By Cheryl Critchley
Heroin use is not common among Australian teenagers; latest figures reveal only 1.6 per cent of high-school students have used opiates or narcotics such as heroin or morphine other than for medical reasons.
Heroin is a depressant and belongs to a group of drugs known as “opioids” that are derived from the opium poppy. It comes in different forms, including fine white powder, coarse off-white granules and tiny pieces of light brown “rock”.
Heroin is usually injected into a vein, but it can also be smoked (“chasing the dragon”) and added to cigarettes and cannabis. The effects are usually felt straight away. If snorted, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to take effect.