You may have heard about heroin in the news recently, find out the facts and what to do in an emergency.

Heroin is a drug made from morphine, which is extracted from the opium poppy. Heroin is a class A drug, so it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell. ‘Street’ heroin sold as 'brown' is sometimes now used by clubbers as a chill out drug after a big night out. It is still just the same street heroin but some people mistakenly think it's not as addictive.

It’s common for heroin to be mixed with a variety of substances, such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, quinine or paracetamol – this increases its weight and the drug dealer’s profits. Take a closer look under the microscope to find out more about heroin purity.

Here are some of the main effects and risks of heroin:

  • A small dose of heroin gives the user a feeling of warmth and well-being, bigger doses can make you sleepy and very relaxed.
  • The first dose of heroin can bring about dizziness and vomiting.
  • Heroin is highly addictive and people can quickly get hooked.
  • Injecting heroin and sharing injecting equipment can be very risky, as it runs the risk of the injector catching or spreading a virus, such as HIV or hepatitis C. There is also the risk that veins may be damaged and that an abscess or blood clot may develop. 

In case of emergency

If someone collapses call an ambulance immediately, turn them onto their side to avoid choking and stay with them until the ambulance arrives. Remember, you won't get into trouble with the authorities for having taken drugs – paramedics don't call the police unless there has been a fatality.

Published 24th July 2014