Heroin is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world. It comes from a group of drugs known as opiates also called "narcotic analgesics". Heroin is processed from morphine, a natural substance extracted from the seedpod of an Asian poppy plant. It usually appears as a white or brown powder with a bitter taste, but no smell. Street names for heroin include "angel dust", "smack", and "junk". Other names such as "Mexican black tar", refers to types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area. Heroin is most commonly injected into a vein, but can also be smoked or snorted. Heroin was once used to treat pain in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is now considered an illegal drug in the United States.
Heroin is a highly addictive drug, which causes serious problems in the U.S. It is commonly used among poor people. Users often spend less on other things like housing and food, combined with a reduced appetite, which can lead to malnutrition and susceptibility to infections. Despite the fact that it is illegal, heroin accounts for 90% of the opiate abuse in the United States. Heroin is a Schedule 1 drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act because of its high abuse potential and the lack of any acceptance medical use. Studies have suggested shifting from injecting heroin to snorting or smoking because of increased purity and the misconception that these forms of use will not lead to addiction.
The effects of heroin vary from person to person. It depends on many factors including an individual's size, weight, and health, how the drug is taken, the person's mood, and whether other drugs are taken. The effects also depend on the environment in which the drug is used, for example alone or with others. The effects of heroin may last three to four hours. The immediate effects include drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. Heroin relieves physical pain. After using heroin, feelings of pain, hunger or sexual urges are diminished.