This thesis is concerned with heroin. Its use, addiction to it, and the policy measures that have come to surround both in what is now commonly known as 'austerity Britain'. It provides a set of interlinked arguments around these topics through the presentation of four journal articles and related theoretical engagement with data gleaned from an ethnographic exploration of heroin use in a deprived area of North-West England. Whilst the arguments here are diverse, they share one common thread; the need to rethink what we know about heroin at this particular point in time. To this end the thesis makes original contributions to criminological knowledge surrounding the ways in which drug addiction is researched; the socio- economic role(s) of heroin in marginalised communities; heroin assisted treatment techniques; and the ways in which drug policy problems, and some potential solutions to them, have been culturally (re)presented. Following this, the thesis then teases out some of the links between the above and in so doing, offers a unique and progressive theory of heroin addiction in the UK today alongside some tentative suggestions around the future directions of national drug policy. The potentials and limitations of the above, along with the areas revealed to be in need of future research, are discussed to close.