Impulsive temperament has long been considered as a risk factor for substance use disorders (SUD). Considering the heterogeneity of impulsivity, a biologically-based 2-factor model incorporating reward sensitivity and rash impulsiveness facets, has been proposed. Here we report how these two facets of impulsiveness could be associated with different aspects of dependent heroin use and associated risky behaviour. Two hundred and ninety three dependent heroin users and 232 non-users were assessed on reward sensitivity, rash impulsivity, and the related trait of punishment sensitivity. After adjusting for multiple comparisons, heroin users were found to be more rash-impulsive and reward-sensitive than non-users (p. <. 0.001). Within users, rash impulsivity was associated with high risk behaviour including escalating heroin consumption, injecting heroin use, hazardous drinking, low treatment-seeking and risky sexual behaviour. Reward sensitivity was uniquely associated with early onset of drug use. While greater impulsivity is a common trait in drug users compared with non-users, the use of a 2-factor model of impulsivity provides additional information regarding specific aspects of drug initiation and maintenance that can be targeted in the prevention and treatment of heroin dependence. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.