Heroin, also known as diamorphine among other names, is an opiate most commonly used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. Medically it is occasionally used to relieve pain and in opioid replacement therapy. Heroin is typically injected, usually into a vein; however, it can also be smoked, snorted or inhaled. Onset of effects is usually rapid and lasts for a few hours.
Common side effects include respiratory depression (decreased breathing), dry mouth, euphoria, and addiction. Other side effects can include abscesses, infected heart valves, blood borne infections, constipation, and pneumonia. After a history of long-term use, withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of last use. When given by injection into a vein, heroin has two to three times the effect as a similar dose of morphine. It typically comes as a white or brown powder.