Heroin is a depressant made from morphine, a natural substance that comes from the opium poppy plant. Pure heroin is a fine, white, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. However, heroin sold on the street varies in colour and consistency, depending on the way it is made and what other substances are added to it. It can look like a white powder, a brown grainy substance or a dark brown sticky gum. It can range widely in purity. Other drugs or substances such as quinine (used to treat a disease known as malaria) can sometimes be added to imitate the bitter taste or texture of heroin and this can fool a buyer into thinking he or she is getting a more pure form of heroin or to conceal the fact the buyer is getting less of the drug than they bargained for.
There are different ways in which heroin may be consumed. For example, heroin may be:
dissolved in water and injected into a vein (known as “mainlining”), muscle, or under the skin (“skin-popping”)
smoked (“chasing the dragon”) snorted
Also known as: diacetylmorphine, diamorphine, black tar, dope (heroin), dust, H, horse, junk, smack, and scag.
use of heroin can produce many other effects such as:
- nausea and vomiting
- reduced appetite
- pinpoint pupils and impaired night vision
- itching or burning sensation of the skin