Fact Sheet – Heroin



A central nervous system depressant, heroin is an addictive drug with profound physical and psychological effects. Used intravenously there is risk of infection and disease (hepatitis, AIDS) due to unsterile/shared needle use.

Signs of Intoxication: Euphoria, constricted pupils, ushing of the face, drowsiness, respiratory depression, nausea.

Withdrawal Symptoms: Acute insomnia, u-like symptoms with weakness, chills, sweating and muscle spasms; loss of appetite tremors and panic.



  • Mind & Behavior: Mental clouding. Alters emotions leading to bouts of  anxiety, sadness, depression.
  • Central Nervous System: Depresses activity. Pain sensation consciously perceived but not interpreted as pain.
  • Heart & Blood: Depresses heart activity. Low blood pressure possible cardiac failure.
  • Lung: Depresses breathing, pneumonia, lung abscess.
  • Liver: Enlarged liver, liver dysfunction, high incidence of hepatitis with unsterile or sharp needle use.
  • Kidneys: Toxicity, kidney failure, inhabits urine voiding.
  • Bone & Muscles: Infections including inflammation of the bone marrow, adjacent bone tissue and muscles.
  • Immune System: May depress the body’s ability to fight infection.
  • Fetus: Premature or stillbirth, withdrawal symptoms in infants, mental and behavioral abnormality, increased incidence of sudden infant death.

Other Risks: Weight loss, edema (excess watery fluid), loss of consciousness, coma; potentially fatal.