Heroin Opioid (Smack)
Street Terms: Smack, thunder, hell dust, big H, nose drops, H, ska, junk, skag
Heroin is a highly addictive white or brown powder or brown sticky tar made from opium poppies. Users may snort, smoke or inject it. Heroin is a depressant. It enters the brain, where it is converted to morphine and binds to receptors known as opioid receptors. These receptors are located in many areas of the brain that deal with pain but also within the brain stem — important for automatic processes critical for life, such as breathing, and blood pressure. Heroin overdoses frequently involve a suppression of respiration
An opioid is a chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors, which are found principally in the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. The receptors in these organ systems mediate both the beneficial effects and the side effects of opioids.
The analgesic effects of opioids are due to decreased perception of pain, decreased reaction to pain as well as increased pain tolerance. The side effects of opioids include sedation, respiratory depression and constipation. Opioids can cause cough suppression, which can be both an indication for opioid administration or an unintended side effect. Physical dependence can develop with ongoing administration of opioids, leading to a withdrawal syndrome with abrupt discontinuation. Opioids can produce a feeling of euphoria, and this effect, coupled with physical dependence, can lead to recreational use of opioids by many individuals.
Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including physical dependence, fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and in injecting users infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis A, B and C. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, and liver or kidney disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health and diet of the abuser as well as from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration. In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin often contains toxic contaminants or additives that can clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage to vital organs