin and open sores, and often provides great discomfort for many heroin users.

3. It Causes Addiction in Babies

Pregnant women who use heroin often give birth to babies who are physically addicted to the drug. These newborns go on to experience physical withdrawal symptoms following birth, such as fever, vomiting, and the inability to gain weight.

4. It Causes High Tolerance

Regular heroin users develop a tolerance to the drug, and require larger doses to achieve the same level of euphoria. This leads to addiction and increases the risk for an overdose.

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47,300* People Addicted
23,100* Getting Help
8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

5. It Can Be Used Several Different Ways

Heroin is primarily snorted, injected, or smoked. All three methods produce near-instant effects, which is partly why the drug is highly addictive.

6. It Causes Severe Health Problems

Heroin causes a number of short- and long-term health effects that can negatively impact one’s overall quality of life. Potential health problems that can be triggered by heroin use include:

  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Depressed respiration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Collapsed veins
  • Bacterial infection
  • Arthritis
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Coma

7. It Has Many Street Names

Heroin goes by many names on the street, including “H” and “horse.” In urban markets, heroin is often referred to using brand names such as “Gucci,” while in other cases, heroin is named after items it resembles, such as “brown sugar.” Other common names for heroin include the following:

  • Smack
  • White horse
  • Junk
  • Chiva
  • Train
  • Thunder

8. It Comes in Three Different Colors

Heroin is generally available as white or brown powder, or in black tar form. White heroin is rare in the U.S., and often mixed with dangerous fillers and contaminants not meant for human consumption. Black tar heroin is made using an industrial process, and also contains harmful contaminants.

9. It’s Often Mixed With Deadly, Potent Opioids

Today’s street heroin is frequently mixed with synthetic opioids that are far easier to obtain and less costly than heroin, such as fentanyl and carfentanil. Unfortunately, these opioids are highly potent and dangerous, and can cause an overdose or death after just one use.

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10. Heroin Addiction Can Be Treated With Medication

Those who suffer from heroin addiction can successfully overcome physical dependency on the drug using one or more medications prescribed at detox and rehab centers. Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can reduce drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and help addicts recover with less pain and discomfort.

If you or someone you care about is addicted to heroin or another opioid, call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 844-431-5818(Who Answers?) . Our caring treatment specialists will connect you with rehab centers that can guide you or your loved one to improved health and sobriety from heroin.

the Take-Away

Whether you or someone you love abuses painkillers or heroin, there are numerous risks and consequences you should be aware of.