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Heroin

The use of heroin, an extremely addictive drug, has become a serious problem in America. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, recent studies suggest a shift from injecting heroin to snorting or smoking because of increased purity and the misconception that these forms are safer.

Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder. Street names for heroin include "smack," "H," "skag," and "junk." Other names may refer to types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area, such as "Mexican black tar."

And even though heroin abuse has trended downward during the past couple of years, its prevalence today is still higher than in the early 1990s. According to a recent National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which may actually underestimate illicit heroin use, an estimated 2.4 million Americans had used heroin at some time in their lives. Heroin is, in fact, often cited as the primary drug of choice in drug abuse treatment admissions throughout the U.S.

This widespread abuse of heroin, even in school-age youth, combined with its glamorization in music and films, its increased purity and decreased prices, points out how important it is to understand this drug – and the destruction it brings.

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