The drug heroin in its pure form is a white powder with a bitter taste. Although, most illicit heroin varies in color from white to dark brown. "Black tar" heroin is sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal, and its color may vary from dark brown to black. Users administer heroin by injecting, smoking, or snorting it.
Heroin is brought into the U.S. from foreign sources of opium. Production of this drug occurs in South America, Mexico, Southeast Asia, and Southwest Asia. Nationwide, in 2000, South American heroin ranged from $50,000 to $200,000 per kilogram. Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin ranged in price from $40,000 to $190,000 per kilogram. Wholesale-level prices for Mexican heroin were the lowest of any type, ranging from $13,200 to $175,000 per kilogram. The wide range in kilogram prices reflects variables such as buyer/seller relationships, quantities purchased, purchase frequencies, purity, and transportation costs.
Heroin is a highly addictive drug derived from morphine, which is obtained from the opium poppy. Drugs such as heroin slow down the activity of the central nervous system and messages going to and from the brain and the body. This includes physical, mental and emotional responses. The side effects of heroin include: Euphoria, Drowsiness, Apathy, Nausea and vomiting, Slurred speech, Constricted pupils, Decreased physical activity, Convulsions, Respiratory depression, Greater susceptibility to infection. Increased risk of hepatitis or AIDS from infected needles, Coma, and Death.
During 2000, there were approximately 146,000 new heroin users in the United States. The average age of those who first used heroin during the year was 22.3 years. According to the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, approximately 3.1 million (1.4 percent) Americans age 12 or older had tried heroin at least once in their lifetime, 456,000 (0.2 percent) used heroin in the past year, and 123,000 (0.1 percent) reported past month heroin use. 6 Results from the 2002 Monitoring the Future Study show that 1.6% of 8th graders, 1.8% of 10th graders, and 1.7% of 12th graders surveyed reported using heroin at least once during their lifetimes.