En español
NIDA

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

Also more about:

Statistics and Trends

Swipe left or right to scroll.

Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Heroin for 8th Graders, 10th Graders, and 12th Graders; 2015 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period 8th Graders 10th Graders 12th Graders
Heroin Lifetime [0.50] 0.70 0.80
Past Year [0.30] 0.50 0.50
Past Month 0.10 0.20 0.30

Swipe left or right to scroll.

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; 2014 (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 0.10 2.00 2.00
Past Year [0.30] 0.10 0.80 [0.30]
Past Month [0.20] 0.10 0.20 [0.20]

Related Videos

Related Publications

Fentanyl (DrugFacts)

Published June 2016. Revised June 2016. Offers basic facts about the synthetic opioid Fentanyl including how it is abused, its affect on the brain, and other health effects.

Prescription drug abuse and heroin use

Prescription Opioids and Heroin (Research Reports)

Published October 2015. Revised December 2015. Explores the relationship between prescription opioid abuse and heroin use, including prescription opioid use as a risk factor for heroin use, reasons why people progress from using prescription opioids to heroin, and the need for prevention and treatment.

Research Report: Heroin cover

Heroin (Research Reports)

Published October 1997. Revised November 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 October 2014. 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

Opioids (Mind Over Matter)

Published January 1997. Revised September 2014. Describes to young teens how opioids, such as Vicodin, morphine, heroin, and codeine, affect the brain—including the limbic system—and the nervous system. En Español

Related Resources

Other Resources

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

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies in human volunteers conducted to answer specific health questions. Learn about the NIH-sponsored clinical trials available to you.

Other Clinical Trials information sources:

This page was last updated May 2016

Get this Publication

Cite this article

APA style citation

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Heroin Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/heroin

press ctrl+c to copy
Receive Emerging Trends and Alerts Articles in your Email!
You will only receive messages related to Emerging Drug Trends

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. 

SAMHSA Treatment Locator
Easy-to-read Drug Facts