How Is Heroin Made?
Heroin has destroyed the lives of many people who have struggled with a heroin use disorder. It’s available as a powder or a solution that quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier and allows the individual to feel an intense, euphoric high. Not only is that high short-lived but heroin can also quickly lead to a tolerance forming in an individual who regularly uses this opioid.
When someone misusing heroin builds a tolerance to it, they will never achieve the feeling of that initial high again and the euphoric effects of the drug will decrease over time. Unfortunately, this can lead to an overdose because the person tries to chase that initial, powerful high they experienced the first time they misused heroin.
Some people often wonder how people make heroin, since it’s synthetic. In general, the making of heroin originates in production facilities and there even is a heroin production process. Heroin is derived from the seed pods of heroin poppy plants, which create a sticky substance that is mixed with certain chemicals to then create heroin. So ultimately, when looking at what is used to make heroin, it starts with a natural ingredient, but what happens after that is anything but natural. There are a few primary types of the heroin plant that are grouped based on their color and appearance:
- White heroin usually comes from Southeast Asia, and it’s powdery in consistency and is easier to dissolve into a solution. In the U.S. this type of heroin is most often sold in the eastern portion of the country.
- Black tar heroin is usually manufactured in Mexico, and as the name implies, it’s dark and sticky in appearance. It’s processed in a way that makes it cheaper, and it also has a lot of additives. Because of these additives, when someone uses black tar opium they often experience infections and sores at the injection site.
- Brown heroin often comes from Southwest Asia and is brown and powdery. It’s harder to dissolve brown heroin than white heroin in water and acid has to be added to it to do so.
There’s also something else that’s recently hit the market called cheese heroin, which is laced with acetaminophen and diphenhydramine hydrochloride. This combination makes this type of heroin incredibly deadly because of the significant respiratory depression it causes. There are also heroin solutions that can be injected directly into the veins. Regarding the process of making heroin, in addition to the primary ingredients, many people don’t realize that the majority of all heroin sold in the U.S. is cut with other substances. It’s basically impossible to determine whether an individual is getting pure heroin or if it has something else in it.
What is Heroin Made Of?
Recognizing what plant is used to make heroin is key when exploring the heroin making process. It’s not just the effects of the drug itself that are damaging to people, but also the additives it’s cut with. If you purchase illicit drugs, you never know what you’re actually consuming. During the heroin manufacturing process, it’s very frequently cut with additives to make it more profitable for the dealer. Some of the things heroin is cut with are incredibly dangerous, particularly if they’re injected into your veins. These harmful ingredients can include quinine, which is a medicine used for the treatment of malaria. If heroin is cut with quinine during the production of heroin, it can cause side effects like kidney damage and serious bleeding problems.
Other things the heroin flower is cut with include caffeine, starch and powdered milk. A relatively new trend that’s also increasing the number of overdose deaths is the addition of fentanyl to heroin. Fentanyl is extremely powerful, much more so than heroin alone, and it can rapidly lead to a fatal overdose. Fentanyl in heroin is particularly fatal because people typically don’t know the heroin they purchased contains the drug. There may also be morphine and codeine added in, making heroin full of impurities. Heroin is a drug made from poppy plants but it’s important to know that what is used to make heroin can change during heroin production. The consistent impurity of heroin manufacturing in the U.S. is one of many reasons it’s so dangerous, answering the question of what is the source of heroin can mean the difference between life and death.
What is the Opium Plant?
Opium is a plant product obtained from the poppy plant. Opium is the natural ingredient in many drugs produced by pharmaceutical companies and it’s important to know as a consumer what drugs are made from poppy plants. The opium from poppy plants have been recognized in images dating back to as early as 4000 B.C. The opium tar was used by ancient civilizations for treating asthma, stomach illnesses and bad eyesight.
There have even been wars fought over the poppy plant because of how reliant civilizations have been on the opium plant. The effects of eating or smoking opium were discovered by people in the 18th and 19th century. Several writers and artists used opium from the poppy plant for inspiration. Poppy plants have been used throughout history for the production of opium from the poppy flower. Heroin is just one of the several drugs derived from poppies.
Drugs Made From the Poppy Plant
Naturally occurring alkaloids, also known as opiates, are contained in opium. Opiates are often used to manage pain but the substances are also highly addictive. Opiates are also used in illicit drugs that are not sold by pharmacies, that’s why it’s important to recognize what drug is made from opium. The process for turning opium into heroin varies, depending on the purity of the heroin manufacture.
Making heroin from opium involves several steps and different chemicals to produce a form of heroin that is pure. The goal for most people in heroin creation is to produce a highly potent form of opium that provides a quick, intense high. When the the steps of producing heroin from opium change, it can result in less pure forms. For example, if the opium sap is left in a water/lime mixture overnight to extract the morphine, this can result in a brown powder being created. This brown powder is also referred to as opium black tar. It’s important to be aware of how to process heroin so that you can recognize the risk of misusing the drug or help someone else who is struggling with a heroin use disorder.
Have more questions about Heroin abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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