Heroin is one of the world’s most addictive drugs, but what do we really know about it? Here are some facts not many people know about the familiar drug.



For starters, heroin is made from the poppy plant. Yes, this is the same plant that produces poppy seeds for our bagels and breads. A naturally occurring substance, known as morphine, is found in the seedpods of the poppy plant. This is a highly addictive opiate, going by the chemical name of diacetylmorphine. Users either inject, snort, or smoke heroin. Regardless of the prefered method, it quickly enters the brain, immediately affecting the person physically and psychologically. Heroin is much easier for someone to get their hands on compared to prescription opioid such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Heroin is definitely an illegal drug.



“On the nod” is referring to a particular state in a user’s high when their nods back and forth. It’s similar to the jerk we feel we’re falling asleep but trying to stay awake. This happens because heroin is a sedative and makes a person very sleepy. Many users like this heavy sleepiness because they’re looking for a deep sedation. When a user falls asleep, sometimes they can’t be woken up even if they were being shaken. This can easily be taken too far and result in overdosing. People can lose consciousness and slip into a coma or possibly slowing down one’s breath to the point of stopping.



Heroin quickly rushes a surge of euphoria through the body. Sometimes this may come with warm flushing of the skin. This is one side effect that users might mistaken as a sign their heroin isn’t right. However, severe itching means the drug is strong. What happens, is opiate drugs cause histamines, the same way the body behaves during an allergic reaction.



Did you know heroin was once sold over the counter and even given to infants? As crazy as it sounds, it’s true. It was first introduced by the Bayer Company of Germany in 1898. A chemist at the company tried to create a safer pain reliever as a substitute for morphine, in hopes it would be less addictive. It was given the name “heroin” for the supposedly heroic qualities. In the early 1900’s, heroin was used in products such as cough syrups over the counter.



Some people don’t even know what heroin looks like. It’s actually sold either as white or brown powder, or as a sticky black substance known as “black tar heroin.” Color can tell where the drug was sourced. When it’s brown and chalky, that tends to come from Columbia. Brown heroin also comes from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Brown heroin is usually more commonly sold in Europe. The white, pure, refined powder usually comes from Southeast Asia. The white powder is becoming less commonly sold in the US because fillers are often used, such as sugars and starches. “Black tar” comes from Mexico and is sold in the US. This has been compare to a black Tootsie Roll. This kind of heroin is a lower grade because it is industrially processed.



So obviously we know the name heroin and we just shared the chemical name (diacetylmorphine). But there are more names than that! Some of these streets names are “H,” “horse," "smack," "thunder" and "junk.” Some names describe the drug’s looks, such as brown sugar or black tar.


If you or a loved one struggles with addiction to heroin or any other substances, please contact Crownview Co-Occurring Institute to get in touch with a medical professional who will provide guidance towards a positive and uplifting lifestyle. Analysis will be performed to create an individualized custom plan to get a patient back to restored ultimate wellness.





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