Heroin is one of the most deadly, powerful and addictive drugs in the U.S. Many people who experience a heroin high say they became addicted after only one time of using the drug, and it’s a key part of the opioid epidemic that’s currently impacting the U.S.

If you’ve never used heroin, you may wonder what a heroin high is like, or if you fear you have a loved one using the drug, you may wonder what the symptoms and effects of a heroin high are. More information about a heroin high is detailed below.

Article at a Glance:  

  • Curiosity is what leads many people to try heroin, and then they quickly get hooked on the drug.  
  • A heroin high starts off with a rush of euphoria and false sense of escape.  
  • However, some people have negative first reactions to trying heroin, or the positive effects are very short-lived.  
  • A heroin high typically lasts 15 to 30 minutes. 
  • After the first few minutes of a heroin high, a person often feels drowsy and sluggish for a few hours. 
What is a Heroin High Like?
Unfortunately, people often wonder what a heroin high is like and their curiosity is what leads them first to try the drug. There are also people who may have started out doing prescription painkillers, which are also opioids, and then moved to heroin because they found it was cheaper, more available or more potent.

So, what’s a heroin high like? What is it about a heroin high that hooks users so easily?
When someone first uses heroin, the high is often really pleasurable. They first feel a rush of euphoria and a false sense of well-being. It relieves pain and also anxiety and depression. It provides an escape for people, and heroin tends to be less of a recreational drug for a lot of people and more of something they take as a way to self-medicate.

Heroin binds to opioid receptors in the brain, resulting in what is termed as a “heroin high”. This sensation leads to changes in feelings, thoughts, and sensations.

While most people do feel the initial heroin high is pleasant, some people may have negative experiences, and it can depend on the individual.

The reason people chase the heroin high is because of the euphoria it can bring, and this is particularly true of people who might not otherwise feel a lot of pleasure naturally because they suffer from something like depression.

Other feelings often described with regard to a heroin high include a sense of safety, warmth, and well-being, despite what the actual surroundings or environment might be like.

If you feel like you have a loved one who could be abusing it, you may wonder what the heroin high symptoms are.

Some of the heroin high symptoms include slurred speech, flushed skin and a sense of happiness that seems unnatural. Other heroin high symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, itching, eyes that appear sleepy, and pinpoint or small pupils.

Following the euphoric rush of using heroin, people will also then become very sleepy, so they may seem extremely drowsy, or they could nod off randomly. For example, heroin users are often known to fall asleep anywhere and at any time.

The heroin high effects that occur when someone uses this drug can lead to overdose and death relatively easily. First, when someone is experiencing heroin high effects, they’re also experiencing changes in how their brain is functioning. This is why they have changes in their mood and perception.

When heroin enters the brain, it is converted back into morphine, and it then binds to the opioid receptors found throughout the central nervous system. That’s why heroin high effects include euphoria and pleasure. When heroin binds to the opioid receptors, it leads to a rush of feel-good dopamine that’s much higher than what you could experience from natural pleasure.

The heroin high effects that include the euphoric rush are short-lived, but following that, the person will feel very drowsy and can slip in and out of consciousness in what is referred to as nodding off.

The heroin high feeling begins with a person feeling extremely euphoric and having an unnatural sense of pleasure. After that, the heroin high feeling includes drowsiness and nodding off. It can also include feeling sluggish mentally, and that can outwardly show as slow or slurred speech, as well as confusion.

People who are experiencing the heroin high feeling may also have sensations of warmth, relaxation, and coziness.

The heroin high feeling that users describe as pleasurable may not keep happening after a person builds a tolerance to the drug. The pleasurable high feeling tends to dissipate or disappear altogether as someone develops a tolerance to heroin, and they may just use the drug as a way to avoid withdrawal, rather than feeling a true high.

So, how long do heroin highs last?

A heroin high occurs because excessive dopamine is released into the brain and it stays there for a period of time, which then creates feelings of euphoria. A heroin high begins relatively quickly after the drug is taken, but the feelings of pleasure and euphoria usually only last a few minutes.

The feelings of drowsiness and sluggishness that follow the initial heroin high can last for several hours.

How long a heroin high lasts can depend on the method of use as well. For example, when someone smokes or injects heroin, the high is more intense but also lasts longer as compared to when it’s snorted. When heroin is snorted, the high may be less intense but may last for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

If you or a loved one live with addiction or are using drugs recreationally and want to stop, The Recovery Village® can help. Reach out to one of our representatives today to learn how you can start on your path to recovery.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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