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Narcotics Awareness...Heroin Explained
Heroin

Street terms for heroin:
Smack, Thunder, Hell Dust, Big H, Nose Drops, Skag, Junk

What does heroin look like?

  • Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste.
  • Most illicit heroin varies in color from white to dark brown.
  • "Black tar" heroin is sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal, and its color may vary from dark brown to black.
How is heroin used?
  • Injecting
  • Smoking
  • Snorting
Who uses heroin?
  • In the United States in 1999 there were 104,000 new heroin users.
  • In 2000, approximately 1.2% of the population reported heroin use at least once in their lifetime.
How does heroin get to the United States?
  • The U.S. heroin market is supplied entirely from foreign sources of opium.
  • Production occurs in South America, Mexico, Southeast Asia, and Southwest Asia.

How much does heroin cost?
Nationwide, in 2000, South American heroin ranged from $50,000 to $200,000 per kilogram. Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin ranged in price from $40,000 to $190,000 per kilogram. Wholesale-level prices for Mexican heroin were the lowest of any type, ranging from $13,200 to $175,000 per kilogram. The wide range in kilogram prices reflects variables such as buyer/seller relationships, quantities purchased, purchase frequencies, purity, and transportation costs.

What are some consequences of heroin use?

  • One of the most significant effects of heroin use is addiction. Once tolerance happens, higher does become necessary to achieve the desired effect, and physical dependence develops.
  • Chronic use may cause collapsed veins, infection of heart lining and valves, abscesses, liver disease, pulmonary complications, and various types of pneumonia.
  • May cause depression of central nervous system, cloudy mental functioning, and slowed breathing to the point of respiratory failure.
  • Heroin overdose may cause slow and shallow breathing, convulsions, coma, and possibly death.
  • Users put themselves at risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other viruses.

Source: Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

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