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Synthetic opiate
Analgesic (painkiller)
Most commonly injected
Mode of action:
1. Heroin mimics endorphins ­ these are inhibitory and blocks pain receptors
2. Binds to opioid receptors which are usually used by endorphins
3. Inhibits production of GABA and its release
4. GABA prevents the release of dopamine ­…

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Develops very quickly
First time user has mild withdrawal symptoms
Regular user has to take heroin to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms
The body stops making its own endorphins as they are being provided artificially

Psychological dependence
User cannot cope without fix ­ becomes obsessive
Progressively less satisfied with life


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