What is Heroin?

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 sold as ‘brown’ is sometimes now used by clubbers as a chill out drug after a big night out.

It is still just the same street heroin but some people mistakenly think it’s not as addictive.

Here are some of the main effects and risks of heroin:

  • A small dose of heroin gives the user a feeling of warmth and well-being, bigger doses can make you sleepy and very relaxed.
  • The first dose of heroin can bring about dizziness and vomiting.
  • Heroin is highly addictive and people can quickly get hooked.
  • Injecting heroin and sharing injecting equipment can be very risky, as it runs the risk of the injector catching or spreading a virus, such as HIV or hepatitis C. There is also the risk that veins may be damaged and that an abscess or blood clot may develop.

What does heroin look like?

Pure heroin is a white powder, but owing to the range of substances it’s cut with, street heroin can be anything from brownish white to brown.

Prices can vary from region to region, but it has an average price of £10 a bag. Feeding a heroin habit can cost up to £100 a day.