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AKA: smack, skag, gear, H or brown

  1. The basics
  2. Highs and lows
  3. Taking heroin
  4. Heroin with other drugs
  5. Useful info
  6. Heroin and the law
  7. Jump to: Tips for safer injecting

The basics

Heroin is made from morphine, which comes from opium poppies.

In its pure form it’s a white powder but it can be brown depending on what it’s been cut with – hence the nickname.

It makes people feel very relaxed and slows down body functioning. It’s also a powerful painkiller that’s been used medicinally for hundreds of years.

How it’s used

Heroin can be smoked through a glass pipe or injected.

Read our guide to safer injecting ››

Highs and lows of heroin

The high from heroin has been described as a feeling of warmth and an intense pleasurable sensation – a ‘rush.’

The first time someone takes heroin it can cause dizziness and sickness, even vomiting.

If used regularly, you can become tolerant of the drug – so typically users need more of it each time to experience the same rush. However this tolerance can drop quickly, so it can be very dangerous to return to the same dose of heroin after a period of abstinence.

Overdose can lead to coma and death. The effects of heroin can last for a number of hours.

Withdrawal symptoms are severe and usually include:

  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • sweating
  • agitation
  • muscle pain
  • cramps
  • diarrhoea
  • sickness and vomiting.

Taking heroin

Sex on heroin

This isn’t a drug that’s usually used for sex. It slows the body down, and can therefore make it very difficult to cum.

Your body will likely be too relaxed to give you what you need.

A long term relationship?

Heroin is highly addictive. It’s not uncommon for people who’ve got caught up on heroin to lose their job, friends, relationship and home.

Getting off heroin comes with severe withdrawal symptoms and has to be done with medical supervision. You’ll have access to drug replacement therapy (with either methadone or buprenorphine) to aid you in getting clean safely.

Heroin with other drugs


An overdose is more likely if heroin is taken with other downers, such as alcohol or methadone, and tranquilisers such as Valium.


It’s possible that mixing G with heroin could lead to death as both drugs depress the nervous system.


A cocktail known as a ‘speedball’, the two drugs increase the effects of one another. Your heart will speed up from the coke and then slow down from the heroin, potentially causing the heart to loose its rhythm altogether.

John Belushi and Phillip Seymour Hoffman both died after mixing these drugs.

Crystal meth

Known as a ‘poor man’s speedball’ this cocktail has similar effects to a regular ‘speedball’.


Psychedelic drugs mixed with heroin can make them unpredictable and unpleasant.

Useful to know

Injecting is best avoided. It’s the quickest way to addiction and it runs the risk of serious health problems, such as:

  • skin abscesses
  • collapsed veins
  • blood poisoning
  • heart infections.

Sharing injecting equipment puts you at high risk of getting or passing on HIVhepatitis C and other infections.

Using hot pipes might injure your mouth, and if you share them you risk passing on or contracting – in tiny amounts of blood – infections like hepatitis C and HIV.

Recently, deaths from heroin overdoses have been linked to the presence of a much stronger opioid – fentanyl – in street batches. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than heroin. Test it in small amounts first, and never take it alone.

Read more about injection safety ››

Heroin and the Law

Heroin is a Class A drug, so getting caught with it can mean up to seven years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Intending to supply, including giving it to your mates, can mean up to life in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Next section: Sex and drugs ››

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Published: 20/08/2018
Next review: 20/08/2021