What is it?

Heroin is an addictive drug that is processed from morphine and usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black, sticky substance. It is injected, snorted, or smoked.

Street names

Smack, thunder, hell dust, big H, nose drops, H, ska, junk, skag


Heroin is addictive — its repeated abuse can lead to craving and compulsive Heroin-seeking behavior, despite severe adverse consequences.
Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, particularly in users who inject the drug.
The alternately awake and drowsy state that heroin users experience while taking the drug is referred to as "on the nod". Mental functioning becomes clouded.
Heroin withdrawal may occur within a few hours after the last time the drug is taken. Symptoms of withdrawal include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey"), and involuntary leg movements.


Short-term effects: Short-term effects of heroin include a surge of euphoria and clouded thinking followed by alternately wakeful and drowsy states. 

Long-term effects: Heroin depresses breathing, thus, overdose can be fatal. Users who inject the drug risk infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Scope of Drug:

In 2009, 605,000 Americans age 12 and older had abused heroin at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and HealthThe NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 0.8% of 8th graders, 0.8% of 10th graders, and 0.9% of 12th graders had abused heroin at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.