Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine. Morphine is 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.” In Malaysia, opiates (heroin, 32%; morphine, 22%) are the most commonly abused drugs, followed by cannabis (33%) and amphetamine-based stimulants (8%).
Prescription Opioid Abuse: Prescription opioid pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin can have effects similar to heroin when taken in large doses or in non-prescriptive ways. They are currently among the most commonly abused drugs. Research now suggests that abuse of these drugs may open the door to heroin abuse.
Opioids that bind to receptors and activate them are referred to as “agonist” drugs (such as morphine and methadone). Those that bind to receptors but do not activate them are called “antagonists” (such as naloxone and naltrexone). Partial agonists (buprenorphine) bind to the same receptors but have less of an activation effect.
Signs of Withdrawals: Restlessness, Yawning, Perspiration, Rhinorrhoea (Runny Nose), Dilated pupils, Piloerection (Goosebumps) Muscle twitching (particularly restless legs while lying down), Vomiting, and Diarrhoea.
Symptoms of Withdrawals: Anorexia and nausea, Abdominal pain, Hot and cold flushes, Bone, joint, and muscle pain, Insomnia and disturbed sleep, Cramps, and Intense craving for opioids.