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What is heroin?

Heroin, also known on the street as smack, horse, H, junk or scag, is the most commonly abused narcotic. Narcotics are drugs that produce an insensibility or stupor. The term narcotic is most often used to refer to derivatives of the opium poppy (an annual poppy cultivated as the source of opium) or chemically similar synthetics created in a lab. When heroin is injected or smoked, the abuser experiences an instant period of intense pleasure known as a "rush." Heroin was a commonly prescribed medicine in the early 20th century, until its addictive potential was realized. It breaks down to morphine in the body.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.