Heroin, known by various street names in the UK such as gear, smack, or brown, is a highly addictive opioid drug. It typically appears as a fine white or brownish powder, although its color may vary depending on purity and additives. Heroin can also be found in the form of a sticky black substance known as black tar heroin. While heroin itself doesn’t have a distinct scent, the process of preparing or heating it for consumption may produce a vinegar-like odor.

Heroin use has profound effects on mental and physical health. It produces a powerful sense of euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief, but prolonged use can lead to addiction, mood swings, depression, anxiety disorders, and even psychosis. Physically, heroin depresses the central nervous system, resulting in slowed breathing, decreased heart rate, and lowered blood pressure. Injection drug use, which is common with heroin, poses additional risks such as transmission of bloodborne infections like HIV or hepatitis C. Long-term heroin use can cause severe physical dependence, organ damage, respiratory issues, gastrointestinal problems, skin infections, and an increased risk of fatal overdose.

Signs of heroin use may include constricted pupils, drowsiness, slowed or slurred speech, track marks or bruising at injection sites, sudden financial difficulties, social withdrawal, and significant changes in behavior or appearance. Paraphernalia associated with heroin use may include syringes, needles, burnt spoons, aluminum foil, small plastic bags or balloons, and other equipment used for preparing or using the drug.

It is vital to understand that heroin is an illegal and highly dangerous substance with severe health and legal consequences. Seeking professional help from healthcare providers, addiction support services, or helplines is strongly recommended for individuals struggling with heroin use or for those concerned about someone who may be using it. There are resources available to provide assistance, support, and treatment options for addiction and related mental health issues.

Drop-in Centre

Our drop-in centre, at the heart of the community in Sparkbrook, is the focal point for all our activity. Staffed by volunteers and health care professionals, we offer a warm welcome to anyone who is looking for help, advice or support. Just call between 9am and 5pm weekdays. No appointment is necessary.

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