Heroin Tracks

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a type of illegal drug usually seen as a form of white or brown powder. Pure heroin, a white form of heroin is often hard to find. Impure heroin is often used, leaving a greater risk for infection. “Black tar” heroin is also sold, but is most common in Mexico. Most heroin is mixed with other materials such as powdered milk, sugar, cocoa and starch. Various poisons may also be present. Taking heroin puts your life at an unnecessary risk. Drug treatment centers across the country are available to aid in heroin recovery and prevent further accidents as a result of heroin use.

This drug is primarily derived from the substance morphine, found in the Asian poppy plant. Effects of heroin use include feelings of euphoria and the repression of pain. Popular street names associated with heroin include H, smack, brown sugar, horse, Mexican mud and skag.

How is Heroin used?

Heroin is most often taken in the form of injection. When injected, the user inserts a needle into either a vein, muscle or just under the skin. Injecting heroin into a vein takes the shortest amount of time to produce effects. Many heroin users have needle marks (known as tracks) from this form of heroin use. Other popular forms of heroin use include smoking and inhalation.

Signs/Symptoms of Heroin

Common short-term signs of heroin use include:

  • Slurring of speech
  • Poor vision at night
  • Sagging eyelids
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Constricted pupils
  • Higher pain tolerance due to analgesia
  • Euphoric feelings
  • Tiredness
  • Hypothermia
  • Respiratory complications
  • Dry mouth
  • Slower pace when moving around
  • Flushed skin color

The effects of heroin begin to show up a few hours after use. A single dose of heroin is all it takes to give the user feelings of euphoria. In addition, transitioning from alertness to drowsiness is frequent, as well as decreased mental functioning. This slowed mental functioning is due to a collapse in the central nervous system. Although at first, symptoms associated with heroin use may not seem to be very harmful, if heroin use continues, the effects of its use can be deadly. To prevent such a instance, many people will turn to drug and alcohol rehab centers for help and advice.

Effects of Heroin

Long-term complications of heroin use include:

  • Pregnancy complications
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • Infections
  • HIV/AIDS (by sharing needles)
  • Infection of the lungs
  • Poisoning
  • Collapsed veins
  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Death by overdose

In many cases of heroin use, a tolerance is built up. This tolerance requires its user to increase their amount of heroin in each usage in order to achieve the same euphoric effects. Unfortunately, with tolerance often comes addiction. In most cases of addiction, drug treatment centers are necessary for intervention. These drug rehab facilities have been proven to be very effective in numerous cases of heroin addiction.

Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Extreme craving of the drug
  • Cold flashes
  • Sweating
  • Lack of an appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Kicking movements
  • Bone pain
  • Dilated pupils
  • Irritability
  • Piloerection (goose bumps)
  • Shaking, tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feelings of panic

Withdrawal symptoms occur with treatment for drug abuse because of the lack of heroin administration. These symptoms can occur as soon as a few hours after the last dose of heroin. In most cases these symptoms subside within a week.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.