Heroin is made from morphine contained in the seeds of opium plants (papaver somniferum) grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Mexico, and Colombia.
About The Opium Poppy Plant
Opium plants are mainly grown by farmers on small plots of land in remote regions. The plant flourishes in warm and dry conditions.
Where The Heroin Plant Is Grown
Mountainous regions extending from southern and central Asia from Turkey through Pakistan and Burma produce the majority of opium poppy plants.
However, heroin is increasingly produced in Latin America, including Columbia and Mexico.
How The Opium Poppy Plant Is Used To Make Heroin
Three months after the opium poppy seeds are planted, the first blooms appear. As the petals of the blooms fall away, the opium seed pods become apparent. These pods contain an opaque, milky sap that contains crude-form opium.
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Harvesting The Opium Seed Pods
Opium alkaloids (morphine, codeine, thebaine, noscapine, and papaverine) are present on poppy pods.
Naturally occuring substances extracted from raw opium sap and resin of seed pods of the poppy plant are sold in various forms as heroin around the world.
Extracting The Opium Sap
At the beginning of its extraction process, a sticky and milky sap is removed from opium poppy pods of the flower.
Refining The Extract Into Heroin
After being further refined, the extract is used to make morphine before being processed into the street drug heroin.
Opium sap is extracted from the pods with a curved knife. The sap turns dark and thick when exposed, and forms a dark brown gum.
This sap is collected in bundles of dried sap, formed into bricks, cakes, or balls that are then wrapped in plastic for distribution.
Getting Help For Heroin Addiction
Heroin is a highly illegal and dangerous drug sold worldwide. Individuals who become addicted to heroin, morphine, or prescription opiates often struggle to achieve sobriety on their own.
Substance abuse treatment often involves qualified medical advice and may include naloxone or methadone treatment to support opiate withdrawal during recovery.
If you or a loved one is battling heroin drug use or addiction, or if you have questions about the rehab programs available for heroin addiction, please connect with a specialist today.
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- Drug Enforcement Museum — Cannabis, Coca, & Poppy: Nature’s Addictive Plants
- Frontiers In Chemistry — Opium Alkaloids in Harvested and Thermally Processed Poppy Seeds
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Heroin Drug Facts
- National Institutes of Health — Opioids and Heroin
- National Institutes of Health — What is heroin and how is it used?
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — Heroin