Heroin is a drug made from morphine, which is extracted from the opium poppy. Opium has been around for many hundreds of years and was originally used to treat pain, sleeplessness and diarrhoea. When morphine is made into heroin to be used as a medicine, it’s called diamorphine, and is stronger than morphine or opium. Like many drugs made from opium (called opiates), heroin is a very strong painkiller. ‘Street’ heroin is sold as 'brown'.
What are the effects?
Heroin gives users a feeling of warmth and well-being, bigger doses can make people sleepy and very relaxed.
What you should know about heroin
When using heroin regularly you very likely will become addicted.
Overdoses can lead to coma and death.
If heroin is taken with other drugs, including alcohol, an overdose is more likely.
Injecting heroin can do nasty damage to your veins and arteries, and has been known to lead to gangrene (death of body tissue, usually a finger, toe or a limb) and to infections.
The risks of sharing needles, syringes and other equipment involved in injecting are well-known, infections like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.
Funding heroin addiction can be very expensive and lead to engagement in criminal activities.