This article presents something about the history and usage of heroin. The 'natural history' of a heroin using couple is described in the context of their involvement in family law proceedings. There is a description of how heroin is derived and how it is smoked and how it has to be prepared for injection. The actions of heroin on the brain and body are outlined, together with information on the medications used in the UK to help manage those with heroin dependency. In addition, hepatitis C infection is discussed, as this is the most common blood borne virus infection seen in UK heroin users. The course of heroin addiction is explained as is the commonly used 'cycle of change' model of addiction.
The full version of this article appears in the June 2013 issue of Family Law.