You are here: Home Drugs Heroin Information Heroin Information

Heroin Information

Heroin is an illegal drug that is highly addictive and its use is a serious problem in America. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin is the most rapidly acting and widely abused of the opiate family. Heroin is processed from morphine. Morphine is a natural occurring substance that is extracted from seed pods of certain types of poppy plants.

The Narconon drug and alcohol rehab program sees many admissions for heroin addiction every week and even more who need treatment but who are not receiving it.

Forms of Heroin

Pure heroin is rarely seen on the streets being sold. It is bitter tasting, expensive, and white. Most illicit heroin is cut with various other additives and loses their purity causing the heroin to have brown tints. Heroin is mostly cut with substance such as sugar, powdered milk, starch, or quinine. It may also be cut with strychnine or other poisons. Once the heroin leaves the manufacturer, it is obvious to see the purity of it. The unknowingness of the purity of the heroin, the actual strength of the drug or its true contents makes the risk of overdose or death skyrocket.

Another form of heroin is referred to as "black tar" heroin. It is primarily available in the western to southwestern region. This form of heroin can be hard like coal or sticky like roofing tar. It is produced primarily in Mexico and has a color that varies from dark brown to black.

Methods of Use

Heroin can be injected, smoked, or snorted. It is often injected as this is the most efficient way to administer the low purity heroin products. Smoking and snorting heroin are becoming more common as there is a fear of infection from sharing needles. Smoking and snorting so not produce the "rush" feeling as quickly or intensely as injection, but there is a lesser risk of infection through shared drug use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has confirmed that all three methods are very addictive when administered.

Effects of Use

The short term effects of heroin use are apparent immediately after a single dose when injected. These effects disappear in just a few hours. If the substance is snorted or smoked, a user can feel it affects peak within 8 to 15 minutes. Once administered, a user will feel a surge of euphoria, most generally followed by an alternating state of wakefulness and drowsiness. They can experience side effects such as dry mouth, a warm flush of the skin, or heavy extremities. Clouding of mental functions can result as depression of the central nervous system is occurring.

Chronic users of heroin can experience collapsed veins, abscesses, liver disease, or infection of the heart lining or valves. Various types of pneumonia may occur as well. Long term use may also cause addiction. Tolerance will develop and the user must use more heroin to reach the same intensity of the first high. With each higher dose of the drug, physical dependence and mental addiction develop.

Once a person ceases to use heroin, the withdrawal stages can start in a matter of hours. During the withdrawal process a person may experience:

• Drug Cravings

• Muscle or bone pain

• Restlessness

• Diarrhea

• Vomiting

These are just a few of the symptoms. The withdrawal from heroin can be very severe on a person body and this is why so many continue to use. Symptoms will peak within 48 to 72 hours and then subside after about a week.

Extent of Use

There have been studies conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health stating that the heroin problem in the United States is escalating and reaching teens at a more rancid pace.

According to the reports:

• Roughly 3.8 million US residents have used heroin at least once in their life

• Roughly 453,000 people used heroin in the last year

• Roughly 213,000 use heroin in the last month

The 2008 Monitoring the Future Study among students showed:

• 1.4% of eighth graders

• 1.2% of tenth graders

• 1.3% of twelfth graders reported lifetime use of heroin

The study also showed that:

• 75.5% of eighth graders thought using heroin occasionally without a needle was a "great risk"

• 83.1% of tenth graders thought using heroin occasionally without a needle was a "great risk"

• 73.2% of twelfth graders thought using heroin occasionally without a needle was a "great risk"

• Roughly 86.4% of twelfth graders thought that using heroin regularly was a "great risk"

Part of the study showed the ease by which heroin can be obtained. Here are the results:

• 13.3% of eighth graders

• 17.2% of tenth graders

• 25.4% twelfth graders reported that heroin was "fairly easy" or "very easy" to obtain

The use of heroin and the accessibility to obtain it is easy for any age, gender, or class. It is affecting our youth, college students, prisoners, and citizens of the United States.

Call today to find out more information on heroin and it effects call Narconon today at 800-468-6933.


Narconon Arrowhead


Narconon Arrowhead is one of the largest and most successful drug rehabilitation centers in the world. With a success rate of over 70% of those who graduate, we are changing the lives of millions of individuals ever day. There is hope for drug and alcohol addiction. Narconon Arrowhead has the solution to the downward spiral of drug and alcohol addiction.