Heroin comes in different forms. One of the most recognizable is known as black tar heroin.

There are different forms of heroin and two of the biggest distinctions between them is how they look and what they contain. For example, black tar heroin is something often talked about, so people may wonder what does black tar heroin look like and smell like.

What is Black Tar Heroin?

Black tar heroin is a dangerous type of heroin. Heroin is a potent, highly addictive and often deadly opioid that’s derived from morphine, which comes from poppy plants. Heroin comes in different forms including white and brown powders, and then black tar heroin as well.

Black tar heroin gets its name from its appearance, which resembles black tar in color and consistency. It’s unique from other forms of heroin, which are initially sold as a powder, and it’s the only type of heroin that comes in solid form.

Certain regions in the world are known for the production of black tar heroin. In the United States, the majority of black tar heroin comes from Mexico. In the past, much of the heroin from south of the United States’ border was brown heroin. Brown heroin is considered very impure and low quality, but as Afghan drug producers began importing more high-quality heroin into the United States, Mexico created black tar heroin to compete.

Even though black tar heroin is purer than brown heroin, it’s still only 25 to 30 percent pure, and it’s much less pure than white heroin powder in most cases. The lower quality translates to lower prices, which is one of the biggest areas of appeal for many buyers.

Black Tar Heroin Effects

When someone uses black tar heroin, it’s a very powerful experience. That power, in addition to its low price, is another part of the allure of this type of heroin. It’s less refined than purer forms of heroin, so it’s cheaper to make and therefore cheaper to buy. However, the low price does not mean that its effects are less dangerous.

Black tar heroin effects can include relaxation, euphoria, and feeling very drowsy or nodding off. As with other forms of the drug, with black tar heroin users can feel nauseous, impaired, and like they lack coordination and concentration. Other black tar heroin effects include constipation, itching, diarrhea and dry mouth.

One of the most detrimental black tar heroin effects, aside from overdosing, is the risk of dependence and addiction. These risks are just as high with black tar heroin as with other types of heroin.

Black tar heroin is also dangerous due to its unknown content. Black tar heroin often contains additives and substances that can cause infections and health problems on their own.

When someone uses black tar heroin intravenously, they’re at a higher risk of getting an infection at the site where they inject it. Common infections include staph infections, necrotizing fasciitis and cellulitis. There’s also a higher risk of damage to the veins in people who inject black tar heroin, and it can lead to a collapsed vein.

What Does Black Tar Heroin Look Like?

If you wonder what black tar heroin looks like, or you’re searching for black tar heroin pictures, you’ll discover that it looks much like the name describes.

Black tar heroin looks like sticky tar, or it can be hard and look more like coal. The color and consistency of black tar heroin are like that because of the processing methods that leave impurities in it. In some cases, black tar heroin may also look dark orange or dark brown.

Black Tar Heroin Smell

The smell of heroin can be one of its defining characteristics, as people often say it has a strong vinegar-like smell.

In many cases, black tar heroin smells more strongly of vinegar and this is because of the chemical processes that are used to make it. Higher-quality heroin that’s purer tends to have been washed after it’s synthesized, so it may have minimal odor. Black tar heroin, since it is less pure and may have additives, will usually have a stronger smell.

Depending on what it’s mixed with, the black tar heroin smell may differ from batch to batch slightly, but regardless of what the exact smell seems like, it will still be more pungent than purer heroin.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more
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