Narconon outlines the drug heroin, its effects and uses.


The synthesized form of morphine is an opiate called heroin, it is a natural substance extracted from the pod of the opium poppy plant.  After processing heroin is a powder or a gummy substance, known as “black tar”.  


Medical Use of Heroin


Heroin is a strong analgesic, better known as a pain killer.  Heroin is not allowed in the United States even for medical use.  In other countries like the Netherlands and the United Kingdom heroin is available with a prescription for severe physical trauma/injury, heart attacks and other chronic pains like end stage cancer pains, the drug as prescribed is administered by intramuscular, intravenously and sometimes even administered directly to the spinal cord.


Heroin is only used in severe painful conditions, which cannot be treated with other conventional pain killers. Heroin is used instead of morphine because it is more fat soluble and can reach the targeted area quickly.  A small dose of heroin has a greater affect than a large dose of morphine.  In countries like the United States where heroin is not available legally, morphine is used in its place.   


Heroin in the United States


Opium found its way into the United States in the 1800’s when Chinese immigrants came to work on the railroad. They brought opium with them, and while we may have an image of the Wild West being full of gun toting cowboys and saloons we could also have an image of syringe carrying “junkies” in opium dens that where just as common.  In the early 1900’s when heroin became illegal reports from NIDA says that there were over 200,000 people in the U.S. addicted to heroin.


Cheap and very pure heroin is creating a growing addiction crisis across America. Heroin, much of it from Colombia, is replacing crack cocaine as the drug of choice, particularly among the young. Heroin these days is pure enough to snort and seems to be attracting the young.


Effects of Heroin

When a person starts using heroin the euphoria feeling can last 4-5 hrs, with a high for as long as 12 hrs.  Aside from the usual euphoria, heroin causes one to go between alertness and sleepiness this is known as “nodding out” Heroin can be used intravenously, snorted or smoked.  Snorting or smoking heroin usually takes 10 to 15 minutes for the drug’s full effects to be felt. Injecting heroin is a much faster method of using heroin. Injecting intra-muscularly takes 5-8 minutes for the full effects to be felt, while it takes all of 7 to 8 seconds for an intravenous injection to take effect.  Once the drug starts wearing of the user might become irritable and depression may start to set in, it is common for the user to take another dose to get rid of these undesirable manifestations.  This is how addiction begins it doesn’t take much for a user to become fully dependent on the drug. The more one uses the doses must be increased for the user to get close to the same affects.

Treatment of Heroin

Behavioral interventions such as, cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to be effective for ceasing heroin use and preventing relapse. Treatment must be tailored to the individual patient’s needs in order to optimize outcomes this often involves a combination of treatment, social supports, and other services.
The earlier addiction is treated, the better. Don’t wait for your loved one to hit bottom!  Be prepared for excuses and denial with specific examples of behavior that has you worried.  You can support a person with a substance abuse problem and encourage treatment, but you can’t force an addict to change. You can’t control your loved one’s decisions. Let the person accept responsibility for his or her actions, an essential step along the way to recovery for drug addiction.


Get Help


Methadone Clinics and other drugs doctors prescribe to help people come off of heroin are addictive and have many of the same withdrawal symptoms as heroin itself.

Narconon uses life skills therapy to help addicts confront their under-lying issues with addiction and become responsible members of society again.  Call today! 1-800-468-6933.