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Heroin

Brown, smack, gear, scag, nasty, China white, junk, dragon, toot.

Alcoholic Drinks

Common names

Heroin, brown, smack, gear, scag, nasty, China white, junk, dragon, toot.

Generic name

Opiate.

Scientific names

Diamorphine hydrochloride, diacetylmorphine.

Action

Central nervous system depressant, analgesic.

Drug form

Licit:

Pharmaceutically manufactured heroin is a pure white powder, which can be made into tablets and ampoules, or as a linctus.

Illicit:

Commonly a beige or brown powder (base). Or more rarely as a white powder (Chinese no. 4, or 'China White').

Drug effects

Desired:

If injected, intense exhilaration (rush), euphoria, relaxation, decreased anxiety.

Side-effects:

Nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, decreased heart-rate, shallow breathing, coma sometimes fatal.

Medical use

To treat extreme pain eg. terminal cancer.

Risks

Short-term:

Tolerance and overdose, problems may also arise from impurities if heroin is injected, such as dizziness, headache, loss of coordination, and nausea.

Long-term:

Dependence and in long term users there can be a risk of failing to take normal care of the body as heroin is a very effective pain killer and appetite suppressant.

Injection of impure heroin - typical UK purity rates range from 10% to 40% - can damage circulatory system, leading to abscesses, ulcers, thrombosis, etc.

Unsterile injection practices increase the risk of blood borne diseases such as septicaemia, hepatitis and HIV.

Legal status

Class A under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971.

How is it taken?

Snorted up the nose, smoked from tinfoil ('tooting', 'chasing' or 'chasing the dragon' (video)) or mixed with tobacco in a hand-rolled cigarette, or injected. (video)

Paraphernalia

If snorted:

Razor blade, hard level surface (such as a mirror or glass), tube or rolled banknote.

If smoked:

Tinfoil, matches or lighter, cigarette papers, tobacco.

If injected:

Needle and syringe, water, citric acid (or lemon juice, or vinegar), matches or lighter, spoon, tourniquet, swabs.

Images

Video of what heroin looks like.
Video of smoking heroin.
Video of injecting heroin.
Heroin is a pure white powder.
A beige or brown powder.
Heroin is sometimes snorted up the nose.
Chasing the dragon.
Using a razor blade, on a hard level surface.
A rolled banknote can be used for snorting.
Tinfoil used for smoking heroin.
A tourniquet.
Using a swab.

Where does it come from?

Heroin is derived from the opium poppy, which grows in many parts of the world (including Britain). The main centres of illicit production include the border regions of \P\K3.map\kIran, Afghanistan and Pakistan (known as the Golden Crescent), and around the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos (known as the Golden Triangle)\p.

Helping services

Heroin users are seen by virtually all counselling and drug dependency clinics, there are also self help groups and many are seen by GP's.