Powder Heroin: How Is It Different From Other Types Of Heroin?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 15, 2021

Powdered heroin comes in white powder, brown powder, and other heroin drug mixtures that may vary in color and by region. Heroin abuse leads to adverse effects and can cause lasting health damage.

Powder Heroin - Powder Vs. Other Types Of Heroin

Different types of heroin include various kinds of powder heroin.

Powdered heroin comes in white powder, brown powder, and other illicit drug heroin mixtures that may vary in color and texture. These varieties may differ by region.

Different Types Of Powder Heroin

Depending on the origins of where the drug was produced, and the drug traffickers that smuggle the drug into the United States, powdered heroin sold on the street varies by region.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the most common forms of powdered heroin include:

Brown Powder Heroin

The supply of brown heroin may be smuggled into and sold in the western United States, but it may be found in mid and eastern America.

Brown heroin:

  • Looks like: light brown to darker brown, depending on additives and substances used to cut the drug.
  • Produced: Mexico
  • Cost: less expensive than white powder heroin
  • Methods of abuse: can be snorted or injected

White Powder Heroin

White powder heroin is more refined than other varieties of heroin. This kind of heroin is frequently mixed with other toxic and non-toxic substances to increase bulk and increase profits for drug dealers.

It is primarily sold in eastern states.

White heroin:

  • Looks like: white, beige, or pink depending on additives; appearance similar to cocaine
  • Produced: in South American countries, such as Colombia, and Mexico
  • Cost: may cost more due to a higher heroin purity
  • Methods of abuse: can be snorted or injected intravenously after being dissolved in water

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China White Heroin

China white heroin is a potent form of heroin that is often mixed with fentanyl. The combination of heroin and fentanyl is deadly, often leading to drug overdoses in individuals who are unaware of the strength of the drug.

China white heroin:

  • Looks like: white powder heroin (pure heroin)
  • Produced: Southeast Asia
  • Cost: may be sold at a higher rate and passed off as powdered heroin
  • Methods of abuse: snorting or injecting the fentanyl analogue

Gunpowder Heroin

Gunpowder heroin is produced in Mexico and primarily sold in western U.S. states. It may have the appearance of gunpowder, coffee grounds, sticky powder, or a solid texture that is easily crushed.

Side Effects Of Heroin Drug Use

Street heroin is commonly cut with several toxic substances that lead to dangerous side effects.

The prevalence of side effects caused by heroin is often related to the method of abuse, including snorting and injection drug use. Depending on the method of administration, heroin use can lead to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or other diseases.

Other side effects of heroin abuse include:

  • decreased breathing and heart rate
  • flushing
  • nausea
  • increased appetite
  • slow reflexes
  • decreased pain
  • inability to concentrate
  • relaxation or drowsiness
  • overdose
  • coma
  • death

Does Powder Heroin Lead To Overdose?

Heroin use can cause opioid overdose, resulting in respiratory failure. The drug slows activity in the brain and spinal cord, which can cause extreme sedation and even heart failure.

Heroin overdoses require emergency medical intervention.

The presence of other cutting agents and substances commonly included in heroin may affect survivability rates and alter the treatment of overdose.

Substances that may affect heroin overdose likelihood include:

  • methamphetamines
  • cocaine hydrochloride
  • prescription opioids like fentanyl

Getting Help For A Powder Heroin Addiction

All types of heroin, including synthetic opioids, can lead to tolerance, addiction, and overdose.

Heroin addiction treatment requires supportive care during unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, as well as a targeted, long-term treatment plan.

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.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 15, 2021
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