How Is Black Tar Heroin Made?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 6, 2021

Black tar heroin is a crude form of heroin that is manufactured from morphine and added chemicals. This form of heroin is often cut with additives and fillers, which can have harmful effects when ingested.

How Is Black Tar Heroin Made?

Black tar heroin is an illicit opioid drug that comes in the form of a dark, sticky substance, or a blackish, hard substance like coal. It is partially derived from morphine, a natural opiate.

This crude form of heroin is impure and dangerous, in part because it is frequently manufactured with cutting agents and chemicals that can have harmful effects on the body when ingested.

Learn more about black tar heroin

Where Does Black Tar Heroin Come From?

Black tar heroin comes from morphine, a naturally occurring substance that is extracted from the seed pods of the opium poppy plant.

Opium poppy plants are grown across the world, in South America, Central America, Southeast Asia, and Southwest Asia.

Most of the black tar heroin in the United States is trafficked in from Mexico and Columbia.

Creating Black Tar Heroin: Step-By-Step

Black tar heroin is partially synthetic, or man-made. Creating it involves a refining process, which occurs through several steps.

Harvesting Opium

Black tar heroin comes, in part, from morphine. Morphine is refined from opium, a milky fluid that can be extracted from the seeds of the opium poppy plant.

Refining Black Tar Heroin From Morphine

Black tar heroin is the crudest form of heroin. It is cheaper and easier to make than powder forms, because it involves a less extensive refining process.

The process of refining black tar heroin from morphine can vary. Various manufacturing methods can be used to refine morphine, and this can differ between manufacturers.

Once morphine is harvested from raw opium, it may be drawn off and heated with ammonia, further boiled and filtered to create a morphine base.

Producing black tar heroin involves a series of steps that can require the addition of other chemicals such as acetic anhydride, chloroform, and sodium carbonate.

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Cutting Agents Added To Black Tar Heroin

Black tar heroin is known for being crude and more impure than powder forms of heroin, which require a more extensive refining process.

During the manufacturing and distribution processes, black tar heroin may be mixed with a number of cutting agents, which can include chemical additives, fillers, and other drugs.

Common chemical additives found in black tar heroin include:

  • ammonia
  • chloroform
  • sodium carbonate
  • hydrochloric acid
  • calcium oxide

Cutting agents added to black tar might include:

  • shoe polish
  • dirt
  • anesthetics
  • rat poison
  • soil
  • other illicit drugs

Finding Treatment For Black Tar Heroin Addiction

Overcoming an addiction to black tar heroin is possible. If you or a loved one is addicted to heroin, we can help you find a treatment program that’s right for you.

Call our helpline today to learn more about treatment for black tar heroin addiction and to find a treatment program near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 6, 2021
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