Addict Help

Addiction Info Center

Home Drug Abuse in America – Costly Unchecked Epidemic Heroin Is Infiltrating Mainstream America Smoking Heroin – Heroin Vaping – Dangerous Way To “Chase The Dragon”

Smoking Heroin – Heroin Vaping – Dangerous Way To “Chase The Dragon”

LISTEN TO AUDIO OF THIS CONTENT

This term is a bit misleading. Calling it “heroin vaping” is a more accurate description of the process, since it’s the vapors produced by heating up the heroin that users actually inhale.

Most people who do smoke this drug simply place a dab on a small piece of tinfoil, hold a cigarette lighter or lit candle under the foil, and wait until it starts to bubble. Once it does, they inhale the vapors through a tube or funnel, such as a toilet paper roll. Tinfoil tends to be the surface of choice among users because it’s cheap, easily accessible, and the amount of heat applied to it is easy to control.

picture of person of smoking heroinSince it can be tough to hold the tinfoil, control a flame, and manage the tube all at the same time, people who smoke heroin often do so with a buddy. One person holds the tinfoil with the heroin on top and heats the heroin with a flame, while the other person inhales the vapors through a tube. Heroin that’s heated up only smokes for a second or two, so users will often take multiple ‘hits’ off the same dab.

Yes, for a few minutes – and then you crash – hard.

Also known as “chasing the dragon”, smoking this drug can produce a powerful high that’s incredibly addictive, but the rush is really short-lived and almost always followed by a sudden “down”. Some users even pass out before they have a chance to enjoy the high.

  • Heroin is an opioid. It’s in the same class of drugs as prescription medications like codeine, morphine, and methadone, although heroin is actually an illegal substance in the United States.
  • When heroin is heated and the fumes are inhaled, the active ingredients in the drug cause your brain to be flooded with the feel-good neurochemical dopamine – this makes some users experience powerful feelings that can include extreme euphoria, elevated self-confidence, and a belief that they are indestructible.
  • Because it’s an opiate, heroin can also provide temporary relief from physical pain.

In fact, heroin was once manufactured by the drug company Bayer during the late 1890’s and marketed as a treatment for TB and morphine addiction. It was even touted as a cure for children suffering from bronchitis, and for a short time, it was sold by traveling salesmen.

Safety

That depends on your definition of “safe”. While it’s true that smoking heroin eliminates the risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis, and other diseases that can be transmitted when using needles, smoking any opiate comes with some major risks.

Because heroin is strictly a street drug, it can be tough for users to know the purity of the heroin they are smoking. The actual amount of opiates can vary dramatically between batches of heroin, and dealers are known to “cut” the heroin with everything from rat poison to sugar in order to maximize their profits. Recently, a number of overdose deaths have been linked to heroin being cut with both fentanyl and carfentanil – two of the most powerful opiates on the planet.

Overdose

Contrary to popular belief, yes, you can overdose, and die, from this method of delivery.

Some users (and their dealers) will try to convince you that simply inhaling the fumes from heated heroin is relatively safe, but the fact is that it’s just as dangerous (and maybe even more dangerous) than shooting heroin.

When using heroin like this, the effects hit you fast – usually within 10-20 seconds or so. That means it’s incredibly easy to take one too many puffs, which can cause you to become intensely sedated – so sedated that you pass out, vomit, and choke to death in a matter of mere minutes.

Alcohol

Whether you snort, shoot, or smoke it, it’s an opiate, which means that it’s a central nervous system depressant – just like alcohol. Drinking alcohol and smoking any opioid at the same time can be deadly. Both substances slow down your brain functioning and breathing, which can cause you to lapse into a coma and literally suffocate to death.