What Does Heroin Look Like?

Heroin can come in many different colors ranging from white to black depending on if additives are used or not. The highly illegal substance can come in a powder or tar-like texture.

Heroin comes in many forms. The illegal substance can be snorted, injected, or smoked. It can come in the form of white powder when it is in its purest form and has a bitter taste. Non-pure heroin can also be seen as gray, pink/beige, brown, or black color due to various chemical additives being used to dilute the drug. Heroin can come in the form of a powder or a tar-like consistency. Some people wonder what a gram of heroin looks like? When comparing heroin to a common household item a gram of pure heroin looks like a quarter of a teaspoon of powdered sugar or one raisin.

Street Names

Heroin has a wide scope of street names that individuals who are addicted to heroin can say in order to obtain their drug. These street names or slang names are used so that the individual who is addicted to heroin is able to signal to the supplier the preferred drug while confusing the police who are searching for heroin suppliers. Another potential reason for using a street name is to disguise the activity of the individual who is addicted to the substance. These street names include brown sugar, boy, black, black tar, black pearl, black stuff, bald eagle, brown, china white, dope, mud, Mexican mud, Mexican horse, Number 3, Number 4, Number 8, snow, white horse, white girl/boy, white stuff, dragon, H, hell dust, horse, junk, nose drops, skag, smack, and thunder. These street names are used by individuals who are addicted to heroin to receive heroin straight. However, heroin is often mixed with other drugs to obtain desired effects. The mixing of heroin with other drugs changes the name. For example, if heroin is mixed with ecstasy an individual looking for this mixture would ask for chocolate chip cookies or an H bomb.

Different Types of Heroin

Heroin types have changed dramatically over the years with heroin being cheaper and more widely available than ever before. The different types of heroin that are being sold are dark brown powder heroin, light powder heroin, fentanyl on its own, and a heroin-fentanyl combo. A recent study found that the light brown powdered drug is prevalent in the United States.

Dark brown heroin has a bitter taste and smells like medicine. It can come in either a rocky, powdery, or liquid form. Light powder heroin has the appearance of an off-white or gray color powder that turns dark brown in liquid. Fentanyl is an opioid that is 30-50 times more potent by weight compared to heroin. Fentanyl is a lethal synthetic opioid that causes more overdose-related deaths than heroin on its own. Fentanyl ranges from bright white to off-white when in powder form and clear or slightly yellow in liquid form. The final type of heroin is a heroin-fentanyl mixture. This mixture is lighter than brown heroin, but darker than fentanyl when on its own and dry.  In liquid form, it varies from brown to a yellow or milky color.

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Heroin Packaging

Street drug packaging for heroin is generally wrapped in plastic and sealed with heat. Since the drug is highly illegal, dealers tend to package it as disguised as possible. This means that the drug can be found wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in small plastic zip-lock bags. Heroin can be also found in capsules that contain heroin powder. However, dealers are highly resourceful and heroin can be packaged in many different types of ways in order to conceal the content from the police.

Heroin body packers are people who ingest heroin packets and transport them inconspicuously. Drug smuggling through ingestion or other internal body concealment ways is an international problem. Individuals who smuggle packages of heroin can transport them across borders into different countries or even just nationally to avoid police detection. The ingested packets can look like a toy balloon covered with a latex glove and secured with adhesive tape. They can also be packaged with just an electrician’s tape. These ingested packets can be fatal to the individual who is transporting them due to bowel or stomach obstructions and exposure to heroin toxicity in extreme doses.

How is Heroin Used

Heroin is used by either snorting, smoking, or injecting it into the body. Highly pure heroin can be used by either snorting it or smoking it. Heroin that is snorted is done so by placing the substance on aluminum foil or another surface and snorting it using a straw or other item. Heroin that is smoked is typically placed on tinfoil and inhaled as smoke through a straw or another similar item. This form of use is typically more appealing to individuals who use heroin because it is less noticeable and there is less of a stigma attached to snorting or smoking heroin as opposed to injecting it. Heroin can also be used by injecting the substance into the body with the use of a needle. Typically, impure heroin that looks like black tar due to its dark and sticky appearance is dissolved, diluted, and injected into the veins, muscles, or any area under the skin. Heroin that is injected into a vein is known as mainlining. This type of use of the substance has a lot more social stigma attached to it due to the media’s portrayal of it.

What are the Risks of Heroin Use

There is a magnitude of risks associated with the use of heroin with the most severe being death. Chronic use of the substance can lead to pulmonary, heart, and/or skin infections, blown veins, abscesses, constipation, infertility, lack of ability to regulate stress, gastrointestinal cramping, and liver or kidney damage. High doses of heroin can result in physical dependence and addiction. Heroin addiction can lead to a ton of serious health conditions like spontaneous abortion, hepatitis, and HIV. The most serious health condition associated with the use of heroin is overdose. This can look like shallow and slow breathing which can lead to falling into a coma or even death.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a heroin addiction a high-quality rehabilitation center can help. These centers provide a wide variety of treatment options to fit the unique needs of each person looking to overcome their addiction.



Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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