By Brianna Prange


Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine (a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian opium plant.) It usually appears as a white or brown powder, or as black sticky substance known as "black tar heroin." Heroin can be injected, inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or smoked.



Street Names

Smack           H      Tar            Chiba or Chiva      Junk             Brown Sugar      Skag

Mud         Dragon       Dope        China White   White Lady     White Girl/Boy

White Stuff         Boy/He        Black Tar     Black Pearl        Black Stuff

Black Eagle     Brown      Brown Crystal    Brown Tape    Brown Rhine

Mexican Brown     Mexican Horse      Snow/Snowball      Scat/Sack/Skunk

Number 3, 4, or 8

Heroin + Cocaine= Boy-Girl/He-She, Chocolate Rock, Dragon Rock

Heroin + Ritalin= Pineapple

Heroin + Ecstasy= Chocolate Chip Cookies, H-bomb

Heroin + Cold Medicine= Cheese

Short-Term Effects

1. Heroin enters the brain and is converted to morphine, then binds rapidly to opioid receptors

2. Users typically feel a surge of pleasure, "a rush," the intensity of the rush depends of the amount of drug that is taken and how rapidly the drug enters the brain and binds to opioid receptors

3. The rush is usually accompanied by: warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, heavy feeling of the extremities, nausea, vomiting, and severe itching

4. After the initial effects the users are usually drowsy for several hours, mental function is cloudy, heart function slows, and breathing is severely slowed, sometimes enough to be life threatening or damaging to the brain

Long-Term Effects

1. Can cause abnormal amounts of dopamine to be released which causes the natural production of dopamine to decrease and eventually stop, once dopamine is no longer being produced the user has to rely on the drug to "feel normal"

2. Frequent injections can lead to collapsed veins and contaminated needles run the risk of contracting hepatitis, HIV, bacterial infections, and abscesses of soft tissue

3. Other effects: bad teeth, inflammation of the gums, cold sweats, itching, respiratory illnesses, loss of appetite, infections of the heart lining and valves, also chronic injections of street heroin (because of the additivies) can cause clogging of blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain

User Population

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2012 about 669,000 Americans reported using heroin in the past year.

Chemical Structure


1st Time Possession Charge: 1 yr. in prison and $5,000 fine

2nd Time Possession Charge: 2 yrs. in prison and $10,000 fine

1st Time Sale or Manufacture Charge: Max. 15 yrs. in prison and $25,000 fine

2nd Time Sale or Manufacture Charge: 30 yrs. in prison and $50,000 fine


Heroin was first synthesized from morphine in 1874 by an English Chemist. It was first produced commercially in 1898 by the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company. Attempts were made to use heroin in place of morphine due to problems of morphine abuse, but it turned out to also be highly addictive and was eventually classified as an illegal drug.

Where it is Found

Heroin is most widely produced in: Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, Latin America, and Mexico

What it is Used For

Heroin is used as a pain reliever, and (obviously) to get high

How the Drug is Metabolized

Heroin is a lipid soluble "pro-drug" within the brain, which means it is inactive then is metabolized into an active form. Once the drug as crossed the blood-brain barrier heroin is metabolized into morphine which actively bonds to opiate receptors in the brain, producing the high.

Symptoms of Heroin Poisoning

Poisoning can occur when impure heroin is taken or the heroin is mixed with another drug. Symptoms of an overdose are: shallow or no breathing, snorting or gurgling sounds, blue lips or fingertips, floppy arms and legs, no response to stimulus, unconsciousness, and disorientation.

Heroin Addiction Treatment/Remedies

Pharmacological treatment can be done using other drugs to safely wean a person off of heroin such as; methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. These drugs are used because they provide a "safer high" to slowly wean an addict off the drug.


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"Nicknames, Street Names, and Slang for Heroin and Heroin Use." Casa Palmera. N.p., 05 May 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2015. <http://casapalmera.com/nicknames-street-names-and-slang-for-heroin/>.

"Heroin State and Federal Penalties." Heroin State and Federal Penalties. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2015. <http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/heroin-state-and-federal-penalties.html>.

"Heroin Overview : Origin and History | Methoide." Heroin Overview : Origin and History | Methoide.N.p.,n.d.Web.29Jan.2015 <http://methoide.fcm.arizona.edu/infocenter/index.cfm?stid=174>.

"Heroin." What Is the Scope of Heroin Use in the United States? N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015. <http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/scope-heroin-use-in-united-states>.