Route of administration

Whilst smoking heroin is probably the most commonly used route of self-administration, many heroin users subsequently climb the ladder of routes which yield increasing bioavailability, intensity, and speed of onset of the effect, moving from snorting intranasally, through smoking and subcutaneous 'skin popping', to intravenous use. Different types of heroin are preferentially used for different routes of administration, which themselves are markedly influenced by cultural bias; for example, chasing is common in Southwest Asia. Brown heroin from the Middle East is poorly water soluble but has a high oil content and 'runs' well on a heated foil, which makes it better for smoking. It may also be cut with caffeine, barbiturate, or methaqualone, which increases the extractability when smoked.(2) In contrast, white heroin from Southeast Asia tends to be more water soluble and better suited for intravenous use, although it may also be snorted or smoked after preparation.

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