The Dangers of Black Tar Heroin

by | Last updated May 16, 2022 | Published on May 24, 2022 | Heroin | 0 comments

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Black tar heroin is a form of heroin that looks like tar or hard, black pellets. It usually comes in the form of small, twisted pieces or shards and is dark brown or black. This type of heroin is made from morphine but has not been processed into a white powder form like other types of heroin, so that it may be less refined than other forms of the drug. However, black tar heroin can be incredibly dangerous like many other street drugs. 

What is Black Tar Heroin?

Black tar heroin is a type of street heroin imported from Mexico. It looks like hard, black pellets or tar and has an odor similar to coal. Black tar heroin is more prevalent among street gangs and people who have become addicted to prescription painkillers because it’s cheaper than other types of heroin.

Black tar heroin is usually injected into veins but can also be snorted or smoked and ingested orally (swallowed). Some users dissolve black tar into liquid form to inject it intravenously without needing a needle–“skin popping.”

Common nicknames for the drug include:

  • Smack
  • Junk
  • Black Tar
  • Ska
  • Horse

What Are the Dangers of Black Tar Heroin?

It is important to note that the chemicals in black tar heroin can be extremely harmful and have been linked to long-term damage. The short-term side effects of black tar heroin can be pretty unpleasant and potentially even life-threatening. These include collapsed veins, an abscess, and an overdose.

Some people who use black tar heroin may experience long-term effects after just a few uses, including chronic pain and physical dependence on the drug. Over time, your body will become dependent on black tar heroin to function normally–you’ll need more and more of the drug to get high each time you use it.

The dangers of black tar heroin are not limited to any particular method of use. Whether you smoke, snort or inject black tar heroin, the risks associated with abusing this drug are extensive and life-threatening.

Short-Term Health Risks

The short-term effects of heroin can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching or flushing (especially in the face)
  • Sweating and chills
  • Breathing problems, such as slowed breathing and shallow breathing

You might also have some unpleasant feelings, like feeling sick to your stomach or having a headache. You may feel depressed or anxious. If you inject it into your veins, you could get an infection in that area if you don’t clean the syringe carefully before injecting again.

Long-Term Health Risks

The long-term effects of using black heroin include:

  • Overdose. A person who uses heroin can easily overdose on this drug, especially when combined with other drugs or alcohol. 
  • HIV and Hepatitis C infection. Sharing needles to use black heroin can lead to HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) viruses that attack the body’s immune system and cause severe illness or death if left untreated for many years after infection occurs. 
  • Infections of the heart lining and valves. Harmful bacteria from skin infections entering through dirty needles may cause bacterial endocarditis (inflammation of heart valves), resulting in permanent damage to heart function if left untreated.

The dangers of black tar heroin are not limited to any particular method of use. Whether you smoke, snort or inject black tar heroin, the risks associated with abusing this drug are extensive and life-threatening.

Because black tar heroin is so sticky due to its high concentration of impurities, people who abuse this type of drug often find ways around how difficult it can be for their bodies to break down these materials naturally. Some people will use other substances like alcohol before injecting themselves with black tar heroin not to feel too much pain when injecting themselves.

Heroin Abuse Can Be Life-Threatening

In 2020, there were over 13,000 overdose deaths involving heroin. Heroin users might be experts in hiding their abuse, but recognizing the early signs of addiction is key to helping a loved one battling addiction. These are the most common behaviors of someone using heroin:

  • Work or school problems
  • Disinterest in their physical appearance
  • Sudden behavior changes
  • Constant money problems 
  • Problems with coordination
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Scars on arms, toes, fingers, or legs
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

If you notice any of these signs on yourself or a loved one, don’t wait to seek help. Contact your primary healthcare provider or speak with an addiction specialist to learn more about substance abuse treatment. 

Written by: Serene G.

Written by: Serene G.

Serene has over 8 years of marketing experience as well as a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a dual concentration in Biological Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences. While completing this degree, she completed numerous courses pertaining to substance abuse and mental health, such as Drugs and Behavior, Health Behavior and Society, and Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Policy. She is also called to help those who struggle with addiction because she has seen multiple loved ones struggle with substance abuse. Today, Serene uses her knowledge, background, and passion to educate and connect with individuals and families afflicted by addiction.

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