What Does A Heroin High Feel Like?

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Heroin is a powerful opiate drug that produces strong feelings of pleasure and euphoria. The intensity and feelings of a heroin high can, however, vary depending on a few factors such as the method of administration and individual tolerance.

What Does A Heroin High Feel Like?

A heroin high begins with a euphoric rush that is intense but short-lived. This phase of a heroin high only lasts for about 15 to 20 minutes.

The initial rush is followed by a long and relaxing high that can last a few hours. Some people describe this part of a heroin high as similar to being in a trance-like state.

It is the initial rush from heroin that is the most sought-after, which can cause people to take more doses in quick succession. This may eventually lead to heroin addiction.

How A Heroin High Affects The Mind

As an opiate, heroin is a central nervous system depressant, meaning that it slows down functions within the brain.

This can make a person feel very relaxed and drowsy, almost to the point of sedation. It is not uncommon for people to abuse opioids to help them sleep, though this is very unsafe.

Heroin use also raises a person’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, which can flood the brain with feelings of reward, pleasure, and pleasant euphoria.

How A Heroin High Affects The Body

In addition to slowing down a person’s brain functions, heroin also slows down other functions throughout the body.

Similar to prescription opioids, which are often prescribed after a major surgery, heroin can also provide pain relief.

Physical effects of heroin may include:

  • slow heart rate
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • slowed breathing
  • drowsiness and sedation
  • decreased blood pressure
  • decreased body temperature

Heroin use can also have serious long-term side effects that include brain damage as well as contraction of serious health conditions such as hepatitis or HIV/AIDS (from IV use).

The long-term effects of heroin use can vary based on factors such as the duration of drug use, the overall health of the person using heroin, and the severity of the substance use disorder.

How Long Does A Heroin High Last?

The length of a heroin high can vary depending on a few factors, but a person can generally expect a heroin high to last around three to five hours.

Factors that influence how long a heroin high lasts include the method of use, the size and metabolism of the person using it, and the potency of the heroin used.

Learn more about how long a heroin high lasts.

What Factors Affect How A Heroin High Feels?

Multiple factors can affect how a heroin high feels, how long it lasts, and how intense it is.

Methods Of Heroin Use

Heroin comes in a white powder form that can be used by snorting or smoking, or dissolved into liquid and injected or plugged.

Injecting heroin is the most popular method of heroin use, as it is known to cause an almost immediate and extremely intense high.

History Of Substance Use

The intensity and feelings of a heroin high will also differ depending on a person’s history of both previous heroin use and use of any other drugs or substances.

For instance, someone with little prior drug experience will have a low tolerance and experience the high of heroin more intensely than someone who uses heroin or other drugs frequently.

Tolerance And Metabolism

Someone who uses heroin regularly will have a higher tolerance for the drug and may feel its effects less intensely.

Additionally, someone with a higher metabolism or metabolic tolerance will not feel the effects of heroin as strongly.

Signs Someone Is High On Heroin

It is not always easy to tell when someone is high on heroin or other opioids, at least not within a single instance. If a person is high on heroin more and more frequently, it should become clearer.

Signs that someone is high on heroin may include:

  • extreme sleepiness or nodding off
  • slow and shallow breathing
  • tiny pupils
  • flushed skin
  • clouded thinking
  • slowed movements

Read more about the signs of heroin addiction.

Dangers And Risks Of A Heroin High

Heroin poses serious risks from the very first time that it is used. These risks are always present and only increase as heroin is used in higher frequency or higher doses.

Dependency And Addiction

Because of its pleasant euphoric effects, it is not difficult for a person to become addicted to heroin and become dependent on it very quickly.

As a person builds up a tolerance to the drug over time as well, they will require more and more of it in order to achieve their desired results from it. They will also have strong cravings for it.

At this point, a person may find themselves experiencing heroin withdrawal every time they are between doses.

Risk Of Overdose

Heroin presents a serious risk of overdose from the very first time that it is used. This is especially true when heroin is injected intravenously.

In recent years, because of the increasing tendency to find heroin that is laced with fentanyl, the rate of heroin overdoses has increased across the United States.

A heroin overdose is a life-threatening medical emergency and can be fatal. There is a heroin overdose antidote called naloxone, which works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain.

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Opioids can be very difficult to stop taking, heroin included. The withdrawal symptoms are notoriously uncomfortable and prevent many people from being able to quit successfully.

It is important that anyone undergoing professional treatment for addiction also address their mental health and behavioral health as well as their addiction.


Most professional addiction treatment programs begin with a period of detox, which is often done in a residential treatment setting.

Medically monitored detox for heroin use allows a person to do this under the supervision of medical professionals while experiencing minimal withdrawal symptoms.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is one of the best treatment options for heroin abuse and can be very effective in treating opiate and opioid use disorders of all kinds.

This type of treatment uses opioid replacement therapy medications to help wean people off of heroin or other opioids in a way that is both comfortable and safe.

Medications used in MAT may include methadone and buprenorphine.

Find Addiction Treatment For A Heroin Use Disorder Today

If you or someone that you love is currently living with a heroin use disorder or substance abuse disorder of any kind, please know that you are not alone.

Please give us a call if you have any questions about heroin addiction that you need to be answered, or to get you or your loved one started at a rehab treatment center today.


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