Black Tar Heroin – Mexico’s Dirty Drug On America’s Streets

Here’s what you need to know about black tar heroin, where it comes from, and why it is known as a dirty, dangerous street drug in America.

About Black Tar Heroin

Black tar heroin is an illegal, unregulated drug that’s processed from morphine – the naturally occurring opioid that’s derived from the opium poppy.

Black tar heroin first appeared in the U.S about 10-15 years ago, where it quickly became popular among drug users who were seeking a cheap alternative to prescription opiates and pure heroin.

Black tar heroin is in the same class of drugs as regular heroin and controlled prescription opioid painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin.

On the street, black tar heroin is also called;

  • Cheeb
  • Muck
  • Tar
  • Mexican Mud

The term “Mexican Mud” is due to the fact that most black tar heroin is made in drug labs in Mexico and throughout Latin America.

Unlike pure heroin that is a fine, white powder, black tar heroin is usually dark and sticky, similar to roofing tar; it can also be dried, creating a hard, coal-like lump that can be ground down into a brown or black powder.

How Black Tar Heroin Is Used

In most cases, users heat up the sticky, dark substance to liquefy it, and then inject it into a vein using a small-gage syringe.

Just like with ‘regular’ heroin, black tar heroin can also be smoked; some users also report turning the tar-like substance into a power that they use to snort.

What Makes Black Tar Heroin So Dangerous

While using any type of legal or illegal opiate increases your risk of suffering from serious drug-related side effects, black tar heroin use comes along with some extra dangers.

Closeup of woman's hand drawing black tar heroin into a needleBecause black tar heroin is usually sticky, when users inject this form of heroin, their veins collapse quickly – this means users have to constantly search for new injection sites.

Some people who use black tar heroin even resort to shooting the drug directly into their muscles or under their skin (sub-q), which increases the chances of developing life-threatening bacterial infections, including flesh-eating disease.

Black tar heroin is also a notoriously ‘dirty’ drug, thanks to the fact that it’s filled with impurities created by crude manufacturing methods.

Black Tar Heroin Potency

Unlike other opiates, the potency of black tar heroin is completely inconsistent because it’s made using crude, unregulated processing methods. The potency can vary wildly from one dose to the next – this means users never really know how much they can ‘safely’ use to get high without overdosing.

Some reports indicate that the purity of black tar heroin sold through street dealers ranges in purity from 10 percent all the way up to 80 percent; this lack of consistency in the purity has been linked to a number of overdose deaths across the United States.



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