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Heroin is part of a group of very strong pain-killing drugs called opioids or opiates.

Definition: Heroin is a depressant drug which is derived from a flower called the opium poppy.

Heroin is part of a group of very strong pain-killing drugs called opioids or opiates. The effects of heroin are felt very quickly.

Heroin usually comes in powder form and varies in colour, generally from white to brown.

Heroin is also often mixed with other substances to dilute it and make it go further.

As a depressant drug, heroin slows down the body’s functions.

Other nicknames for heroin include: h, gear, smack, junk, hammer, horse.

Effects: The list of effects on this website are not definitive or exhaustive.

The short-term/immediate effects of heroin can include:

  • pain disappearing
  • feeling relaxed or lethargic
  • nausea or vomiting
  • acting out of character, doing things you might not normally do or may regret
  • pupils contract and appear smaller
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • shallow and/or slow breathing
  • slowed speech
  • decreased sex drive
  • cold clammy skin
  • fingers and/or lips turning blue
  • falling asleep
  • passing out
  • overdose
  • Death

The long term-effects of heroin can include:

  • feeling of deep sadness
  • low sex drive
  • fertility issues
  • increased chance of overdose
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • skin abscesses
  • vein and skin damage
  • lung disease
  • heart and lung problems
  • Dependence

Drug use can have a range of social consequences and can have impact not only on an individual, but also their relationships and their work or study. Drug use can cause financial issues, family problems and can also have legal consequences.

If you are concerned about your own or another person’s drug use we encourage you to seek professional help and assistance.

There are always risks associated with drug use. No use at all is the safest option.

Further information and support:

If you suspect an overdose call triple zero (000) immediately.

In an emergency or crisis situation always call triple zero (000) for police, fire and ambulance and follow instructions.

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Your Room

Visit the Your Room website for more information about heroin effects, dependence, risks, support services and other information.

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