Black Tar Heroin

Black tar heroin is a type of illicit opiate narcotic drug formed from morphine. Black tar heroin has a varying consistency depending on manufacturing methods, cutting agents, and moisture levels. Black tar heroin can be black-brown, tarry goo in unrefined form to a uniform, or a light brown powder when further processed and cut with lactose. The amount of actual heroin Black Tar has remaining can be great or small. This is caused by the use of the antiquated Wright-Beckett process, which produces a relatively crude and unrefined opiate product but does not require the complex lab equipment, high-purity acetylating chemicals or lengthy steps necessary to produce pure heroin. Because of the simplicity related to the Wright-Beckett method, it is very popular with clandestine drug dealers that often set up operations in tiny apartments that are sometimes used solely for the purpose of black tar heroin production. Black tar heroin is potent, 40 to 80% pure, and costs around $20 to $30 for a small chunk. Black tar heroin is usually sold as a gummy pasty substance. Users of "Black tar heroin" do not typically refer to it as such, it rather has an abundance of street names that differ from region to scene; most of these names are also shared with true heroin, due to ignorance of the differing chemistry of these substances among its users. Some street names for Heroin include: H, Smack, Junk, Horse, Fix, Dope, Brown, Dog, Nod, China White, Black Tar, AIP, Al Capone, Antifreeze, Big doodig, China cat, Hard candy,Witch hazel, or Tootsie roll.

Southern California, primarily Los Angeles, has long been the major transportation and distribution hub for Mexican black tar heroin. The majority of the black tar heroin that is produced in Mexico is destined for U.S. distribution. Mexico-based heroin continues to dominate the market in the western half of the United States. Evidence suggests that trafficking organizations from Mexico are attempting to produce higher purity heroin, and this could add a whole new level of danger to the potent, often deadly drug. Mexican heroin distribution networks in the United States are managed almost entirely by criminal organizations operating from Mexico. Mexican-American criminal gangs are often put in charge of the street-level distribution of heroin. In the past, couriers typically smuggled only small quantities of heroin across the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, however, heroin is being smuggled in larger amounts as indicated by recent Drug Enforcement Agencies (DEA) reports. The DEA has begun to seize much larger shipments of black tar heroin, sometimes involving hundreds of pounds of the drug. The street value of these huge amounts of black tar heroin is often millions of dollars.

Black tar heroin can be sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal. The color may vary from dark brown to black. The color and consistency of black tar heroin result from the crude processing methods used to illicitly manufacture the drug. Commonly, black tar heroin is sold in small foil or cellophane packets or in small toy balloons. To develop customers quickly, sometimes dealers will specifically target methadone clinics. These clinics are where heroin addicts go to receive the drug methadone, which is supposed to block their need for heroin. These individuals become easy prey for the black tar heroin street dealer and frequently become regular clients. The potency of street heroin is rarely known and overdose often results. One side effect of black tar is the way that it interacts with your opioid receptors. Like other forms of heroin, black tar converts to morphine in your body where it can then attach itself to opioid receptors. These receptors are responsible for the way you feel pain, as well as play a major role in the pleasure or reward senses of your body. The activation of these sensors creates the euphoric rush felt during black tar drug use, and this is the beginning of the vicious cycle of heroin addiction.

Black tar heroin is most frequently dissolved, diluted, and then injected. Black tar heroin addicts place a small amount of black tar heroin in a spoon. The spoon they use is bent so that it sits level without spilling the heroin when it is placed on a table. Then they add a small amount of water and the black tar heroin is heated over a flame. Once the black tar heroin has melted, it is drawn up into a syringe and injected. This method of administration poses special problems because of the transmission of HIV and other diseases that can occur from sharing needles or other injection equipment. Paraphernalia for injecting black tar heroin includes hypodermic needles, small cotton balls (used to strain the drug), water, and spoons or bottle caps used for "cooking" or liquefying the heroin. The high from black tar usually lasts from four to six hours.

There are many negative health risks specific to black tar heroin. One of the major health problems facing black tar heroin users is the hardening of veins, which renders them unusable at a more rapid pace. This condition, known as venous sclerosis, may occur in persons who inject the drug intravenously. The collapse and hardening of the veins causes users to inject subcutaneously (under the skin), which causes its own problems. Black tar heroin's gummy consistency (tar-like) is one reason why needles clog up. This necessitates needles being thoroughly rinsed or washed between uses. Researchers recently found that this may account for why black tar heroin users have less incidence of HIV/AIDS infection than other drug users. Black tar heroin users are also less likely to share needles. Necrotizing soft tissue infection and life-threatening bacterial infections are also a risk with the use of black tar heroin. Subcutaneous injection, a process known as "skin popping," predisposes users to necrotizing fasciitis or necrotizing cellulitis, while injecting the drug deep into the muscles predisposes users to necrotizing myositis. Another risk is wound botulism, where the person's wounds become infected with botulism.
There is no safe way of ingesting heroin. Users can die from an overdose or become addicted by snorting, smoking or injecting it. Addiction can even result after the first or second use. Once addicted, black tar heroin users suffer severe cravings for the drug and are constantly in search of the next dose. The best way to avoid an overdose in the case of heroin addiction is to seek drug treatment before the next craving.



  • Injecting heroin into the bloodstream is one of the most dangerous way of using heroin.

  • Severe weight loss is a common side effect of using heroin.

  • Common withdrawal symptoms of heroin may be muscle and bone pain, uncontrollable kicking movements and cold flashes with goose bumps.

  • More severe heroin withdrawal symptoms are vomiting, insomnia and diarrhea.

  • Junk, dragon, dope and Mr. Brownstone are a few common street names for heroin.

  • "Black Tar" is a dark brown or black that has a tar like sticky feeling.

  • The age of first time heroin users has gotten increasingly lower, with more than 80% of them under the age of 26.

  • Over 3.5 million people in America (12 and older) report having a heroin experience at least once in their lives.

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