Cuyahoga County Title

Facts about Heroin


What is heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Other common names for heroin include big H, horse, hell dust, and smack.

How do people use heroin?
People inject, sniff, snort, or smoke heroin. Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine, a practice called speedballing.

What are the effects of heroin on the brain?
Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.

An heroin/opioid overdose can be reversed with the drug naloxone when given right away. Read more about the local naloxone program,
Project DAWN.

For more information about Heroin, please visit the National Institute On Drug Abuse's (NIDA) website:
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin. NIDA is the reference for the heroin information on this page.


If you or a family member is experiencing a mental health or an alcohol or other drug-related emergency, seek immediate assistance by calling the 24-hour Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Crisis, Information and Referral Hotline: (216) 623-6888 or the United Way's First Call for Help, 211 or (216) 436-2000.
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