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Heroin

Classification: Opiate/narcotic.

Street names: Smack, H, skag, junk, black tar, diesel.

Method of use: Snorted, injected, smoked.

Short-term effects: Heroin enters the brain quickly and is highly addictive. Short-term effects include a surge of euphoria; warm flushing of the skin; dry mouth; heavy feeling in the hands and feet; clouded mental state; nausea, vomiting and constipation; decreased sexual desire and performance; severe itching; slowed breathing; decreased perception of pain; and spontaneous abortion.

Long-term effects: The primary and most debilitating effect of heroin is the tremendous probability of addiction. Heroin use causes changes in the brain that result in compulsive drug-seeking and use, and significant tolerance and physical dependence. Additional long-term effects include collapsed veins; arthritis; infection of the heart lining and valves; bacterial infections; abscesses; hepatitis B and C, and HIV/AIDS; and death.

Withdrawal: Symptoms include restlessness, muscle and bone pain; insomnia; vomiting and diarrhea; cold flashes and goose bumps; and intense drug cravings.

Other drugs with this classification: Opium, morphine, codeine, hydromorphone (Dilaudid); oxycodone (Percodan and Oxycontin); meperidine (Demerol); fentanyl (Sublimaze); and propoxyphene (Darvon).