All opiates or opioids are made from substances derived from the poppy plant. If you’re unfamiliar with the flower, it was the reddish-orange flower Dorthey, and the Tin Man strolled through in The Wizard of Oz. This includes heroin, opium, morphine, OxyContin and all the others. Heroin comes in many forms, and you may have heard of it, but what is black tar heroin?
Heroin is made from morphine—derived from poppies and not from the pharmaceutical supply—and exists in many different forms. Heroin is white in its purest and rarest form, but it’s quite common to be cut. Cutting heroin involves adding other substances to increase the volume since it is sold by weight. The consistency of heroin varies greatly as laxatives, sugars, starches, powdered milk, and other drugs are added as fillers. In the last decade, fentanyl has become more prevent in the U.S. heroin supply. The drug’s unpredictable strength increases the risk of accidental overdoses. Because it’s been cut, black tar heroin is less pure than white and cheaper.
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What Does Black Tar Heroin Look Like?
Unlike other types, black tar heroin is sold in a solid-state. It’s dark brown or black and very sticky or even quite hard. Most if not all black tar heroin is produced in Mexico and predominately seen in the American West. The image below contains an example of what black tar heroin looks like.
Using Black Tar Heroin
Black tar is ingested in the same way as all other forms of the drug. It can be dissolved and heated so it can be injected intravenously via needles, and it can also be smoked. Since it’s hard or sticky, this generally prevents it from being snorted, but it can be smoked. drug black tar heroin is a controlled substance with an extremely high potential for addiction
Black tar heroin is a controlled substance with an extremely high potential for addiction. But the images we see of addicts on TV and in films are misleading. Heroin addicts are your brothers and sisters and not just the homeless person you see begging for spare change—the vast majority of people who use heroin started with prescription opioids. A sports injury in high school and a prescription, or a curious teen found a relative or friend’s parent bottle of Oxycontin in the medicine cabinet. These are the two most often heard stories. They soon become addicted and begin to buy the medication on the street. As tolerance builds up, the cost of buying Oxy or Vicodin soon becomes unsustainable. Facing withdrawal or getting “dope sick,” addicts often turn to the much cheaper alternative, heroin.
According to a study that appeared in The American Medical Association’s journal, JAMA Psychiatry, 75% of those who began their opioid abuse in the 2000s started with a prescription drug, like Oxy. If you suspect someone you love may be using heroin, some coming signs are:
- Falling asleep
- Pinpoint pupils
- Poor coordination
- Dry mouth
- Depressed respiratory system
Black tar heroin also carries the risk of severe and long term physiological consequences, such as:
- Hardening if the veins
- Venous sclerosis occurs when the blood vessel walls become hardened and unsuitable for injection
- Flesh-eat bacteria
- Necrotizing Fasciitis also caused by using contaminated needles
- Gas gangrene is a result of Clostridium perfringens bacteria entering the body via needles
- A bacterial infection as a result of using contaminated needles
- Clostridium botulinum bacteria gains entry via a needle used to inject black tar injection under the skin.
Other effects caused by using heroin include heart infections, abscesses, seizures, collapsed veins, HIV hepatitis, and death from overdose.
Recognizing the Signs of Heroin Addiction
The ability to spot the signs of heroin addiction could mean the difference between life and death. The most apparent sign is paraphernalia. Finding needles and syringe caps, burnt spoons, or tin foil are all telltale signs of heroin use.
You might be able to spot needle or “track marks” on the arms, legs, or feet. As heroin addiction progresses, people may begin to use less visible places such as between the toes to shoot up.
Withdrawal symptoms can be another obvious sign. Early signs can be cold or flu-like symptoms: runny nose, vomiting, sweating followed by chills, and achiness.
Behavioral changes may also be noticeable. Frequent lying, increased desire for privacy or secretiveness, mood swings, and theft may also indicate an addiction. People suffering from addiction also lose interest in activities and hobbies that once provided joy.
Fatal drug overdoses in Colorado increased by 59% in 2020. Nationwide, a record 90,722 overdose deaths were reported in the U.S. in 2020. Since 1999, 841,00 have died from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The opioid epidemic continues to rage from coast to coast and shows no sign of slowing. Using any opioid—especially heroin and fentanyl—will enviably lead to death if not treated. It may sound extreme, but have you ever met a 74-year-old long-term heroin user? No, you haven’t because he overdosed at 32. The point is, you or your loved one may think you’re OK now, but an overdose is possible at any time. Get help now before you become a statistic.
Please contact AspenRidge Recovery if you’re considering rehab. We have experience treating opioid, fentanyl, and heroin addiction. We use evidence-based treatment and therapy to treat the underlying causes of addiction. We have flexible schedules to accommodate working people and an online option if you’re not in the Denver, Colorado Springs, or Fort Collins area. Reach out at (855) 281-5588 to hear about or programs. We accept most major insurance.