Heroin has become a huge problem in the U.S. There are individuals and families grappling with the effects of heroin addiction who never thought drugs would be an issue in their lives, directly or indirectly. Heroin is a detrimental drug in so many ways. It ultimately destroys the life of the person who uses it, and the people around them in many cases, unless they get help.

Understanding what heroin is and how to identify it are important for families and loved ones of people who may have a problem with this opioid drug. It’s highly addictive, but in some cases, it can be tough to know if someone even very close to you is using it.

The following outlines some of the key characteristics and features of heroin and also answers common questions such as why heroin smells like vinegar.

Why Heroin Smells Like Vinegar and Other Characteristics of the Drug
Heroin is a powerful opiate that originates from morphine. It was used at the beginning of the 1900s as a pain reliever and cough suppressant, but when the addictive nature of the drug was discovered, it became illegal in America.

Before considering specific characteristics such as why heroin smells like vinegar, it’s important to have a general understanding of what heroin looks like.

There are three general types of heroin, classified based on color. There is white heroin, brown heroin, and black heroin. White heroin and brown heroin may be slightly varied in color, but they tend to have a fine, powder-like consistency. Black heroin, on the other hand, has a thick, sticky consistency.

The most common forms of heroin are off-white or brown in color. The black tar version of heroin is also sold on the streets, and it’s a lower quality version of the drug that’s often made in Mexico.

There are different ways to use heroin, including smoking it, snorting it and injecting it and, less commonly, eating it.

When someone is going to inject heroin, they can mix the powder with a liquid to dissolve it and form a solution.

Many people have heard heroin smells like vinegar. The general answer to why heroin smells like vinegar is because it’s a result of the chemical processes that are used to make the drug. The smell is a result of the final steps of the synthesis process, and while vinegar is a smell often associated with heroin, it doesn’t always have a strong smell of vinegar. The better heroin is washed at the end of synthesis or the purer it is, the less likely it is to have a strong vinegar odor.

Black tar heroin is cheaper and less pure than other forms of heroin. The reason it’s dark in color is that the processing it goes through leaves impurities that are both chemical and bacterial. The solid form of heroin isn’t as strong as pure heroin, so this form of the drug is often mixed with acid and other additives to increase the high the person achieves. Ultimately, it’s these additives and other chemicals that contribute to why heroin smells like vinegar. With that being said, black tar heroin will have a much stronger smell of vinegar than any of the other types of the drug.

Also notable about black tar heroin is the fact that only about 25 percent is pure, and the other 75 percent may include toxins. Since it is cut with so many substances, it’s also difficult to understand the potency of black tar heroin, so this increases the risk of overdoses.

If you inject this kind of heroin, it can lead to abscesses, wound infections, gangrene, heart infections, and other dangerous side effects.

So, why heroin smells like vinegar is because of the chemicals used during synthesis, as well as additives it’s mixed with. Black tar heroin is likely to have a stronger vinegar smell than other types of the drug.

If you or a loved one live with addiction or are using drugs recreationally and want to stop, The Recovery Village® can help. Reach out to one of our representatives today to learn how you can start on your path to recovery.