What Is Black Tar Heroin?
- Identifying Black Tar Heroin
- How It Is Made
- How It Is Used
- Effects Of Black Tar Heroin
- Risks Of Using
Black tar heroin is an impure type of heroin that looks like a lump of coal. It has several differences from other types of heroin, but it has many of the same effects and risks.
Black tar heroin is an impure type of heroin often sourced from Mexico or South America.
Like other types of heroin, black tar heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, which comes from poppy plants.
Law enforcement agencies have found black tar heroin to be abused frequently in locations such as Massachusetts, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and New York.
Identifying Black Tar Heroin
Black tar heroin can look and feel very different from other forms of heroin.
Here’s how to identify black tar heroin:
- What does black tar heroin look like? Black tar heroin can vary in color, including black, gray, or orange. It’s a sticky substance that resembles a lump of coal or roofing tar.
- What does black tar heroin smell like? Like many other forms of heroin, black tar heroin can smell strongly of vinegar.
- What does black tar heroin feel like? Black tar heroin might feel like a fine powder or a liquid depending on how it was made.
- What does black tar heroin taste like? Heroin may be identified by a taste that’s bitter or characteristic of the substance it was cut with.
How Black Tar Heroin Is Made
Black tar heroin contains more impurities than other forms of heroin such as white powder or brown powder heroin.
Heroin typically has a long purification process. Black tar heroin doesn’t go through every step of that process, so impurities are left behind.
Those impurities create black tar heroin’s distinctive texture and color.
How Black Tar Heroin Is Used
A person may use black tar heroin in several ways. Those ways include injection, snorting, vaporizing, and more.
Snorting Black Tar Heroin
Black tar heroin can be ground into a powder, much like other forms of heroin. From there, it may be snorted through the nose.
Liquifying Black Tar Heroin
Black tar heroin can also be liquified or mixed with water. In rare cases, a person may drink the mixture.
However, because this method takes longer and doesn’t have the same impact as other methods, most people usually opt for other uses such as snorting or injecting.
A person may also use liquified black tar heroin through a method called “water looping”. With this method, the liquified mixture is placed into a small bottle or a syringe without a needle.
Then, a person can use the syringe or an eyedropper to drop the solution into their nose.
Vaporizing And Inhaling Black Tar Heroin
A person can also vaporize and inhale black tar heroin.
After putting the heroin on a piece of foil, it’s heated using a lighter (foil and lighters are both common heroin paraphernalia). The resulting vapors may be inhaled through a straw or tube.
The Suppository Method
Finally, some people use black tar heroin as a suppository, mixing it with a liquid or another form of lubrication, and then inserting the mixture into the rectum or vagina.
Effects Of Black Tar Heroin
Like other forms of heroin, black tar heroin produces a quick high, often followed by a “crash,” or extreme fatigue after the substance wears off.
On heroin, a person may feel euphoric, energized, and outgoing while using heroin. They may also notice some side effects right away, including itching and dry mouth.
In the long term, using black tar heroin can lead to addiction.
Learn more about the side effects of heroin.
Risks Of Using Black Tar Heroin
The use of heroin may lead to serious consequences that require hospitalization, monitored detoxification, or help from health care providers.
These effects include:
- difficulty thinking
- heavy-feeling limbs
- sexual dysfunction
- irregular menstrual cycles
- heroin overdose
Risks From Impurities
Other risks of black tar heroin are more specific. For example, because black tar heroin contains impurities, those impurities can cause toxicity or infection.
For example, the impurities or additives in black tar heroin may sometimes contain clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that can produce toxins that destroy nerve tissue.
Risks Based On Method of Use
Further risks may depend on how a person uses black tar heroin, as different methods come with different risks.
For example, a person who inhales black tar heroin may face lung problems such as pneumonia. And people who swallow heroin can deal with stomach and intestinal problems.
Injection drug use comes with many additional risks, including:
- bacterial infections such as wound botulism and necrotizing fasciitis
- hardening of the veins (called venous sclerosis)
- collapsed veins
- HIV and hepatitis
Get Treatment For Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction impacts thousands of people across the U.S. and the state of Massachusetts. Although this substance use disorder is complex, recovery is possible.
If you or a loved one may have an addiction to heroin, don’t wait to contact us.
Spring Hill Recovery Center is a behavioral health center with many addiction treatment options.
We provide several programs designed to help people heal from substance abuse. Reach out to us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs in Massachusetts.
Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team
©2023 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved
This page does not provide medical advice.
- Journal of the American Medical Association — Wound Botulism Associated With Black Tar Heroin Among Injecting Drug Users https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/187346
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Heroin DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Heroin Research Report https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/overview
- NYC Health — Heroin https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/heroin.page
- The United States Department of Justice Archives — Heroin: Massachusetts Drug Threat Assessment https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs/658/heroin.htm
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration — Heroin https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/heroin