Aka: dope, junk, black tar

Heroin is an illegal opioid made from poppy plants that is very addictive. It is sold as white or brownish powder, but also sold as ‘black tar’ which is sticky like roofing tar or coal. In the US, 36 people die every day from an overdose death involving heroin.1 Heroin affects areas of the brain that control heart rate, sleeping and breathing; a heroin overdose can lead to breathing slowing or even stopping, and decreasing the amount of oxygen reaching the brain, which can lead to a coma or permanent brain damage. People who inject heroin are at greater risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, and having issues such as collapsed veins or blood vessel clots. Naloxone can treat a heroin overdose if given right away.

Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA.: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2020. Available at https://wonder.cdc.gov