Heroin is a type of opioid drug derived from poppy plants. As an illegal, recreational drug, it can be sniffed, snorted or smoked in its powder form. This substance binds with opioid receptors in the brain that affect feelings of pain and pleasure.
Many prescription opioid drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin, which are used for treating chronic pain and serious conditions like cancer, have similar effects to heroin, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Out of all chronic pain patients misusing their opioid medication, at least four to six percent eventually switch to heroin and develop heroin abuse.
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