Black tar heroin is a particular type of heroin that is very distinctive in appearance and noticeably much different than the commonly recognized powder form, which ranges in color from whitish to brown. Black tar heroin is a dark, tacky, tar-like substance that is far less refined than it’s powered counterpart but has the same effects, and the risks associated with its use are identical.
Black tar heroin is also commonly referred to as Mexican black tar heroin due to its central origin being drug cartels located in Mexico. There are some South American and Asian countries that have also trafficked black tar heroin, and it is commonly found West of the Mississippi River in the United States and also Canada. Black tar is frequently used in large western cities such as Los Angeles but can turn up almost anywhere drugs are being imported.
Because black tar heroin isn’t as refined as the powdered form, some users falsely believe that it’s not as powerful. It is just as potent as other types of heroin, however, and this misunderstanding of the drug’s potential for overdose can result in a user ingesting too much, as the user assumes that they require more of the drug to achieve the same high as powered heroin.
Effects of Black Tar Heroin
Heroin is a semi-synthetic opiate and mimics the same brain chemicals found naturally in the central nervous system that control pain and increase feelings of reward and pleasure. Once heroin has crossed the blood-brain barrier, it converts back into morphine, which then binds to opiate receptors. The initial response to heroin exposure is a rush of euphoria.
The method used to deliver heroin into a person’s system determines the rate at which effects occur. Still, regardless of how it is administered, in a matter of seconds, the user may experience a rush, followed closely by feelings of warmth and euphoria. This reaction occurs because morphine is not a naturally-occurring endorphin, and the messages that are sent through the body are very different and more intense than a response to a natural endorphin.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that intoxicating substances such as heroin and other drugs can produce up to ten times the average amount of dopamine, a neurochemical in the brain responsible for inducing feelings of reward and pleasure, which is what makes it so addictive.
Because heroin use causes feelings of extreme euphoria in users, this is, by far, the principal reason for its prevalence. Other short-term effects include the following:
- Heavy feeling in extremities
- Foggy thinking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Flushed skin
- Dry mouth
- Feelings of contentment
- Reduced anxiety and tension
- Nodding off
In general, all heroin use, regardless of the form or method of administration, is associated with the same effects. The primary difference between white powdered heroin and black tar heroin is purity. Moreover, black tar heroin is only about 30% pure, due to the more rapid, less refined process of manufacturing it, so it is, therefore, less expensive to buy.
Long-term effects of heroin use include:
- Collapsed veins
- Damaged tissues
- Infection of the heart
- Abscesses and infections
- Stomach cramps and constipation
- Liver, kidney, or lung disease
- Mental health conditions
- Erectile dysfunction
- Irregular menstrual cycles
How Black Tar Heroin is Administered
The most common methods of delivery of black tar heroin are by smoking or injecting. Since heroin is readily diluted in water, injection is particularly popular and is also the means that induces the fastest and most intense high.
Paraphernalia associated with injecting heroin include the following:
- A spoon
- Aluminum foil
- Cotton balls
- A belt or tourniquet
Those who smoke heroin typically use a lighter to burn it while it’s sitting on a small section of aluminum foil. They will then inhale the vapors from the drug through a small funneling object, such as a tube.
The use of any form of heroin, including black tar, is harmful and a threat to one’s health and well-being. Injecting the drug can lead to venous sclerosis, a disease that causes the veins to narrow and harden. This problem can make it challenging for a user to inject heroin into that same vein during future use.
Eventually, after long-term use, veins may collapse altogether, requiring users to inject the drug somewhere else on the body, even into muscles. Bacterial infection is another severe health risk associated with the use of black tar heroin. Infections, such as necrotizing fasciitis, can spread swiftly and be life-threatening in a short amount of time.
Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Heroin addiction is a destructive and potentially fatal disease that can adversely impact all areas of a person’s life. Treatment typically starts with a medically-assisted detox, a process in which the person is supervised 24/7 by medical and addiction professionals who help facilitate the clearing of toxins from his or her system.
Following detox, individuals are encouraged to enter a long-term rehab, which is characterized by a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that includes behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, peer group support, aftercare planning, and a variety of other therapeutic modalities.
You can reclaim your life, free from addiction to heroin, and begin to experience the happiness and wellness that you deserve! Contact us as soon as possible and start your recovery journey today!