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The South African Anti Drug Team




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Street names: smack, mud, china white, brown, Mexican brown, brown sugar, gear, H, horse, junk
Heroin is produced from the resin of the opium poppy and is the most dangerous and addictive narcotic. Pure heroin is a white, odourless crystalline-like powder with a bitter taste. The browner the colour, the more impurities it contains. It is often diluted with starch, sugars such as glucose, powdered milk, baby powder, washing powder, strychnine or other poisons before being sold. It is smoked, snorted or injected.  


The heaven:
A profound sense of warmth and wellbeing envelops the user and blocks feelings of pain and insecurity.  


The hell
Within six to eight hours symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, chills, excessive sweating and muscle and bone pain may follow. The real hell starts with the withdrawal symptoms which can set in within two days after the last fix.  


Effects on the body:
First it leads to suppression of pain, drowsiness, heaviness of the limbs, shallow breathing, a weak pulse, dry mouth and pinpoint pupils. Long-term use causes liver damage, poisoning as a result of additives, bacterial infections, abscesses, arthritis and infection of the heart lining and valves. High dosages can result in a seizure, coma and death. Babies born to mothers who abuse heroin during their pregnancy may be born addicted.  


Effects on the brain:
Heroin is quickly changed to morphine in the brain, which acts on certain receptors to give that feeling of utter bliss. But the brain reacts by creating fewer of its own feel-good endorphins. Heroin destroys the chemical balance in the brain to such an extent that the user starts to experience pain in the absence of any injuries. Rapid mood changes and confusion are the result of the chemical changes in the brain.  


 NB:  Common outward signs of a drug user:

 1.   They do not have strong willpower.

 2.   They do not have a stable character.

 3.   They tend to live in a tunnel - view life.

 4.   They lie constantly to protect their pride.

 5.   They would have the habit to bite their nails.

 6.   They develop chest problems, asthma or lung problems.