National Institutes of Health

Heroin (Smack, Junk) Facts

Heroin is a white or brown powder or a black, sticky goo. It can be mixed with water and injected with a needle. Heroin can also be smoked or snorted up the nose.

Heroin causes a rush of good feelings just after it's taken. But some people throw up or itch after taking it. For the next several hours you want to sleep, and your heart rate and breathing slow down. Then the drug wears off and you may feel a strong urge to take more.

Some slang names for heroin are:

  • Smack
  • Junk
  • H
  • Black tar
  • Horse
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"I needed heroin just to get by."

Older man frowning

Deon was addicted to heroin. Here, he describes the drug's effects on his life. (Photo information)

arrow Read Deon's story