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Many people may suspect heroin, but don’t know what to look for. They want to know answers to questions like “what color is heroin?” or “what does heroin look like?” Pure heroin is a white powder. But it can be mixed with a number of additives or substances which may change its appearance and texture. There isn’t one easy answer for what to look for when trying to identify heroin. Typically though, it will appear as a tar-like substance or a powder that can be either white, black or brown.
Heroin is an illegal drug, so you won’t find it in stores. Heroin is sold by drug dealers on the streets. Because it’s unregulated, there have been instances where heroin was mixed with fillers such as rat poison, making it even more deadly.
Black tar heroin is a mixture of heroin with other additives that give it a grey or black color. In regular form, it is a black, ashy, fine-grained powder. When heated, it takes on the appearance of tar, becoming thick, shiny and sticky.
White heroin simply looks like a white powder. This variety is often diluted with fillers that may be as harmless as sugar or as dangerous as rat poison to reduce dealer costs. It may also be mixed with other drugs such as cocaine, which may change the consistency.
Most heroin used today is of the brown heroin variety because it’s cheaper because of its lower potency levels. This type of powdered heroin may be brown or tan in color, and is typically used for smoking the drug.
Heroin is typically packaged so that it’s easy to hide. They may be packaged in small aluminum squares that fit easily into pockets or small spaces. Latex (such as balloons) is usually used for packaging black tar heroin. Higher quality powdered heroin may be packaged simply in a clear plastic bag. Sometimes, it may even be put into capsule form, making it more difficult to identify.
There are certain tools that are common to heroin use. If you suspect your loved one is using heroin, but haven’t found any powders or products lying around, keep an eye out for these common paraphernalia that may indicate heroin abuse.
Syringes are often used by those who prefer to shoot the drug directly into their veins for an immediate hit. Aluminum foil, lighters, spoons and bottle caps may be used to heat the powder or tar to a liquid form. Cotton balls and cigarette filters are often used to strain out any impurities in the drug that failed to melt. Shoelaces or other ties are used to bind around a limb to isolate a vein before injection. Shared needles can increase the risk of blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
Many of the same tools above may be used for preparing heroin for smoking. Aluminum foil for heating and straws for directing smoke and steam into the nasal passages are most common. Rolling papers or pipes may also be used to smoke the substance.
The higher-quality, powdered variety is typically snorted. There may be little to indicate a potential drug addiction, though they may use straws or rolled paper to assist.
If you suspect heroin abuse or see questionable paraphernalia, it’s important to seek help quickly. Our team of substance abuse and addiction specialists understand the effects that heroin abuse can have on a person and their family and friends. If you or your loved one is struggling through the cycle of heroin addiction, there are resources and help available. Contact us today to start the journey to a sober tomorrow.