Heroin is:

"h a drug that comes from the opium poppy

"h one of a group of very strong pain-killing drugs called narcotic analgesics or opioids

Heroin is also called 'smack' ,'skag', 'hammer', 'h', 'horse'

Heroin is in the class of drugs called 'depressants', because it slows down the brain and the central nervous system.

Reasons for experimenting

"h Creates a sense of euphoria and well-being

"h Can make a problem disappear for a short time

"h Control stress or relieve discomfort

Short term effects

The effects of heroin may last up to a few hours which can:

"h make you feel really good

"h make physical pain disappear

"h make you feel nauseous or vomit

"h make the pupils in your eyes get smaller ('pinpoint pupils')

"h make your breathing become shallow

"h cause constipation (difficulty defecating ['shitting'])

"h make you feel sleepy ('on the nod').

Long term effects

If you use heroin often for a long time you may:

"h overdose (have too much heroin - the longer you use heroin, the more likely you are to overdose)

"h have long-term constipation

"h get damaged veins from injecting a lot in the same site

"h get skin abscesses (sores with pus)

"h lose your appetite

"h get sick from lack of healthy food

"h have your menstrual period at the wrong time or not at all (women)

"h find it difficult to get pregnant (women)

"h find it difficult to get an erection (men)

"h get pneumonia - a serious lung disease

"h have other heart and lung problems

"h get tetanus - a disease caused by infection through the places on your body where you inject

"h get hepatitis B, C or HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).

This can happen even if you share injecting equipment...