Types of Heroin

Heroin comes in various forms. Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. The wide hue of color ranges in heroin is due to the impurities left from the manufacturing process or the presence of additives. Heroin is typically sold as a white or brownish powder or as the black sticky substance known on the streets as "black tar heroin." Although purer heroin is becoming more common, most street heroin is "cut" with other drugs or with substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Street heroin can also be cut with strychnine or other poisons. Because heroin abusers do not know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are risking overdose and possible death with each purchase of the drug. Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian poppy plant. Street names associated with heroin include "smack", "H", "skag", and "junk". Other names may refer to types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area, such as "Mexican black tar". There are two main types of diamporhine consumed by heroin users: diamorphine base (brown heroin) and diamorphine hydrochloride (white heroin).

Brown Heroin

Brown heroin is what's known as a 'base' rather than a salt, which means it doesn't dissolve in water very well. It is less pure than white heroin, making it less strong in the same quantities. Brown heroin also burns at a lower temperature than white heroin, making it ideal for smoking. Brown heroin is much easier to make than white heroin and doesn't require any special equipment or expertise. The most important thing about brown heroin is that it requires the addition of some kind of acid to make it soluble in water.

White Heroin

White heroin is a lot more difficult to manufacture than brown heroin. It requires an extra process that turns it into a salt, making it very pure and water soluble. However, special chemicals, expertise and equipment are required and the last stage of the process can be very dangerous - it involves the use of ether, a very dangerous chemical which can explode and destroy an entire laboratory if not handled carefully. Because white heroin is a salt it burns at a much higher temperature than brown heroin, so it is not much good for smoking. White heroin dissolves in very easily in water. For this reason, injecting white heroin has been the preferred method among users.

Black Tar Heroin

Black tar heroin is mainly produced in Mexico. Black tar heroin may 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 heroin in Mexico. Users of "Black tar heroin" do not typically refer to it as such, it rather has an abundance of street names including, Mexican Mud, Chiva, Tar, Boy and Dope. Black tar heroin is often sold on the street in its tar-like state at purity ranging from 25 to 80 percent. Commonly, black tar heroin is sold in small foil or cellophane packets or in small toy balloons.

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 it 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. Black tar heroin is cheaper and faster to produce than true heroin, especially when it can be successfully sold on the streets as heroin anyway. The assumption that black tar heroin is less diluted is a misconception. The most common adulterant is lactose which is added to black tar heroin via dissolution of both substances in a liquid medium, reheating and filtering, and then recrystallizing. This process is very simple and can be accomplished in any kitchen with no level of expertise needed. The high from black tar usually lasts from four to six hours.

Users who intravenously inject black tar heroin are at higher risk of venous sclerosis (a condition where the veins narrow and harden, making injection there nearly impossible) than users of powder heroin. Users of black tar heroin are at increased risk of life-threatening bacterial infections, in particular necrotizing soft tissue infection. The practice of "skin-popping" or subcutaneous injection predisposes heroin users to necrotizing fasciitis or necrotizing cellulites. Current research has stated that the rapidity with which black tar heroin destroys veins (forcing users to inject subcutaneously), along with its gummier consistency (requiring that needles be thoroughly rinsed between use), may put users at a lower risk of HIV infection. Also, at least one study has drawn attention to lower rates of HIV infection among injecting drug users in areas in which black tar heroin is the major form of street-available heroin, suggesting that this may be due to the need to heat black tar heroin to dissolve it (which also kills any HIV virus present in the solution). There are some common factors among all of the different types of heroin. All heroin, no matter what color or type is highly addictive. The potency of street heroin is rarely known. Because of the uncertainty of the contents and purity of heroin, the risks of overdose or death are much greater than with other illicit drugs. If you or a loved one is suffering from a heroin addiction- get help today, it could be the difference between life and death.



  • Recently most pure heroin has been sold on the streets which are incredibly dangerous due to the fact that some individuals don't realize how strong of a dose they are taking.

  • A few of the most common withdrawal symptoms may be anxiety, nightmares or restless legs.

  • The average heroin addict ingests between 150mg and 250mg of the heroin per day.

  • There are many severe long term effects from heroin addiction.

  • An addict's mouth will become very dry, when abusing heroin, as a side effect.

  • Random muscles spazums may occur while on withdrawal from heroin.

  • Heroin can be injected, snorted or smoked.

  • Within 6 hours of the last use of the drug may trigger withdrawal symptoms.

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