Heroin and Other Opiates

What is heroin? What other opiates are there?

Heroin is a drug that is made from a substance taken from the poppy plant. Other types of opiates include codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, methadone, and oxycodone. These are all prescription narcotic pain medications.

How is heroin used? How are other opiates used?

Heroin can be injected, snorted, or smoked. Other opiates usually take the form of pills that must be ingested.

How do heroin and other opiates affect people who have used them?

Heroin and other forms of opiates have varying effects depending on how much is used, how strong it is, and whether or not the user has used opiates in the past. Those who have just taken heroin or other opiates may experience:

  • feelings of euphoria
  • dry mouth
  • “nodding out” or going in and out of consciousness
  • itching and tingling
  • feeling clouded or heavy

What are the health effects of heroin and other opiates?

Long-term use of heroin or other opiates may cause:

  • infection of the heart lining
  • constipation
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • lung complications
  • collapsed veins
  • abscesses

In addition to these adverse health effects, opiates like heroin and even prescription pain killers are extremely dangerous. They can be severely addictive, they can be fatal if a person overdoses, and in the event a person stops using, they can cause violent withdrawal symptoms.

For detailed information on methadone and its use in treating opioid addiction, visit methadone.org.