While most of the world’s heroin supply is in powder form, the solid form of the drug called “black tar” is mainly produced in Mexico.
This form of the drug is commonly sold in the United States, especially on the west coast.
Black tar heroin is a product of the opium poppy plant grown by small, rural farmers scattered throughout Mexico.
The opium poppy plant is often grown alongside other cash crops and may be harvested up to two-three times per year.
After harvesting and “cooking” extracted opium sap to prepare for use, the drug is then smuggled into the United States and sold on the streets.
Largest Producers Of Black Tar Heroin
Other South American countries, with the main concentration in Colombia, are the second-largest producers of heroin sold in the United States.
Heroin produced in Southwest Asia generally supplies Africa, Asia, and European countries.
Mexico and Columbia, in part, dominate the United States drug market because of their:
- close proximity
- specialized and established transportation routes
- distribution infrastructure
- ability to meet drug demands of individuals addicted to the substance in the U.S.
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Mexican Drug Trade Organizations
Detecting the highly organized Mexican traffickers who smuggle black tar into the United States to distribute has proven challenging.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports heroin moves over the border in two ways:
- by use of human couriers who conceal amounts of the drug in their body
- larger quantities moved in specially modified vehicles that avoid detection from authorities
While the majority of black tar heroin was recovered in areas west of the Mississippi River, Mexican criminal groups have since expanded distribution into eastern states.
Eastern states had been previously supplied mainly by Colombian drug organizations.
Currently, Mexican black tar heroin may be available throughout this region, including states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and New York.
Getting Help For Black Tar Heroin Addiction
All forms of heroin, including prescription opioids, can lead to tolerance, chronic addiction, and overdose.
Heroin addiction treatment often involves qualified medical advice and may include buprenorphine, naloxone, or methadone medications to support opiate withdrawal.
If you or a loved one has a heroin addiction, or if you have questions about rehab programs, contact an addiction specialist today.
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- Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) — DEA Releases 2016 Drug Threat Assessment: Fentanyl-related Overdose Deaths Rising At An Alarming Rate
- National Drug Enforcement Center — National Drug Threat Assessment 2009
- PubMed — Heroin in Brown, Black and White: Structural Factors and Medical Consequences in the US Heroin Market
- Scielo — Patterns of heroin use in a sample of consumers in Medellín - Colombia
- U.S. Government Printing Office — Black-tar Heroin, Meth and Cocaine continue to flood into the United States from Mexico