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Heroin

Brief Description

Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.” Learn more

Statistics and Trends

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Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Heroin for 8th-Graders, 10th-Graders, and 12th-Graders; 2013 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period 8th-Graders 10th-Graders 12th-Graders
Heroin Lifetime 1.00 1.00 1.00
Past Year 0.50 0.60 0.60
Past Month 0.30 0.30 0.30

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National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Trends in Prevalence of Heroin for Ages 12 or Older, Ages 12 to 17, Ages 18 to 25, and Ages 26 or Older; 2012 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period Ages 12 or Older Ages 12 to 17 Ages 18 to 25 Ages 26 or Older
Heroin Lifetime 1.80 0.20 1.90 1.90
Past Year 0.30 0.10 0.80 0.20
Past Month 0.10 0.00 0.40 0.10

Featured Publications

Research Report: Heroin Cover

Heroin (Research Reports)

Published October 1997. Revised February 2014.
Offers the latest scientific information on heroin use and its consequences as well as treatment options available for those struggling with heroin addiction.  En Español

Heroin (DrugFacts)

Revised April 2013.
Offers basic facts about heroin, including how it is abused, its affect on the brain, other health effects, treatment options, and reported use by youth. En Español

Publication Cover

Opiates (Mind Over Matter)

Published January 1997. Revised January 2009.
Describes how opiates, such as Vicodin, morphine, heroin, and codeine, affect the brain, the nervous system, and the limbic system, which controls emotions. En Español

Buprenorphine: Treatment for Opiate Addiction Right in the Doctor's Office (Topics in Brief)

Revised August 2006.
Provides an update on buprenorphine, an effective treatment for opioid addiction, explaining how it helps patients quite opioid addiction and the efforts underway to engage community treatment providers.

Related Resources

Other Resources

Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.

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This page was last updated December 2012

Research Report

Research Report Cover

Heroin

Offers the latest scientific information on heroin use and its consequences as well as treatment options available for those struggling with heroin addiction. 

Looking for Treatment?

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator or 1-800-662-HELP.

Featured Publication

Featured Publication

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior - The Science of Addiction

As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior.

Easy-to-read Drug Facts