Black Tar Heroin
Black tar heroin is a popular form of the illicit substance that is usually found West of the Mississippi River. Typically produced by Mexican drug cartels, black tar heroin is a less pure form of heroin that is just as potent.
What is Black Tar Heroin?
As it sounds, black tar heroin is a cruder form of the illicit opioid that is black and sticky in appearance and texture. Also popularly referred to as Mexican black tar heroin due to it being a major export for Mexican cartels, the drug is mostly found West of the Mississippi River in the U.S. and Canada.
Many hear that black tar heroin isn’t as pure and think that it isn’t as potent as its white, powder form; however, it is just as strong. This misconception can easily lead to people overdosing, thinking that they need more to get the same high. Really, the only difference purity of heroin makes is the relative safety, the comedown, and how it can be taken. Because of its crude form, the sticky tar is difficult to use intravenously. Rather, people who have black tar will smoke or ingest it another way.
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Effects of Black Tar Heroin
All heroin carries the same effects. The difference between black tar heroin and white heroin is the purity. While white heroin can be purer, though it is usually cut with other powders to keep the cost down, black tar heroin is typically around 30% pure. This is because of the faster, cruder process that the heroin goes through. While the process makes it cheaper to produce and to buy, it also makes the heroin less pure and more dangerous. General effects of heroin, no matter the color, are the same. These include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Relieved tension
Anyone who uses black tar heroin will feel these effects from the first time they use it. Unfortunately, these are also the desired effects that make the drug so addictive. Naturally, the longer someone uses heroin, the more likely they are to overdose as well as develop other disorders and diseases. Long term effects of heroin use include:
- Collapsed veins (from intravenous use)
- Damaged tissue (where drug is ingested)
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
- Constipation and stomach cramps
- Liver and kidney disease
- Lung disease
- Mental disorders
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Irregular menstrual cycles in women
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Black Tar Heroin Statistics
While black tar heroin is popular to transport for Mexican drug trafficking organizations, (DTOs), it is typically only transported in small amounts. This keeps the chances of getting caught and the criminal charges down.
Roughly 80% of Americans who suffer from heroin addiction admit they started with a prescription opioid.
In 2016, there were 948,000 heroin users in the U.S. A 135% increase from 2003’s 404,000.
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Signs of Overdose from Black Tar Heroin
Signs of heroin overdose include, but aren’t limited to:
- Shallow breathing
- Dry mouth
- Tongue discoloration
- Very small pupils (pin point pupils)
- Slow pulse
- Bluish lips
If someone begins exhibiting these symptoms, timely use of naloxone can reverse these symptoms and stop an overdose before it turns fatal.
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Black Tar Heroin Addiction
Many who become addicted to heroin do not start heroin because that is what they want. Statistically, the average user will turn to heroin after they’ve already developed an opioid addiction. This is generally from a prescription opioid that they were receiving legally for legitimate pain they had. However, they may not realize that they developed an addiction until their prescription ran out. After that point, they must find a new way to feed the biological craving they are feeling. Symptoms of heroin addiction include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Sudden weight loss
- Secretive behavior
- Changes in appearance
- Lack of motivation
- Extreme drowsiness or nodding off
- Financial problems, borrowing money
- Slurred speech
- Shortness of breath
- Collapsed veins
- Severe itchiness
- Nausea and vomiting
Studies report that 80% of the people addicted to heroin once started by using a prescription opioid. After they’ve grown addicted, and their prescription has run out, many turn to purchasing the drug illicitly. It is only after desperation sets in that they will turn to heroin, a cheaper and more potent alternative. Black tar heroin, generally being cheaper than white heroin, is easier for someone to buy. This continues to develop from the stigma around addiction. Despite it being a natural, biological response to the introduction of different medications, society still views it as some form of weakness, making it hard for those suffering to come forward.
Treatment for Black Tar Heroin Addiction
If you or someone you love suffer from addiction to black tar or any kind of heroin, do not be afraid to seek help. Many cases of addiction start innocently, with someone just trying to manage physical pain. The worst thing you can do is close yourself off. It will just allow your addiction to grow while you push away those closest to you. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to a dedicated treatment specialist today. They’re here to help you on your way to long-term recovery.
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