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Information » Health » Drugs, Alcohol and Substances » Heroin


Heroin is a white powder when it is pure but the heroin that is sold on the street can be anything from brownish white to brown. It is smoked or injected. It can be expensive and feeding an addiction can cost up to £100 a day.

Heroin is also known as brown, skag, H and smack.

Heroin has the effect of slowing down body functions and prevents physical and psychological pain. It gives the user a buzz after taking it and a small dose can give a feeling of warmth and well being. Larger doses of heroin can make the user sleepy and very relaxed. When a person takes a first dose of heroin it can cause dizziness and vomiting.

When heroin is used over a longer period of time it becomes very addictive as its effects are reduced.

Included in the risks:

  • Death from overdose
  • Over doses can cause coma and death from respiratory failure
  • When heroin is taken with other drugs and alcohol it is easier to over dose
  • There is a risk of death from inhaling vomit as heroin stops the body’s cough reflex
  • Heroin users risk damage from injecting into veins that can lead to gangrene. There is also a risk of HIV/Aids, hepatitis B or C when users share needles

Heroin is a class A drug so it is illegal to have, give away or sell.

Possession of heroin can mean up to seven years in prison and an unlimited fine, and supplying can mean a life sentence and an unlimited fine.

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