There are many drugs that are illegal, and they are not able to be in your possession or used by you without specific permissions from the government (clinical trials, for instance, or laboratory use). For example, heroin is illegal and has no known medical use in the United States. However, it used to be used to manage pain before it was discovered to be extremely addictive. As a result, people today may be prescribed pain medications in the form of opiates. That doesn't mean that heroin can be used or that it should be used by anyone since the risks are too high.
What is the major risk of heroin?
The major risk of heroin is its addictive nature. It is an opioid, so it does treat pain. However, there is a high risk of overdose.
Patients sometimes end up taking heroin when they are no longer able to access opiate medications. Here's an example: If you take Vicodin for pain for several months and then are no longer able to have the medication prescribed to you, you may feel you have no choice but to turn to illicit drugs. However, heroin is nowhere near as safe, and it is illegal. This can lead to an arrest and penalties.
If you are addicted to drugs including heroin, cocaine or others, it's important that you reach out for help. If you are arrested, there is a possibility that you could seek assistance through an alternative drug court, which may be able to order drug addiction treatment instead of sentencing you to prison.