Heroin is a white to dark brown powder or tar-like substance.
This highly addictive drug is made from morphine, a substance from the opium poppy that quickly enters the brain. It affects the brain’s pleasure systems and interferes with the ability to perceive pain.
Heroin can be used many ways.
Snorting (popular with new users), injecting into a vein (“mainlining”) or into a muscle, smoked in a pipe or water pipe, mixed in a marijuana joint or regular cigarette, and inhaled as smoke through a straw.
Heroin is super-addictive.
Any method of use - snorting, smoking,swallowing, or injecting the drug can lead to mental and physical addiction. Breaking the habit is extremely difficult, but possible.
Heroin use can have tragic and deadly consequences.
It slows the way you think and react, and dulls your memory. The strength of heroin varies and other substances are added to it making it unpredictable and deadly. A fatal overdose can happen even when first used. Other health risks from using heroin include HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other diseases.
Signs of heroin use.
A person might appear drowsy (“nodding”), have nausea, impaired mental functioning, slowed down respiration, and constricted pupils. Signs of an overdose are shallow breathing, pinpointpupils, clammy skin, convulsions and coma. Overdoses can be fatal, but appropriate medications can reverse the overdose. Immediate medical treatment saves lives.
Prolonged heroin abuse can cause serious health conditions.
Collapsed veins, infection of the heart, abscesses, pneumonia, liver disease, infectious diseases and/or a fatal overdose can happen.
Treatment works and recovery is possible.
Methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone are all FDA approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorders. In addition, peer support groups are very helpful for people suffering from addictions.
Getting Help at UNH
Individual education/counseling is available for all UNH students who are concerned about their own or someone else's use of heroin. Appointments can be made online or by calling (603) 862-3823.
"Tragically, the most recent data shows that more than 16,000 lives are lost each year due to opioid-related overdoses. In fact, drug overdose deaths, driven largely by prescription drug overdose deaths, are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States – surpassing motor vehicle crashes." - FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg Statement on Prescription Opioid Abuse
- Opioids: The Prescription Drug & Heroin Overdose Epidemic
- New Hampshire Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services
Source: Heroin Fact Sheet, The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, 2014