Updated 03 February 2014


Here's more about heroin, its effects, and the signs of heroin overdose.

Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. Most illicit heroin is distributed in powder form. It may vary in color from white to dark brown because of impurities left from the manufacturing process or the presence of additives. Because it physically resembles many other pulverized products on the market, many things can be added to it without users becoming overly suspicious.

Heroin turned out to be two to three times more potent than morphine. It was in fact an already metabolized version of morphine, so heroin had a more direct rout to the brain than morphine itself. By the late 1920s heroin was the world’s most widely abused opiate.

These symptoms can take up to ten days to disappear and during this time, muscle spasms, violent shivering and cold chills are experienced. The latter gives its name to the detoxification process called ‘cold turkey’ as the skin resembles that of a plucked fowl.

(Sources: Drug Counselling Centre, MRC)

Read more:
My life as a heroin addict
Heroin basics


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