Heroin is an extremely addictive drug. It is derived from morphine taken from the opium poppy and is a Class A drug, so is illegal to possess or supply in most countries around the world. If caught in possession in the UK you could be jailed for up to 7 years, and if found supplying heroin, even to a friend, you could face a life sentence.
Also known as brown, smack, horse, H, gear and skag, heroin is actually a very strong painkiller, and is used legally in very small doses by the medical profession. When taken it slows down the body's physical and cognitive functions, blocking out the sense of physical pain. After an initial high it makes the user feel warm and sleepy.
In its purest form heroin is a white powder, but when mixed/cut with fillers it can be anything from off-white to brown. Heroin can be injected, smoked, dissolved in water or snorted, but no matter how it is taken, heroin is always just as addictive, even when the mix is largely made of fillers.
Heroin addiction starts to kick in after just a few uses. Uncontrollable cravings take over with ever-larger quantities of heroin needed to achieve the desired effect. This increases the risk of heart failure and also choking as heroin disables a user's cough reflexes. After a while, many users find that they need some heroin just to function anywhere near normal.
As with all addictions, heroin addiction can be cured. It is a long and sometimes painful road, but the first step is to admit that you have a problem and to seek help from your GP or one of the numerous drug addiction helplines.
For more information on heroin addiction please review the resources on our site.