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Heroin Facts

  • When sold at street level heroin is likely to have been diluted or cut with a variety of similar powders. The main dilution is glucose. However, the practice of using other substances such as caffeine, flour and talcum powder is a constant danger to users
  • Because heroin abusers do not know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are at risk of overdose or death.
  • Recent studies suggest a shift from injecting to snorting or smoking heroin because of increased purity and the misconception that these forms of use will not lead to addiction.
  • The variability in quality of street heroin can range from 0-90%, which greatly increases the risk of accidental overdose and death.

Heroin Facts

  • Typically, a heroin abuser may inject up to four times a day.
  • Smoking and sniffing heroin do not produce a "rush" as quickly or as intensely as intravenous injection, NIDA researchers have confirmed that all three forms of heroin administration are addictive.
  • Over 80% of heroin users inject with a partner, yet 80% of overdose victims found by paramedics are found alone.
  • Heroin accounts for the majority of the illicit opiate abuse in America.
  • According to the National Household Survey for 1994, 2.2 million Americans have tried heroin; 191,000 had used it in the previous 30 days.
  • The variability in quality of street heroin can range from 0-90%, which greatly increases the risk of accidental overdose and death.
  • Heroin's potent pain-relieving properties may actually conceal symptoms of real physical illness or disease such as pneumonia and delay treatment.
  • Recent studies suggest a shift from injecting to snorting or smoking heroin because of increased purity and the misconception that these forms of use will not lead to addiction.
  • Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed-pod of the Asian poppy plant.
  • Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder.
  • Street names associated with heroin include "smack," "H," "skag," and "junk." Other names may refer to types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area, such as "Mexican black tar."
  • According to DAWNs Year End 1998 Emergency Department Data, 14 percent of all emergency department drug-related episodes had mentions of heroin/morphine in 1998.
  • Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
  • In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin may have additives that do not readily dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs.
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