FACTS ABOUT HEROIN

Heroin is processed from morphine, a natural substance that is taken from the seed pod of the Asian poppy plant. It usually appears as a white or brown powder. Pure heroin is usually diluted with other powder substances, such as sugar, when it is sold on the street.

Heroin abuse has been associated with the use of needles and, therefore, such serious health conditions as fatal overdoses, collapsed veins and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. An overdose can cause death. Recently there has been a shift from injecting heroin to smoking or snorting (sniffing it through the nose). All forms of using the drug can result in physical dependence.

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FACTS ABOUT COCAINE (INCLUDING CRACK)

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that comes from the coca bush that grows in South America. The leaves are soaked, mashed and filtered to create a paste that is treated with chemicals. It ends up as a powder that has other powders added to it.

“Crack” or “rock” is cocaine, which is chemically changed so it can be smoked and inhaled into the lungs. Crack cocaine is particularly addictive and very dangerous. People are attracted to it because smoking provides a much quicker and more intense “high” than sniffing or “snorting” cocaine into the nostrils. The sudden rush puts the brain, heart, blood vessels and other organs at serious risk of damage.

The immediate, intense euphoria of smoking crack cocaine wears off more quickly than when the drug is sniffed. Then the user becomes anxious, irritable and deeply depressed and craves another dose to relieve the depression.

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