It is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. It can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar.
It is a semisynthetic product obtained by acetylation of morphine, which occurs as a natural product in opium: the dried latex of certain poppy species. Diamorphine is a narcotic pain relief used in the treatment of severe pain. Illicit heroin may be smoked or solubilized with a weak acid and injected. Whereas opium has been smoked since historical times, diamorphine was first synthesized in the late nineteenth century. Heroin is under international control.
Can you smoke heroin
It is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. It is typically sold as a white or brownish powder that is “cut” with sugars, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Its pure form is a white powder with a bitter taste that predominantly originates in South America and, to a lesser extent, from Southeast Asia, and dominates U.S. markets east of the Mississippi River. Highly pure heroin can be snorted or smoked and may be more appealing to new users because it eliminates the stigma associated with injection drug use. “Black tar” heroin is sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal and is predominantly produced in Mexico and sold in U.S. areas west of the Mississippi River.3 The dark color associated with black tar heroin results from crude processing methods that leave behind impurities. Impure heroin is usually dissolved, diluted, and injected into veins, muscles, or under the skin.
Use and overdose deaths have dramatically increased over the last decade. This increase is related to the growing number of people misusing prescription opioid pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Some people who become addicted to those drugs switch to heroin because it produces similar effects but is cheaper and easier to get.
In fact, most people who use it report they first misused prescription opioids, but it is a small percentage of people who switch. The numbers of people misusing prescription drugs is so high, that even a small percentage translates to hundreds of thousands of heroin users.1 Even so, some research suggests about one-third of heroin users in treatment simply started with heroin. Maybe they were mistakenly told that only one use cannot lead to addiction. Both heroin and opioid pill use can lead to addiction and overdose.
It is mixed with water and injected with a needle. It can also be sniffed, smoked, or snorted. Some people sometimes combine it with other drugs, such as alcohol or cocaine (a “speedball”), which can be particularly dangerous and raise the risk of overdose.