Subscribe via RSS Feed

Heroin Facts & Resources

Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian opium poppy plant. It usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

From Partnership for Drug-Free Kids:

“An estimated one million people used heroin in the United States in 2014, almost triple the 2003 rate, according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Heroin-related deaths have increased five-fold since 2000, the World Drug Report 2016 found. Heroin use is at its highest level in 20 years in the United States.”

Facts about Heroin:

  • Heroin can be injected, inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or smoked. All three routes of administration deliver the drug to the brain very rapidly, which contributes to its health risks and to its high risk for addiction. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • Nearly half of young people who inject heroin start by abusing prescription drugs, and nearly 4 out of 5 heroin users began first with recreational use of prescription pain relievers. (Partnership for Drug-Free Kids)
  • Heroin is known by many different street names, including Big H, Black tar, Brown sugar, Dope, Horse, Junk, Skag, Smack, and China white. (Partnership for Drug-Free Kids)
  • In 2016, 0.20% of students (8th, 10th and 12th grade) reported using heroin in the past month. (2016 Monitoring the Future Survey)
  • This threat is particularly high in the Northeast and Midwest areas of the United States. According to the 2016 National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS), 45% of respondents reported heroin was the greatest drug threat in their area; more than for any other drug. (Drug Enforcement Administration)
  • Heroin-related overdose deaths are on the rise, but proven strategies are available to reduce the harms associated with its use, treat dependence and addiction, and prevent overdose fatalities. (Drug Policy Alliance)


Resources to learn more about Heroin:

Drug Enforcement Administration – National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary

Drug Policy Alliance – Heroin Facts

Muir Wood Adolescent & Family Services – Warning Signs

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – Heroin

NIDA for Teens – Heroin

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: Heroin and Other Opioids

Village Behavioral Health – Causes, Symptoms & Effects of Heroin Abuse


Related Local Events and Resources:

New Partnership Helps 17 States Share Information to Fight Heroin Crisis

Op-Ed: Battling Soaring Heroin Use in Westchester

New York State: Combat Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse