The Common Signs Of Heroin Use


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At least 140 people die everyday from overdose in the United States. Two-thirds of these deaths arise from opioids. Heroin is an addictive illegal opioid that is typically injected, snorted, or smoked. It is known for producing a sense of euphoria and heaviness of the body. Its affordability and ease of availability have made it a popular choice of illicit drugs. Some of the signs of heroin use and dependence include:

  • Drowsiness and sedation
  • Slurred Speech
  • Lack of awareness and attention
  • Runny nose or nose sores
  • Depression

How long does heroin stay in your system?

The duration for which heroin lasts in the system depends on several factors such as heredity, the rate of metabolism, the amount consumed, the quality of the substance, hydration, etc.  Various drug tests such as blood, saliva, urine, and hair follicle are used for detecting heroin in the body.

Heroin has a short half-life of roughly 25-30 minutes. Blood and oral fluid testing are not often used for this reason. In urine, heroine can be detected between 1-2 days and is the standard testing method for detecting heroin. The longest time heroin is detectable is in the hair follicle, where it can potentially remain for up to 90 days.

It is important to remember that this detection window can extend and increase depending on the drug user’s history of substance abuse.  Heavy and long-term heroin users may have much longer detection windows. Extensive use may cause the drug to be stored in the fatty tissues that are not so readily expelled by the body.

The presence of a drug metabolite is also a reliable indicator of the parent drug intake in the body. A drug metabolite is a byproduct of cellular metabolism and remains in the body long after the parent drug has been expelled. Many standard drug testing methods look for the presence of metabolites.

Heroin is metabolized into 6 –acetylmorphine(6-AM), also known as  (monoacetylmorphine) 6-MAM following heroin use.  The presence of 6-AM is considered clear evidence of prior heroin use.

What does Heroin look like? What color?

In its purest form, heroin comes as a white color powdery substance. However, its color and look largely depend on the additives often mixed or cut to dilute and produce heroin. Some of the common additives include substances such as flour, sugar, powdered milk, starch, painkillers, and quinine. Here are the three common types of heroin and what they look like:

White Heroin

Pure white heroin is mixed with other white color additives like sugar or cocaine. White heroin doesn't always appear to be white and maybe pink, brown, and beige. It requires a higher temperature to burn and hence, is commonly injected or snorted.

Black tar heroin

Typically, most heroin comes in powdered form except black tar heroin, mainly coming from the Mexico region. As the name suggests, black tar heroin is black and has a sticky or gooey feel to it. It's one of the crudest forms of heroin extracted after the cutting process.  It is usually smoked or injected.

Brown Heroin

Brown heroin is typically brown or tan. It has a low insolvency rate, and hence smoking is the preferred way of consuming brown heroin. It is the lowest grade of heroin obtained.

How long does heroin stay in your urine?

Urine remains the most widely employed specimen today. Urine is familiar and has been around for a reliably long time. It’s inexpensive and used in the detection of a wide range of drugs.

Drugs and their metabolites also last in the urine for a more extended time, significantly increasing the drug detection window. Despite having a rapid short life, heroin lasts in the urine for up to 1-2 days.  The only drawback with urine is that it is prone to manipulation, adulteration, and substitution.

Heroin slang terms

Heroin is a popular street and club drug that goes by various names. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has put together a compendium of drug slang terms that identifies and categorizes English and foreign language derivations of the most common substance of abuse. The following slang terms denote heroin:

A-Bomb (mixed with marijuana); Achivia; Adormidera; Antifreeze; Aunt Hazel; Avocado; Azucar; Bad Seed; Ballot; Basketball; Basura; Beast; Beyonce; Big Bag; Big H; Big Harry; Bird; Birdie Powder; Black; Black Bitch; Black Goat; Black Olives; Black Paint; Black Pearl; Black Sheep; Black Tar; Blanco; Blue; Blow Dope; Blue Hero; Bombita (mixed with cocaine); Bombs Away; Bonita; Boy; Bozo; Brea Negra; Brick Gum; Brown; Brown Crystal; Brown Rhine; Brown Sugar; Bubble Gum; Burrito; Caballo; Caballo Negro; Caca; Café; Capital H; Carga; Caro; Cement; Chapopote; Charlie; Charlie Horse; Cheese; Chicle; Chiclosa; China; China Cat; China White; Chinese Food; Chinese Red; Chip; Chiva; Chiva Blanca; Chivones; Chocolate; Chocolate Balls; Choko; Chorizo; Chutazo; Coco; Coffee; Comida; Crown Crap; Curley Hair; Dark; Dark Girl; Dead on Arrival (DOA); Diesel; Diesel; Dirt; Dog Food; Doggie; Doojee; Dope; Dorado; Down; Downtown; Dreck; Dynamite; Dyno; El Diablo; Engines; Fairy Dust; Flea Powder; Foolish Powder; Galloping Horse; Gamot; Gato; George,Smack; Girl; Golden Girl; Good & Plenty; Good H; Goma; Gorda; Gras; Grasin; Gravy; Gum; H; H-Caps; Hairy; Hard Candy; Harry; Hats; Hazel; Heaven Dust; Heavy; Helen; Helicopter; Hell Dust; Henry; Hercules; Hero; Him; Hombre; Horse; Hot Dope; Hummers; Jojee; Joy Flakes; Joy Powder; Junk; Kabayo; Karachi; Karate; King’s Tickets; Lemonade; Lenta; Lifesaver; Manteca; Marias; Mayo; Mazpan; Meal; Menthol; Mexican Brown; Mexican Horse; Mexican Mud; Mexican Treat; Modelo Negra; Mojo; Mole; Mongega; Morena; Morenita; Mortal Combat; Motors; Mud; Mujer; Muzzle; Nanoo; Negra; Negra Tomasa; Negrita; Nice and Easy; Night; Noise; Obama; Old Steve; Pants; Patty; Peg; P-Funk; Piezas; Plata; Poison; Polvo; Poppy; Powder; Prostituta Negra; Puppy; Pure; Rambo; Red Chicken; Red Eagle; Reindeer Dust; Roofing Tar; Sack; Salt; Sand; Scag; Scat; Schmeck; Sheep; Shirts; Shoes; Skag; Slime; Smack; Smeck; Snickers; Speedball (mixed with cocaine); Spider Blue; Sticky Kind; Stufa; Sugar; Sweet Jesus; Tan; Tar; Tecata; Tires; Tootsie Roll; Tragic Magic; Trees; Turtle; Vidrio; Whiskey; White; White Boy; White Girl; White Junk; White Lady; White Nurse; White Shirt; White Stuff; Wings; Witch; Witch Hazel; Zapapote

The bottom line

Heroin is a common substance of abuse. Unlike other drugs of abuse, it has a very short half-life. The average detection window for heroin and its metabolite depends on the sample tested.  A urine drug test is a preferred method of examining for heroin where it lasts for up to 1-2 days before it is expelled.

Various other factors such as genetics, the rate of metabolism, the dosage of a drug, nature of the substance, hydration, etc., play an essential role in determining the duration for which standard testing methods can detect heroin. Heavy and long-term heroin users may have much longer detection windows.

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