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What is heroin and why is it so dangerous to Louisianans?

Louisianans know that a wide variety of drugs are illegal, but still available on the streets. One of the most commonly imported, distributed and used drugs is heroin. This illegal substance is considered one of the most highly addictive drugs in the world and often leads users to commit crimes to support their addiction, which is typically difficult to break.

What is heroin? Heroin is refined morphine, which is itself a refined distillation of opium, a naturally occurring substance produced by certain cultivated poppies. Opium poppies are grown around the world, including in large parts of Asia as well as Colombia and Mexico. Heroin has many names, including thunder, smack, hell dust, horse and big H. It can be sold as a black sticky substance or as a white or brown powder.

How is heroin consumed? Heroin can be sniffed, smoked or injected. Injection is the most common. Once consumed, the active ingredients travel to the brain quickly, providing what users call a "rush." A sudden sense of euphoria is often followed by wakefulness or by a state of twilight sleep.

What are the long-term effects of heroin consumption? A person who uses heroin can become addicted both physically and psychologically. Over time, heroin addicts tend to take higher and higher dosages in search of the same high; overdoses can lead to death, especially because the relative strength of street heroin can change without warning.

What happens to someone charged with a heroin-related crime? People who distribute or use heroin can face drug charges if caught. Anyone charged with a heroin-related offense should immediately explore legal options such as establishing a criminal defense. An experienced attorney can show how a client how to protect his or best interests and rights as well as how to minimize the chances of a conviction.

Source:, "Drugs of abuse," accessed on Dec. 22, 2014

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