Heroin and Opiate Medication

Brief Description

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone, codine, co-codamol and morphine.

Street Names For Heroin

Brown, gear, china white, horse, dragon, skag, junk and smack


How Opiates Work

Opioids attach to receptors in the brain. Normally these opioids are the endogenous variety that are created naturally in the body. Once attached, they send signals to the brain of the “opioid effect” which blocks pain, slows breathing, and has a general calming and anti-depressing effect. Opioids target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this system, which rewards our natural behaviors, produces the euphoric effects sought by people who misuse drugs and teaches them to repeat the behaviour.


Why Are They Addictive

The brain records the feelings of pleasure opiate drugs provide. It cues individuals to experience these feelings again by taking more of the drug. When people take an opiate more often or in greater amounts, the drug becomes less effective. The brain wants the pleasurable feelings opiates provide, but it and the body also want balance. They begin to produce fewer natural opiates to combat the over-presence of chemical ones. They become less responsive to opiate drugs. The reward system combines with tolerance to encourage ever-increasing opiate use.  Soon individuals don’t just take opiates to feel good. They must take them to avoid feeling bad.


Signs of Opiate Withdrawal

  • yawning, panting, sneezing and/or a runny nose
  • hot/cold flushes, goosebumps
  • trembling and aching limps
  • vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps
  • insomnia, anxiety, depression, enhanced sensitivity to pain and severe fatigue


Heroin and the law

Possession is illegal and can get you up to seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.

Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.


CGL Gloucestershire offer Methadone and Buprenorphine in the treatment of Opiate dependency.


For more information please contact CGL Gloucestershire on 1452 223 014