What is Black Tar Heroin?
Black tar heroin is a dark-colored type of heroin that ranges from a gooey consistency to a hard, rock-like form. Sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal. Also referred to as Chiva, Mexican tar, or black, the products are less refined than powder forms of heroin. The dark color, which can range from a deep red color to dark brown to black, comes from contaminants in the refinement process.
It is usually diluted and smoked or injected. It can also be snorted, but it has to be ground down first.
Black Tar holds a variable admixture of morphine derivatives—predominantly 6-MAM (6-monoacetylmorphine) which is another result of crude acetylation. The lack of proper reflux during acetylation fails to remove much of the moisture retained in the acetylating agent, glacial acetic acid.
What Does Black Tar Heroin Look and Smell Like?
If you wonder what it looks like, or if you’re searching for pictures of it, you’ll discover that it looks like black tar.
It often looks like sticky tar, or can sometimes look like a hard piece of coal. In some cases, black tar heroin may also look dark orange or dark brown. The color and consistency of black tar heroin are due to the low-quality processing methods that leave impurities behind.
The smell of black tar can be one of its defining features, as people often say it has a strong, vinegar-like smell. This scent is due to the chemical processes that are used to make it. Higher-quality heroin tends to be washed after it’s made, so it has less odor. Since it is less pure and may have additives, will usually have a stronger smell.
Depending on how it has been made, the black tar heroin smell may differ from batch to batch, but will generally be more pungent than purer heroin.
Is Black Tar Heroin Different Than Regular Heroin?
Black tar heroin is distinctive from other forms of heroin primarily because of how black tar heroin is made. It is much less pure than regular heroin. When heroin is produced traditionally, the result is a fine, white, pure powder. As the opioid epidemic spread across the United States, there was more of an effort on the part of drug dealers to cut corners and improve profitability. One result of that effort was black tar heroin.
The Process of Making and Trafficking
Black tar heroin is produced when the process to purify the drug is shortened. The processing methods that create black tar heroin are crude, leaving behind visible impurities. Entire steps of the traditional heroin purification process are skipped in the creation of black tar.
Most of the black tar heroin for sale that makes its way into the United States comes from Mexico. As Afghan drug producers began importing high-quality heroin into the United States, Mexico created black tar heroin to compete. Because its quality is so low and it is not as pure as other forms of heroin, it is less expensive. This low price point is one of the biggest appeals for many buyers. Mexican black tar heroin is especially common in the southern and western regions of the United States. When someone purchases this type of heroin, there is no way to determine the purity or quality of the product as there’s very little consistency.
Most of its effects are the same as other forms of heroin. When someone uses black-tar-heroin, it creates a sense of euphoria. Like anyone who consumes heroin, Users are at high risk of experiencing overdose and death.
However, there are even more risks of using it compared to traditional heroin, particularly for a person using intravenous drugs. When black tar is injected, there is a heightened risk for infections and conditions like venous sclerosis, where the veins become narrow and hard. There’s also a greater risk of bacterial infections when black tar heroin is injected. An example of possible bacterial infection is necrotizing fasciitis, which is a flesh-eating disease that destroys tissue because of the bacteria from the black-tar-heroin. Injection of black heroin increases the risk of abscesses and gas gangrene, which also destroys body tissue. There have even been cases of wound botulism that occurred in people injecting it.
Black tar heroin is also dangerous due to its unknown additives and impurities. It often contains additives and substances that can cause infections and health problems on their own. It is almost impossible to know what was blended into the drug, making its consumption particularly risky.
It is a unique form of heroin. The main facts about this type of heroin to keep in mind are:
- It is an impure form of heroin sold as a dark solid
- It is cheap and readily available in many parts of the country
- The drug contains many impurities, making it appear like tar
- When someone uses it intravenously, they risk of getting an infection at the site where they inject it
- It comes into the United States largely through Mexico and is commonly found in the southern and western regions of the country