Author: James Anderson

What is heroin and how is it used? National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA

what is black tar heroin

Trent Carter, a seasoned nurse from Curednation who specializes in addiction medicine, says that heroin, including black tar heroin, is highly addictive. Regular use can often lead to physical and psychological dependence. In the 1990s, black tar heroin use increased in the United States, and botulism became more widespread among injection drug users. From 2000 to 2004, more than 30 heroin or cocaine users in Europe developed botulism. Researchers found no confirmed cases of botulism related to drug use in the U.K. Black tar heroin is known to cause a range of physical and psychological effects on the body, both short-term and undesirable.

It also increases exposure to blood-borne pathogens like HIV and Hepatitis C. Its dark color is due to the crude processing method that leaves behind impurities. The addictive nature of black tar heroin poses a substantial risk for its users. This drug, like other forms of heroin, has been found to cause physical and psychological dependence. People who intravenously inject black tar heroin could develop venous sclerosis, a condition characterized by the narrowing and hardening of the veins.

Treatment includes medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone, comprehensive behavioral therapy, and support systems. Detoxification under medical supervision is often the first step. It is vital to tailor treatment plans to the specific needs of each individual. When dealing with black tar heroin use, it’s critical to take note of the indicators of an overdose. One may experience shallow or discontinued breathing along with blue lips and nails, pinpoint pupils, weak pulse, low blood pressure, and confusion leading to unconsciousness.

Black tar heroin is dark in color and feels like roofing tar or coal. It varies from dark gray to obsidian and has a sticky tar-like consistency. The report stated that black tar heroin may cause scarring in the veins, so many people choose to inject the drug below the skin or into the muscle. These routes of administration are less likely to transmit HIV than injecting the drug into the veins. In recent years, mixing powder heroin with fentanyl — a synthetic opioid 25 to 50 times more toxic than heroin — has resulted in a bevy of overdose deaths in the United States.

  1. Over the past two decades, there has been a significant increase in opioid addiction rates.
  2. Its unique consistency however is due to acetylation without a reflux apparatus.
  3. Measuring the drug’s potency from one batch to the next is challenging, given its viscous tar-like consistency, which raises the likelihood of overdosing.
  4. Chronic black tar heroin use can lead to an addiction, a chronic condition characterized by uncontrollable black tar heroin use regardless of harmful consequences.
  5. Multiple reports warn that black tar heroin use may lead to botulism, a rare neurological illness that can arise when an injection wound is contaminated with a certain type of bacteria.

The practice of “chasing the dragon” involves smoking small amounts of black tar heroin on aluminum foil[4] and using a lighter to produce vapors inhaled through a straw or rolled-up paper. Even if treated with an antitoxin, they may need to stay in the hospital for weeks or months to recover. BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor. Botulism can cause a number of health problems, including difficulty swallowing, blurred vision, trouble breathing or paralysis. This is typically achieved by boiling the opium gum in water, which dissolves the morphine.

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Carter also mentioned that the impurities in black tar heroin can increase the risk of health complications. Black tar heroin is less refined, cheaper, and more available than other types of heroin. Most users inject black tar heroin after dissolving and diluting it, while others choose to smoke the substance.

Every second counts when this happens, and you should immediately seek emergency medical aid. Once addiction sets in, individuals may feel powerful urges and experience significant withdrawal symptoms, rendering cessation formidable. This addiction can lead to serious health consequences and financial and interpersonal troubles with loved ones.

Heroin Research Report

The presence of impurities in black tar heroin can also lead to severe health problems when wrongly administered intravenously – causing infections like abscesses and damaging veins. Measuring the drug’s potency from one batch to the next is challenging, given its viscous tar-like consistency, which raises the likelihood of overdosing. The pungent odor that accompanies black tar heroin is characterized as acrid or vinegar-like because of impurities and chemical additives incorporated during its production. Long-term black tar heroin use can lead to tolerance, which means you need larger amounts of heroin to get high. This is dangerous because as you take higher and higher doses, your risk of experiencing an overdose increases. Approximately 75 percent of black tar heroin is cut with toxic additives and contaminants.

what is black tar heroin

Overdosing on black tar heroin is not uncommon due to its potency, which could lead to respiratory failure and even death if left unattended. Multiple reports have linked black tar heroin to botulism, a rare illness that develops from bacteria infecting a wound. The toxin attacks your body’s nerves, making breathing difficult and causing muscle weakness. “I have not yet heard stories of people lacing black tar heroin with fentanyl,” Dr. Kevin Wandler, chief medical officer at Advanced Recovery Systems, told Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment.

Side Effects of Black Tar Heroin Addiction

While the initial effects include intense euphoria and pain relief, users may also experience respiratory depression, dry mouth, heavy extremities, and clouded mental function. The potency and unpredictable purity of black tar heroin make it more likely to cause an overdose. Users may unknowingly consume a lethal dose since the drug is often cut with various substances to increase its volume.

Overdoses can result in respiratory failure, coma, and death. The heroin base is often further processed with additional chemicals and techniques to increase purity and yield. After the mixture is heated and stirred, the impurities will separate from the combination and settle at the bottom.

Black Tar Heroin May Have Lower HIV Risk than Powder Heroin

Unfortunately, the addictive nature of these substances has led many individuals to resort to acquiring manufactured heroin products – leading to rampant drug abuse. A particularly dangerous opioid that is illegally obtained is known as black tar heroin. Tolerance and dependence do not develop overnight—rather, chronic heroin use leads to tolerance and physiological dependence. Although tolerance and dependence are not the same as black tar heroin addiction, they can contribute to the development of an addiction. The effects of black tar heroin are similar to conventional powder heroin.

Some studies have found that clients are less likely to comply with naltrexone treatment than treatments involving other medications. Multiple reports warn that black tar heroin use may lead to botulism, a rare neurological illness that can arise when an injection wound is contaminated with a certain type of bacteria. Signs of a heroin overdose include clammy skin, slow or shallow breathing, blue lips and fingernails, convulsions and coma.