Heroin isn't a drug widely known to be used in Marshalltown, but there have been some cases where people have used it and later sought treatment.

What is heroin?

Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. Most illicit heroin is sold as a white or brownish powder and is usually "cut" with other drugs or with substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. It can also be cut with strychnine or other poisons. Because heroin abusers do not know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are at risk of overdose or death. Another form of heroin known as "black tar" may be sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal, and its color may vary from dark brown to black.

Street names for heroin: Smack, H, Skag, Junk, Brown sugar, Horse, Mud and Black tar.

How does heroin work in the body?
Users may snort, smoke or inject it. Heroin is a depressant. It enters the brain, where it is converted to morphine and binds to receptors known as opioid receptors. These receptors are located in many areas of the brain that deal with pain but also within the brain stem - important for automatic processes critical for life, such as breathing, and blood pressure. Heroin overdoses frequently involve a suppression of respiration. Know the risks of using heroin.

Read an open letter to a parent.