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Heroin

Also called: Black tar, H, Horse, Junk, Skag, Smack

Summary

Heroin is a white or brown powder or a black, sticky goo. It's an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance in the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. It can be mixed with water and injected with a needle. Heroin can also be smoked or snorted up the nose. All of these ways of taking heroin send it to the brain very quickly. This makes it very addictive.

Major health problems from heroin include miscarriages, heart infections, and death from overdose. People who inject the drug also risk getting infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Regular use of heroin can lead to tolerance. This means users need more and more drug to have the same effect. At higher doses over time, the body becomes dependent on heroin. If dependent users stop heroin, they have withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, diarrhea and vomiting, and cold flashes with goose bumps.

NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse

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Symptoms

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Diagnosis and Tests

Treatments and Therapies

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Statistics and Research

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Striking laughter

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Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

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Patient Handouts