About Heroin

Select section:

What can heroin feel like?

Heroin is a potent opioid and can make people feel a sense of euphoria, warmth, heaviness in their body, nausea, and sleepiness. The initial effects or ‘rush’ can be short- lasting and varies depending on how you take the drug. When heroin is injected, the effects are felt almost instantly but don’t last as long compared to other methods like snorting. After this, people may experience several hours of after effects, especially sleepiness (this is sometimes called ‘the nod’).

Heroin can affect everyone differently depending on your individual body, how you use (smoking, snorting, injecting), how much you use, and how regularly you use. People who use heroin regularly can develop a tolerance to the drug and find that they need to use more and more to achieve the same euphoric effects as when they first started using. Homebake can also have different effects and doses to real heroin.

Remember, a low dose for one person can be a high dose for another as people’s bodies process drugs differently.

Keep in mind that when mixed with alcohol or other drugs or medicines, heroin may have different and more unpredictable effects. Heroin can also be cut with many other substances, which can change its effects or strength.

Pleasant Effects

Unpleasant Effects

Euphoria

Initial ‘rush’ straight after using

Pleasant tiredness

Sedation (‘the nod’)

Feeling of warmth/cosiness

Pain relief

Being in a ‘dreamlike’ state

Decreased anxiety

Temporary relief of stress or low mood

Vivid dreams

Nausea

Itchiness (in one area or across whole body)

Sedation (‘the nod’)

Constipation

Difficulty urinating

Loss of appetite

Sweating

Changes in mood

Inability to orgasm

Erectile dysfunction

Pleasant Effects

Unpleasant Effects

Increased euphoria

Increased ‘rush’

Increased pain relief/feeling physical numb

Increased feelings of carelessness often described as feeling like ‘nothing matters’

Hallucinations

Severe nausea

Vomiting

Severe or persistent itching

Increased sedation

Severe sweating or fevers

Mild dehydration

Slowed breathing

Irregular heartrate

Small pupils

Compulsion to re-dose

Disorientation or confusion

Hallucinations

 

Pleasant Effects

Unpleasant Effects

 

Severe vomiting

Severely slowed breathing

Difficulty breathing

Delirium

Blue lips or fingertips

Cold and clammy skin

Pinpoint (tiny) pupils

Choking on vomit

Seizures

Becoming unresponsive

Loss of consciousness

A Reddit user talks about their experience of snorting heroin for the first time:

“In addition to sedation I also experienced a bit of dulling effect, what some people would describe as being in the moment and not caring about anything”

Another Reddit user talks about how they feel when using heroin:

“At times it felt like I could see with my eyes closed. Didn't realize how surreal the visuals are with closed eyes, it felt insane. Does this happen to everyone? It was almost like tripping…I expected heroin to make me super tired and would let me slip into a nice slumber. I was certainly nodding hard but when I wanted to actually sleep I kept waking up constantly. The dreams were absolutely vivid and strange, couldn't tell what was real life tbh. Got very little real sleep.”

Related stories

Popping the bubble: Quick tips if you're choosing to use drugs in Level 2

It can be a bit weird adjusting back to life outside your bubble, so we’ve pulled togther a few key tips to help you out if you choose to use drugs.

Opioid treatment during lockdown

Need opioid treatment during lockdown? Here's how to access support and some tips to be safer.

Calling an ambulance during lockdown - advice from a paramedic

Wondering what happens if you need an ambulance during lockdown? Blake Murray from St John answers your questions.

Find another drug