Smoking heroin

Smoking heroin delivers the opiate from the lungs to the arteries. Then, it travel through the bloodstream and goes directly to the user’s brain. Read more about effects of smoking heroin and how it affects the brain. More here

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Smoking heroin causes addiction

Smoking heroin affects both the brain and body. People who smoke heroin experience feelings of intense euphoria and high. It’s usually these feelings that make them chase the drug, becoming addicted within a few days-weeks-months of use.

In fact, the consequences of smoking heroin can be devastating to your health. Are you eager to know exactly how smoking heroin affects your brain? What are the risk and side effects of smoking heroin? We explain more here, and invite you to post any questions in the comments section at the end of the page. We try to respond to real life questions personally and promptly.

What does smoking heroin do to you?

Smoking heroin involves vaporizing the drug, inhaling the fumes (without burning it), and breathing in the actual smoke. Smoking heroin delivers the opiate from the lungs to the arteries. Then, it travel through the bloodstream and goes directly to the user’s brain.

One of the most popular ways of using the drug , smoking dope is known as “chasing the dragon”. Still, injecting and snorting heroin are other equally addictive modes of administration. Why do people smoke heroin?

Many first time users begin by snorting or smoking heroin because they wish to avoid the social stigma attached to injecting drugs. They often believe that smoking heroin won’t lead them to addiction. People also take heroin via smoke because it makes the drug less detectable in the blood without affecting drug onset. In fact, a recent experiment showed that smoking heroin enables individuals to obtain similar pharmacological effects to those produced by intravenous administration of heroin.*

Does smoking heroin work or get you high?

Yes. Smoking heroin can get you high.

When smoked, heroin works in the body and brain by attaching to opiate receptors. Then, it creates a massive surge of dopamine. This gives the user an intense feeling of euphoria and high. People who take heroin can feel as if nothing can stop them; they experience a sense of power and increased self-esteem. Smoking heroin also results in pain relief, as the opiate changes the way the brain perceives pain.

However, heroin users who continue to use this drug are constantly chasing that high with every following dose. And as tolerance increases, people tend to increase the amount of heroin they use. This is when a dangerous situation arises. With higher doses or increased frequency of use, risk of heroin overdose increases.

Is smoking heroin bad for you?


Smoking heroin is extremely bad for you. Heroin is a dangerous drug, regardless of the route of administration. Heroin has devastating effects on your health and life. Smoking heroin damages your lungs and causes respiratory problems such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Heroin affects all organs of the body, including the heart, kidney and liver. According to many studies, smoking heroin can also cause brain damage.

Smoking heroin side effects

As a user continues to take heroin, pleasurable effects become overshadowed by a number of undesired side effects. Smoking heroin side effects occur due to the body’s adaptation to the drug. Heroin smokers may experience numerous side effects, including the following:

  • bluish lips hands and feet
  • confusion
  • dilated pupils
  • dry mouth
  • itchy skin
  • light sensitivity
  • low body temperature
  • nausea and vomiting
  • slowed respiration and heart rate

ATTENTION: Heroin overdose triggers serious consequences to body and the vital organs. If you suspect a heroin overdose, CALL 911 or seek emergency help immediately.

Smoking heroin on tin foil

Heroin is often smoked from glass pipes or it can be smoked off a sheet of aluminium foil. The logic behind smoking heroin on tin foil is that aluminium is a surface with low-heat capacity. In this way, a flame can be applied to the foil from below. The idea is to heat the heroin until it starts to boil. This vapor is then inhaled with the help of a tube.

Smoking heroin with weed

Combining cannabis and heroin is also known as “lacing”. It is unlikely that a person who smokes heroin would roll a joint and sprinkle it with heroin. Instead, lacing is most commonly done by marijuana dealers. Why? They want to sell cannabis with a lower THC level. Or, dealers aim to get customers hooked on something more than just weed, in order to maximize profitability.

When combined, heroin and marijuana have complimentary effects. This means that the depressant effects of the drug are multiplied. In order to prevent yourself from using laced marijuana, you must laboratory test your drug before using it. This is considered the only way to be 100% sure of what you are buying and using. It can also help to look and smell the drug before you buy it.

Can you smoke heroin?

People make the decision to smoke heroin.

Smoking and sniffing heroin don’t produce feelings of euphoric rush as quickly or as intensely as intravenous injection. But, regardless of the route of administration, heroin is highly addictive. Be aware that there is no safe way to take heroin. However you take it, heroin can ruin your life.

In fact, smoking heroin is one of the three main routes of administration. The other two ways of taking heroin is by injecting it or by snorting it. Injecting heroin is considered to be the most powerful, effective route of administration. But while heroin travels immediately from the veins to the brain of the user, injecting heroin leads directly to overdose and death.

Smoking heroin questions

Still have questions about smoking heroin? Please leave your questions here. We do our best to respond to all legitimate inquiries with a personal response ASAP.

Reference sources: NCBI: Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of smoked heroin
Justice: Heroin Fast Facts
NIH: Heroin
Stevens, A. (2013) Understanding Addiction to Heroin: Mary Pomerantz Advertising
* In an experiment done to explore how smoking heroin affects users, two volunteers in controlled clinical conditions were connected to a computer-assisted smoking device. The device delivered single puffs of heroin vapor to the human subjects. The Resuts? Heroin appeared rapidly in blood after administration and peaked five minutes after smoking. Physical manifestations of heroin use were also observed, and the effects showed dilated pupils followed by hysteresis.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I tried heroin for the first time as they call “Chasing the Dragon”. As I sucked through the straw, a hot piece of it sucked through the straw and burnt my throat right next to my uvila. I didnt notice anything on my throat or uvila until the next morning (Today) and I noticed 3 Yellow Spots where It had made contact. It hurts to swallow I’m assuming due to the burn. Pain hasn’t gotten worse and I haven’t noticed any other symptoms. But being what had happened, my question… Is it something I should be concerned about immediately or is it just a possible slight infection where it had burnt me to where I don’t have to act immediately and just monitor it? What do I do because I am very nervous and am stubborn with hospitals 99.9% of the time with everything. Please respond as soon as possible if any knowledge about this. Thank you.

  2. It’s such a beautiful drug, but is a cruel mistress. Avoid as you are forever an addict once on it, one day at a time ☹️

  3. I have the same question about water filtration. Does smoking h out of a water pipe or any device that filters the smoke through liquid h2o. I feel like sometimes I can tell the difference and sometimes it even feels like a different high, but I’d like to know with certainty if there is any evidence that the water filters out the active ingredients in the black tar h. Any info would help. Like are there any tests I could do or a way to test or prove my hypothesis at home or even in a lab somewhere that I could gain access to. I’m from Phoenix btw and have used for a few yrs off and on and I just want to find the safest way to use since right now I don’t have any other options until I can save enough to go to a decent treatment center or facility. Thank you all for the reading and responding. One love.


  4. Hello i have been using Heroin and opioid pain pills for about 10 years now… I have mostely been shooting the drugs during this time but recently as of 3 months agao started smoking it… I smoke heroin through a bong and dab it.. Some people say that smoking heroin through a bong with water in it makes the drug less potent as not putting water in the bong because they say the water filters out alot of what gets you high.. Smoking without water is way more harsh so id rather smoke with water.. I was wondering if there is any truth behind this and if it is true how exactly does the water make it less potant??? Thank you for your time and thank you for a responce i dont know if i should dump my water out again thank you..

  5. I have read several different articles and or websites on the physical effects from smpking heroin. My questipn is can smoking heroin cause swelling of hands and feet, and if so; why? Nothing I have read mentions this as effect it has on the body. Thank you for your time.

  6. Can you smoke heroin from a glass pipe used for meth use.? I ask cause I found this in my roommates room yet she is not ever been a meth user just herion..

    Hi guys! Now I felt the need to write here as I know a lot of you are here cause you are fed up, feeling helpless, frustrated, depressed etc cause you just cannot seem to get off the Smack (or any other addiction however I’ve been on the Smack train so I know exactly how hard it is to get off the Devils drug cause out of everything out there it really is. As they saying goes, the first and second time are choices however after that you are possessed. So true as your brain receptors get messed up which is why you just need and want the shit no matter what.)
    I have been on it 3 and a half years starting off with a 10 bag a day but up until the last few months I was smoking up to 150 worth a day. Now over the years I have been off it a few times by leaving the country to get away from it and doing loads of research before to try and get off it. There’s a list of six vitamins which actually help repair the receptors etc. Other than that up to two weeks ago I felt completely helpless as I was smoking more and I could not seem to get into the right frame of mind to attempt to get off again. Over the years I have watched many documentaries etc and up to recently I finally found the cure for myself. Two weeks and I do not feel the need or the want of it. I am ESTATiC! Even going down to my dealers house where everyone was smoking and having bets that it would not work I was actually repelled by the smoke. 🙂 I now know in my heart that I will never go on it again…not this time as I am completely done and I have not felt so good in an extremely long time..mentally and physically. I’m finally outta the rutt I was stuck in and now I feel that it is my place to try and help others that really know that they want to and are ready to get outta this hell.
    By the way just before I go…My Addiction councilor whom I have only seen twice before confirmed with me that the hospital was pushing her to get me on the Methadone programme which I did not want to do as I could get the stuff myself which I used for the days that I had to go to work. The Doctors, nurses, government, pharmacies etc do not give a shit about addicts as much as we would like to think. The Doctor in our town makes over 100 000 a year just on Methadone prescriptions every year. So for every new person he signs up he gets paid…same like everyone else. As I said to my councilor who fully agreed with me they are just giving everyone a second addiction. (There might be one or two people mind you who manage to get clean with the Methadone but only the bare minimum) Everyone in this town that I know are on Methadone and Heroin plus tablets and stuff which is why there are so many overdoses. So, I really do hope that my post does not get removed as well as my email cause I feel it is my calling to help those who really want help.
    Take care everyone for now! Peace to All! 🙂

  8. Hi everyone so I just got home from one of the most weird and crazy and intense night’s of my life so before I start I just want to say I have never did anything. I have only drank. And smoked we and I did Molly and tripped when I was like 20.22.years old I am 32 now. So to keep a long story short I went to a under ground dub step show. Party….. My after like two hours I started talking to this beautiful girl I was a little drunk about three hours in and this girl told me come on I am leaving I want you to come with me I said ok so we and up at her apartment we have some more drinks and she went to her room and change into lang era. But tasteful. We start hooking up anyway she telle to close my eyes oh ya we smoke some weed to so I am feeling it at this point so I close my eyes and she puts some in my month and tell me to hit it as I hit it hard she start play with me down there very softly I hit this thing like 6 time and it was turn me on for some reason big time she undress me to my boxers. She got me blind folded on the bed as she play with me. I tell her I feel like I am going to cum so she sits on me and as I am in her I can hear her get something out her table for about five mins she doing something and everytime now she just sitting on me with me inside her every once in a while she will move a little so I don’t get soft and don’t cum the she tell me she going to give me something that well make me feel amazingly as we have sex I say ok no soon then I get the word out I feel a little prick didn’t hurt at all like 5 second I feel this crazy feeling run throw me and she start going at it. She didn’t let me pull out a came in her four times. And after all that I passed out the next day I woke up to her sucking and riding me again and she made sure I came in her after we are laying there and I asked what was it you gave me I never came so much and so hard and long 6 hour of cum sweet passion it was out of this world then she told me she gave me cook? And injected me viagra and heroin. I didn’t know what to say I feel like I need to sleep for a week.

  9. Hi! It pains me to see the same old misconceptions being perpetuated just to fuel fear and paranoia. Let’s break this subject down… Demonization of heroin has made many (who never used and don’t have experience with it) perceive the substance as “alien” to the body, an intruder that shouldn’t be inside our organism and only plays a negative role in it. Wrong! Opiates played such a fundamental part in our evolution (regarding our well-being and good functioning) that we are genetically disposed to crave it from birth: an inheritance from our ancestors! In fact, the only reason everybody is even able to get up in the morning and function properly is because our brain produces a copy of morphine (endorphines) and dopes us up with it, making it act as a pain filter on the central nervous system (just like morphine would). So, yes, that means WE ALL depend on opiates! Our organism prefers the real thing, though, that’s why it will cancel the production of the “copy” if you give it what it has been craving since ever: morphine (or similar)! In short, what people call addiction is not a “problem” the body encounters, but instead an upgrade! Our system embraces it because it believes you will not stop feeding it anymore. That’s why it triggers the production of dopamine, so that you’ll recognize A GOOD THING and don’t quit it. The benefits of endorphines are already ALL included in heroin/morphine but enhanced, stronger. Besides, the cancelation of endorphine production allows our organism to save protein availability, since it no longer has to use it 24/7 to build the molecules out of it. That’s very important since protein availability is limited, we can only process a top of 3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight daily (no matter how much you intake) and it’s easy to run low on it during a crucial bodily task, like fighting a disease. Opiate intake also boosts the immune system up, rendering a person nearly immune to colds or the flu, as well as promotes a balanced sense of euphoria, satisfaction and tranquility (optimum to fight depression or nervous related diseases). I could go on… It’s time to stop the one-sided propaganda of fear and teach also the other side of opiate use: the advantages!

  10. I’m 60 years old and I’ve smoked heroin since I was 35 and I suffer no health problems , I lead a busy life and I eat healthy food so I don’t suffer from any of the side effects you mention except for the vomiting , I was so stupid to combine heroin smoking with drinking weed tea with cow’s butter and that made me vomit a week ago because I never eat butter or any dairy so that made me ill , not the heroin !

  11. My brother says that he’s “safe” because he smokes heroin every three days. What’s the basis behind this belief? Obviously, I don’t think it’s possibly true but I’d like to be able to respond with facts.

  12. my name is lori, my daughter 24yo and her bf 20 are both smoking heroin. they’ve been doing it in my house, in their room. i really started becoming aware of it for the past month and a half. i started noticing the constant need for money. she stopped working, when she was working she was very unreliable. she quit college 1 month shy of her b.a. degree. she can’t pay her bills etc etc. it makes me feel so sad. it’s like i mourn my daughter. i want her back so bad. she recently moved w/ her bf to the next town about 45 min away. i miss and worry about her. i worry about her emotional state. i recently went up there and got some of their pictures printed and we went to a thrift store to find pic frames they liked, bought her candles, just trying to make her remember when she like to buy things like that. i want her to miss the life she had before heroin. i know im enabling and understand now that im leading with my emotions. its just so hard to let go. im afraid she’s never going to come back. its so sad. i need help cause i have another daughter and a grandson that i feel aren’t getting the attention they need and deserve. it feels like this addiction is hogging up everything out of me. my money, emotions, hope etc.

  13. Hi there everyone I do know anything much about drugs.. I need some advice.. My brother has a drink problem but he has friends that smoke heroine.. lately he has come home drunk as anything and getting horrible towards us.. He is saying that it’s his friends smoke and not the cider that he is drinking.. is he getting high from there smoke and horrible from that

  14. My son was arrested for a small amount of marijuana and a small amount of heroin . One tiny rock the cop said , after retrieving his car I found more heroin in his room . I’m pretty sure he’s smoking it either lacing weed or in a bong . question is how serious is the withdrawl process process . how do I dispose of what I found.

  15. my roommate has been smoking H in her room and but my kid is in the next room there water controled heater vents are connected. there has been times when they would open thier door and clouds of smoke would come out. not it does smell like cigarette smoke but “chasing the dragon” is a vapor right|? so theres a very high chance my kids room could be filling up with H as well.he says he feels dizzy alot of the times he sleeps most of the day. if this is the reason why. im gonna freak right now!!!!

    1. Hi Shar. It may affect your kid. However, you need a healthy environment to raise your kid, and an addict in the next room is not on the list.

  16. Greetings y’all. Decent piece above in relation to smoking heroin. I am from Dublin,
    Ireland and am living here now, started using heroin in London in 1991, and permitted it to accompany wherever I went for the next 26 years, including a year in San Francisco and another in Chicago. I used IV for the bulk of that time, but also smoked a fair bit – the brown powder gear that is predominantly prevalent around Europe is very conducive to doing just that.
    Anyway, I would have been very much in the “you can’t OD smoking gear” camp, until the events of 9 August 2016, which by delightful coincidence was my son’s 4th birthday. I had been in rehab for the month of June, came out a mess, and initially started relapsing on coke and crack. However on 8 August I scored a 30 euro bag of h, having already snorted a couple of grams of coke and drank some wine. Naturally I was aware my tolerance would have vanished, so I approached with caution, and when I chased the gear on the foil I got an enormous shock, as I swear after going up and down once with it I felt a rush reminiscent of banging up and a sense that this was ludicrously strong gear, low tolerance or not. So wary was I that I only did 2 more up and downs of it before putting it away and stretching out on the couch to watch some TV.
    And it was on said couch that my wife found me at 7.30am the following morning. Blue. Struggling to breathe. Blood emanating from nose and mouth. Barely alive, but making, she said, the most insanely chilling animalistic groaning noises of extreme agitation. I barely remember my own shock at coming around with paramedics looking at me.
    Turned out that my gear contained fentanyl. There were several deaths in Ireland and UK around that time. I am a very lucky boy………..

  17. Need good advice & help.. my situation has to do with my husband, and possibly myself for the “codependency” from what I’ve read about. Our story starts about 8 yrs ago. I met him through friends and very quickly became addicted to heroin. He was using it already so part of him already had that desire of wanting it. Through out the years we’ve been through withdrawals, struggles and even almost having our daughter taken away. Now at the time that happened I decided it was best to part our ways, because in my eyes I couldn’t bare the fact of me not having my daughter. She wasn’t even 1 yrs old. I admit it was hard to over come my heroin addiction, but eventually I did. My daughter is 6 now and I have been clean no relapse for 5 years. I’m very thankful. Back to my husbands battle.. he unfortunately was not able to completely decide to stay clean & not relapse. He’s been in & out of jail. And even though I’m clean, it breaks my heart. I love this man very much. He loves his family and is never violent .. the drug addiction however just won’t go away. Part of me feels sad, mad, anxious and in my mind not fair. I made the choice to stay away from it and I pray & wish he could do the same. I’m so confused & have no idea what to do because I did not go to rehab I quit on my own & found my inner strength through my daughter. How can I help him through this without making it seem like I’m being judgmental or making him think I’m better? I don’t want him to think that. I want to help & support him but I just don’t know how. It hurts and breaks my heart whenever I find out he relapsed .. I don’t want to sound selfish but part of me gets so upset that he can’t get better for me & his daughter. Someone please help! :'(

  18. I have two new room mates, they just moved in on June 1st. The last day or so I’ve been smelling something strange, and feeling light headed within minutes of the smell.
    This afternoon I walked in the front room, and at first I though they were smoking pot, but there was that smell, but 10times stronger, and I now have the most intense headache.
    I personally have never gone on the drug path. I don’t judge, or saying anything, unless it is directly effecting me.
    when I asked what were they smoking on tin foil, at first they tried to day it was hash, then one of them confiflded in me and said they both are addicted to smoking herion.
    I requested out of respect for me, to not do it anywhere, except in the privacy of their room. Now that smell is coming through the vents, and even my back yard smells like it because they keep their windows open.
    I know what needs to be done, I’m giving the move out notice by the end of month.
    The consist exposure to the smoke and smell, what risk are to me now? With my job, were are required to drug test twice a month.
    Any information would be welcome. thank you.

  19. Im from macedonia i don’t know if i can get contact this number.From which country is this number i belive that they will help me with they conversations i need to speak with someone like them i speaked with people who has stoped to do heroine for a 5-6 years but they didn’t help me they only tell me if i really want to stop i will do but when i finish with work im working in restourant and disko for weekend i don’t have what to do after and im buying heroine and go home to smoke on foil and sittin till 6-7 in the moorning and then im going to sleep and when i wake up in 3 clock on afternoon im smoking again and in 4 a clock im going on work but in 10 hour in the eveening i have crises and doing one line on the nose on job i can live like this anymore i hated heroin before 3 years alot and then i have been adicted i still can belive that im addicted on heroin and my mother and father know this and im very ashamed from them i can look them in the face becouse im speending alot of money maybe 500 euros only for heroin just for 1 month and then i found this site and asked you lydia how can you help me if you can speak with me to tell you my facebook account and speak with me there i will be happy just for a momment.Goodbye have a nice evenning 🙂

    1. Hi Baze. The helpline is mainly aimed for people that are US based. However, I’m contacting you via private email to discuss local help options.

  20. Hello!
    Im 25 years old and im heroin addict for 2 years im doing everyday 1 gram on foil sometimes and more when i have more money…before 1 year ago i stoped to do heroine but i treated home on my own not on doctor.I was only in doctors office to ask for some advice and he tells me if i dont use methadone or bubrenophine i will start to do heroine again and he was in right.I need from you some advice how to stop smokin heroine im tellin you im only afraid from my psychic crises not from pain in my body and when my bones is hurting me im very week mental please give me some advice what can i do to stop doing this bad stuff im very young and i never try it on injection i only smoked and im 60kg before using heroine i was 80 for 2 years i have lost 20 kg and my teeth’s is hurting me i must stop to doing but i really need some advice and answers from you i telled you what is my problem only im afraid from my mental weeknes not from my pain goodbye have a nice day.

    1. Hi Baze. Call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7. You will speak to a sympathetic, well-trained individual who can help you find a reliable recovery program that will meet your treatment needs.

  21. my wife recently relapsed and was only smoking a small amount of heroin in a morning and before bed (about four of five small lines on foil) for around seven days…. she realised she had mad a mistake and stopped and had gone for help. Does doing this small amount for this short period of time require a full scale drug recovery program or is it like i suspect where the thought of the rattle is actually worse that it will be from doing a small amount everyday for a week

    1. Hi Karl. Call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7. You will speak to a sympathetic, well-trained individual who can help you find a reliable recovery program that will meet your wife’s treatment needs.

  22. HELP! I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost two years now and he has been struggling with herion addiction. (smoking) When we first started dating I had no idea; obviously or i would not have gotten involved. He had told me he struggled with it in the past and was on certain meds to help the situation which I delt with and he promised to get off them eventually. I honestly do think he was clean when we first got together but who knows anymore.

    Time and time again i’ve been lied to as he relapses. I’ve stuck by his side hoping i can help him get through it and to be there for him. He’s done rehab suboxin and really at this point i dont know what else we can do. Currently he is trying to switch back to suboxin so that he can get some kind of shot or implant that will not allow him to get high. Everytime he does this he just gets crazy, violent and i know its the drugs making him say these mean things but its hard for me to put that past me.

    He’s broken things ( 2 tvs, vases, plates, xbox) as well as shaken me and pushed me down on the bed and yelled directly in my face; also verbal threats and name calling all out of anger when he is coming down i guess or trying to switch. He relies on his parents for money, has no job, and lives at home at 28 years old. Why am i even in love with this guy. I wish i could just step away from the situation and not care. other than his parents who know of the situation as well i have no one to talk to, no one who understands. I’ve never been around a drug like this or others who share the same issue. I want to help but i just don’t know what to do anymore. He convienced me to also move into his parents guest house with him until we can both get back on our feet assuring and promising me that he was clean and get a place of his own except he has yet to even look for a job and come to find out he didn’t even tell his parents (luckly they love me). I’m just lost… I don’t know what to do anymore

    1. Hi Erin. First, I suggest that you look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions. One NGO called Allies in Recovery has some online reading that can help:
      Moreover, our contributor Amanda Andruzzi, speaks from a personal experience as an ex-wife of an addict. Feel free to leave a comment on some of her articles, she will respond personally and promptly:
      Finally, call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7.

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