Heroin Basics

Heroin is a powerful, addictive painkilling drug. It is one of the most-used, most-rapidly acting, and most addictive of the opiate family, which includes opium, morphine, and codeine. All opiates are derived from opium, a naturally occurring juice extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy (Papaver somniferum and Papaver setigerum). Heroin or "diacetylmorphine" is a semi-synthetic derivative of morphine.

Opium Poppies and Smack Production

The opium poppy is native to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It also grows in some regions of Central and South America. The substance that is turned into opium is found in the seed pod of the plant. It is cut open to extract a juice, which is used to make morphine. The morphine, which is a legal drug used to relieve pain, may be used to produce heroin.

The human brain has receptors that recognize opiates, like morphine. These receptors happen to be located in the portions of the brain that are associated with breathing, pain recognition and emotions. The reason they are present is the body produces natural pain-relieving substances called endorphins. They are produced when the body experiences certain kinds of stimuli, including the following:

  • Eating spicy foods, especially chili peppers
  • Exercise (think "runner's high")
  • Fear
  • Having an orgasm
  • Spending time in the sun
  • Stress

Big H Use

Heroin is increasingly used in dance clubs as a chill-out drug and has also recently become popular on the gay scene. It's relatively cheap and many smoke it to ease comedown from Ecstasy, speed or coke. Some users choose to smoke or snort smack because they have the mistaken idea that unless the drug is injected, they won't become addicted to it. No matter how someone ingests heroin, they are exposing themselves to a highly-addictive substance.

The price of heroin varies according to how much is available. Customers can expect to pay more for a higher-quality product. Generally it's between $59-$88 per gram, or around $22 for a third of a gram. In some cases, a customer can buy a single dose of dope for as little as $10. A heroin addict may spend upwards of $150 per day to support his or her habit.

People who become addicted to blacktar can be of any age and include individuals from all walks of life. The last few years have seen more teens and young adults trying heroin. The price of the drug has been falling over time, which makes it accessible to this age group.

Heroin is a Schedule I substance in the US, and is a Class A illegal substance in the UK. It has no medical purpose and anyone who is caught possessing, distributing or manufacturing it is subject to a fine and/or imprisonment on conviction. The level of punishment depends on the amount of the drug involved.

Brown Sugar Appearance

Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. Street heroin comes in granule, powder, solution or pill forms and varies in color from white to dark brown, thanks to additives or impurities left from the manufacturing process. The brown heroin that dominates the UK and Dutch market is insoluble in water and must be dissolved in acid, usually citric acid from lemons.

Black tar heroin is a form of the drug that looks similar to hashish. The name black tar is a misnomer, since the color can range from brown to a true black. The color of the product is affected by the steps used in processing the drug. This form of heroin is usually dissolved and diluted before being injected.

In the UK, heroin often resembles packet chicken soup. In fact, strictly speaking, it isn't heroin at all - true heroin is a hydrochloride salt, soluble in water. The brown H sold in the UK is diamorphine base - a product intended mainly for smoking, and is not soluble in water.

Injecting Junk

Most regular users inject either intravenously (into a vein) or intramuscularly (into a muscle, usually the shoulder) after heating heroin powder in a little water. When this method is used, the individual will start to feel the effects of the drug, and feelings of euphoria followed by a deep sense of relaxation, in less than 10 minutes.

When a smack user wants to experience his or her "high" faster, he or she will decide to inject the drug directly into a vein. Mainlining heroin means that th e high starts in seven or eight seconds. A person who has become addicted to heroin may shoot up several times a day.

Smoking or Snorting Horse

An increasing number of people choose to smoke or snort lines of heroin, rather than inject. When smoked, heroin is heated on foil and the vapor inhaled through a tube or rolled-up bank note. This is known as chasing the dragon.

Heroin Rehab Facilities

If you or someone you care for needs help overcoming this substance's powerful addictive properties, find a treatment center in our heroin rehab facility directory today.

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