heroin syringe

Heroin is a type of opioid that has been used for many years but with the opioid epidemic in full force, its use and abuse is only increasing.

The number of people in the United States who have reportedly used heroin at least once in a year has been on the rise since 2007, with this number hitting 948,000 in 2016.1 Part of the reason for this increase is the popular transition from prescription painkillers to heroin. If a person neglects to get treatment for prescription drug abuse, they may move on to heroin for a greater high.

The Various Forms of Heroin

Like many illicit or synthetic drugs, there are different types of heroin depending on the ingredients used and how it is made. The forms of heroin may look different, but they often contain a lot of the same ingredients and have similar effects. The different types of heroin include brown powder heroin, white powder heroin, black tar heroin, and other heroin mixtures.

Brown Powder Heroin

Brown powder heroin is the result of the first stage of purification. It may also be cut with lactose. Because it is not as refined as some of the other types of heroin, it is often cheaper. Most heroin users will choose to smoke this form of heroin. Brown powder heroin has an appearance similar to sand.

White Powder Heroin

White powder heroin is the purest form of heroin, but it may be cut with other substances. It looks as it is described except that sometimes the color may be a little off-white, beige, or even pink depending on the exact chemical makeup. People will typically inject or snort this type of heroin.

Black Tar Heroin

Black tar heroin can look drastically different from brown or white power heroin. True to its name, black tar heroin typically comes in black chunks and may feel sticky to the touch. Of all the different forms of heroin, black tar heroin is typically a lower purity. It also has a different and cheaper production process than other types of heroin, making it less expensive.

Other Heroin Mixtures

In order to try and get the most bang for their buck, some dealers will add fillers like flour, talc, cornstarch, or even sugar. Often, heroin can be laced with other illicit drugs as well to create more drastic effects. Sometimes these combinations may even include toxic chemicals or poisons. These substances can be extremely dangerous as they can not only lead to some unsafe chemical combinations, but also the amounts are not regulated. Someone who buys these drugs off the street can never be sure of what they are getting, and it could lead to fatal consequences. Because of this, it is important that people get help like with an intensive outpatient program sooner rather than later.

Some examples of drugs that can be laced with heroin include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Weed
  • Cocaine (Speedball)
  • Prescription opioids
  • Ecstasy

If you or a loved one is abusing heroin and cannot seem to stop on your own, we want to help. Our heroin addiction treatment in Philly works with people who struggle with this drug on getting their lives back under control.

Stop letting drugs or alcohol dictate your life; call us today at 888-280-4763 to take your first step to sobriety.

Sources & References:

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse - What is the scope of heroin use in the United States?


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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.