Common heroin slang names include dope, skag, H, horse and junk. Other slang terms include black tar and smack. Location-specific slang terms also exist for heroin, as well as slang referring to different forms of the drug.
Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine. It appears as either a white or brown powder or a black, sticky substance resembling tar. Heroin can be inhaled, smoked or injected. The drug immediately enters the brain after ingesting it, which makes it very addictive.
Overdosing on heroin causes hypoxia, a deficiency of oxygen in the brain. This can result in psychological effects such as confusion, coma and even permanent brain damage. Heroin is also associated with spontaneous abortion and fatal overdoses. Street versions of the drug are often made using contaminants that harm the body and clog blood vessels, leading to permanent organ damage.
Users of heroin experience euphoria after ingesting the drug, but it becomes harder to reach this euphoric high each time a person uses heroin. The body develops a tolerance for the drug, so the user must
consume more heroin to reach the same euphoric intensity. An addicted heroin user experiences severe cravings for the drug. If these cravings are not met, withdrawal occurs. During withdrawal, the user feels restless and experiences muscle and bone pain, insomnia, cold flashes, vomiting, and diarrhea.