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Identifying Heroin: What It Looks Like

Posted on :  March 26th, 2016  |  By :  towardsrecovery

If you are concerned about a loved one becoming addicted to heroin, it is a good idea to educate yourself on the appearance of the highly addictive substance.

Heroin comes from a type of poppy plant. When the plant is harvested, the white, milky sap is taken from the seedpods. It is then dried. Despite the simple processing, heroin comes in many forms, textures, appearances, and purity levels. This makes it difficult to identify for people who do not use the drug.

Where Heroin Originates

Once the sap is dried, it looks like a white powder. But, most of the heroin in North America is not white. It is usually a shade of brown, pinkish-gray, and black, too. These colors occur because someone diluted the pure powder by adding substances like coffee, sugar, or other drugs.

People who inject heroin are in danger of blockages in blood vessels because the purity of the powder is always questionable. In some cases, the substances that are added to heroin do not dissolve quickly. Those substances can block vessels in the major organs, like the lungs, the kidneys, or even the brain. So, if you spot a powdery substance, in different colors or with different textures of powder, it could be heroin.

Where Heroin is Stored

Heroin is sold on the street in four different forms. Since the drug is a powder, it needs to be contained in tight packaging that hides its nature. It is common to find it packaged in aluminum foil wrapped in squares. Many dealers will put heroin in balloons that are not inflated, but tied at the ends. Emptied gelatin capsules are often refilled with heroin powder because this makes them easy to swallow and to hide. Other sellers will simply put the powder in everyday plastic sandwich bags. If you know to look for these types of containers, it will be much easier to determine if your loved one is using heroin.

Street Names for Heroin

Because heroin addicts become singularly focused on getting high they often forget to hide that they are doing the drug. So, if you overhear your loved one talking about words that you do not know, your loved one could be talking about heroin. There are many street names for the drug. They include words like H, white, gear, black tar, smack, horse, hammer, rock, elephant, China white, dragon, junk, and Chinese H. It is helpful to understand all of the language surrounding the drug so you are able to make the right moves to help your loved one. If you have questions about language about heroin, please do not hesitate to contact us as Towards Recovery at 905-527-2042. We can help.

How Heroin Is Taken

It is also important to understand how heroin is taken, so you can look for signs through paraphernalia or even signs on your loved one’s body. There are several ways to take heroin to get high and the highs arrive at different times.

The most common way to take heroin is to inject it with an intravenous needle. The powder is mixed with water. Most people will feel the high immediately. You might notice the marks from the needle on the skin, either in the arm, buttocks, or thighs. Some people will inject in different places to hide the needle marks.

Another common way to take heroin is by snorting it. You might find the powder on a flat surface, like a mirror. You also might find items that are used to inhale heroin through the nose, like rolled paper or small pieces of straws.

Some heroin users prefer to smoke their drugs. They will usually heat the powders on a piece of aluminum foil so they can inhale the smoke. Others will roll the drug into a cigarette. It is easy to look for papers or aluminum foil if this is the method your loved one prefers.

There are some people who will simply eat their heroin or possible add it to other foods or beverages. This is harder to find, but if your loved one begins to act high after eating or drinking, you will know why.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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