Heroin, or diacetylmorphine (INN), also known as diamorphine (BAN), is a semi-synthetic opioid drug synthesized from morphine, a derivative of the opium poppy.
As with other opioids, heroin is used as both a pain-killer and a recreational drug and has an extremely high potential for abuse.
Frequent and regular administration is associated with tolerance, moderate physical dependence, and severe psychological dependence which usually develops into addiction.
Internationally, heroin is controlled under Schedules I and IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Diacetylmorphine is used as a recreational drug for the profound relaxation and intense euphoria it produces, although the latter effect diminishes with increased tolerance.

Heroin is usually sold as a powder; colour ranges from white, off-white, yellowish, to reddish brown, the most prevalent type now on the market.

Street Names
Lady, white girl, horse, black tar, brown sugar, smack, goods, H, junk, Harry

Routes of administration
One of the most common methods of illicit heroin use is via intravenous injection (colloquially termed "shooting up").
Heroin base (commonly found in the UK and Europe), when prepared for injection will only dissolve in water when mixed with an acid (most commonly citric acid powder or lemon juice) and heated.
Heroin in the US is most commonly its hydrochloride salt, requiring just water to dissolve.

Users tend to initially inject in the easily accessible veins in the arm, but as these veins collapse over time through damage caused by the acid, the user will often resort to injecting in other veins
Recreational users may also administer the drug through means of snorting, or smoking by inhaling its vapours when heated; either with tobacco in a rolled cigarette or by heating the drug on aluminium foil from underneath. When heated the heroin powder changes to a thick liquid, similar in consistency to molten wax, and it will run across the foil giving off smoke which the user inhales through a tube, usually made from foil also so that any heroin that collects on the inside of the tube can be smoked afterward. The user follows the "blob" of heroin with the intention of inhaling, through the tube, as much of the smoke as possible - i.e. "chasing the dragon."

The onset of diacetylmorphine's effects depends upon the route of administration.
Orally, since diacetylmorphine is completely metabolized in vivo to morphine before crossing the blood-brain barrier the effects are the same as with oral morphine.
Snorting results in an onset within 3 to 5 minutes;
smoking results in an almost immediate effect that builds in intensity;
intravenous injection induces a rush and euphoria usually taking effect within 30 seconds;
intramuscular and subcutaneous injection take effect within 3 to 5 minutes.
The diacetylmorphine dose used for recreational purposes depends strongly on the frequency of use. A first-time user typically ingests between 5 and 20 mg of diacetylmorphine, but an individual who is heavily dependent on the drug may require several hundred mg per day.

Physical Effects
Central nervous system:
Addiction (Physical Dependence)

Addiction (Psychological Dependence)

Cardiovascular & Respiratory:
Shallow breathing
Respiratory depression
Vomiting (protracted)
Muscle spasticity

Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
Miosis, or pupil constriction ("pinpoint pupils")

Withdrawal Effects
The withdrawal syndrome from heroin may begin within 6 to 24 hours of discontinuation of the drug; however, this time frame can fluctuate with the degree of tolerance as well as the amount of the last consumed dose.
Symptoms may include: sweating, malaise, anxiety, depression, priapism, extra sensitivity of the genitals in females, general feeling of heaviness, cramp-like pains in the limbs, excessive yawning or sneezing, tears, rhinorrhea, sleep difficulties (insomnia), cold sweats, chills, severe muscle and bone aches; nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and fever.

Large doses of heroin can cause fatal respiratory depression, and the drug has been used for suicide or as a murder weapon.

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