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Heroin is a narcotic derived from the opium poppy that was originally developed as substitute for morphine in an effort to deal with morphine’s addiction problem.  Research quickly showed that heroin was more addictive than morphine and as a result it was listed as a schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which makes it an illegal drug in the U.S.  Heroin at the street level is “cut” with a variety of substances, leading to a variation of purity (source: DEA).  One of the cutting agents being used today is “Fentanyl” which has been recently linked to numerous deaths in Carroll County and Pennsylvania (source: Carroll County Sheriff’s Office).  As pain killers are becoming harder to find, more users are moving to the next available product which is heroin.  The price of heroin on the street is approximately $120.00 per gram and $75.00 for a half a gram.

What does Heroin look like? 

Heroin is a white or brownish powder that also can be made into a black sticky substance known as “black tar”.  The color of Heroin can be different due to cutting agents used.

How is it used?

Heroin can be smoked, sniffed, snorted

What other names does Heroin go by? 

“H”, Big daddy, Brown sugar, Smack, Horse, Downtown and Mud

Where are some of the effects of Heroin?

Physical dependence, suppression of pain, euphoria, depressed respiratory rate, clouded mental functioning, nausea and vomiting (source: NIDA) Withdrawal effects include  restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes, kicking movements and a severe craving for the drug (source: NIDA)

Trends in Carroll County:

Heroin use in Carroll County is on the rise. According to the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigative Unit there have been three heroin related deaths in Carroll County due to heroin laced with the drug fentanyl.  Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate similar to but more potent than morphine.  It is typically used to treat patients with severe pain.  There also have been other deaths due to heroin overdoses in the County,  but some overdose results are pending and have not been confirmed by the Medical Examiner to determine if fentanyl was involved (source: NIDA, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Unit).

Regional Trends:

Heroin related deaths across the state have increased.  There has been 54% increase from 245 in 2011 to 378 in 2013 according to data from Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH).  These DHMH statistics are released on an annual basis.

Signs of Heroin use:  

  • Distancing from family and friends
  • spending more time “out” without reason
  • decreased performance at work or school
  • decreased personal care, such as not showering or changing clothes
  • unexplained expenses
  • possession of drug paraphernalia
  • reckless behavior such as stealing to obtain money
  • runny nose or constant sniffing- seen in those who snort heroin
  • needle marks on arms, legs and other parts of the body
  • slurred speech
  • confusion
  • hostility towards others, particularly if confronted with concerns
  • skin infections.


Click here to view Year to Date Heroin Overdose deaths


Carroll County Sheriff's Office • 100 North Court Street • Westminster, Maryland 21157
410.386.2900 or 1.888.302.8924

Equal Opportunity Employer

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office is committed to recruiting initiatives that reflect a fair and impartial representation of minority groups and females among its employees and applicants in approximate proportion to the minority composition of the Carroll County community.