Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services
Helping to promote wellness and recovery that reinforces and sustains healthy individuals, families, and communities that are free from stigma related to mental illness and addictions.

If you are in Crisis and need help, please call
Samaritian CrisisCare at 224-4646 or Text "4hope" to 741741 

Resources

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 What is heroin?

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Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin.

What are the effects of heroin?

Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.

 Short-Term Effects                                      Long-Term Effects
     
  •  dry mouth
  • warm flushing of the skin
  • heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • nausea and vomiting
  • severe itching
  • clouded mental functioning
  • going "on the nod," a back-and-forth state of being conscious and semiconscious
 
  •  insomnia
  • collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
  • damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
  • infection of the heart lining and valves
  • abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
  • constipation and stomach cramping
  • liver and kidney disease
  • lung complications, including pneumonia
  • mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
  • sexual dysfunction for men
  • irregular menstrual cycles for women

Other Potential Effects

Heroin often contains additives, such as sugar, starch, or powdered milk, that can clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage. Also, sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from drug use can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

Heroin is highly addictive. People who regularly use heroin often develop a tolerance, which means that they need higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects. A substance use disorder (SUD) is when continued use of the drug causes issues, such as health problems and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home. An SUD can range from mild to severe, the most severe form being addiction.

Those who are addicted to heroin and stop using the drug abruptly may have severe withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms—which can begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken—include:
  • restlessness
  • severe muscle and bone pain
  • sleep problems
  • diarrhea and vomiting
  • cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey")
  • uncontrollable leg movements ("kicking the habit")
  • severe heroin cravings
Remember:
A person can overdose on heroin and die. Naloxone is a medicine that can treat a heroin overdose when given right away, though more than one dose may be needed. 

Getting Treatment:

A range of treatments including medicines and behavioral therapies are effective in helping people stop heroin use. However, treatment plans should be individualized to meet the needs of the patient. For more information about getting treatment for a heroin addiction, call Samaritan Crisis Care at 1-937-224-4646