Heroin is created using opium poppy. This is grown mostly throughout the southern part of Asia. Making this drug involves several chemicals and requires various steps as well. Afghanistan is the leading place in the world where heroin is made. However, the majority of heroin that comes into the United States of America comes out of South America and Mexico. When heroin goes through the chain of supply, it gets cut with various substances. These substances increase the effects of heroin or even dilute batches of heroin. One of the cutting agents is fentanyl. It is important to know that the majority of cutting agents that are used are very dangerous.
Process When Making Heroin
The process of making this drug starts with opium poppy. This is mainly found in drier and warmer areas throughout the southern part of Asia. Many times it comes from Pakistan and Turkey or even Laos. When the poppy flowers are blooming, the petals will fall off it. This reveals the pod. These are then cut and sap extraction takes place. The sap is the opium. The sap is used in the making of many types of drugs including heroin.
Morphine is made near these fields where the opium is derived. After the sap is extracted, the morphine floats. It is collected and heated up again. Substances are added to it and then it is boiled. Brown paste is made and dried out. The morphine base is finished at this point. Many people will smoke the drug in this form. It is dangerous no matter what form it is smoked in.
Heroin is made when acetic anhydride and morphine and mixed and heated up. Together these create diacetylmorphine. When this is mixed with chloroform and water, the solution gets drained. Then, sodium carbonate gets added to solidify the heroin. Once that part of the process is finished, the heroin filters out. The purification process is done with alcohol and is activated by charcoal. At this point, it is heated up and the alcohol will evaporate. Lastly, the purification is done with the hydrochloric acid and it turns into finished heroin.
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Location and Production of Heroin
The main area of the world that tracks heroin is the United Nations. During 2017, there was a World Drug Report created. The countries that produce the most heroin include the following:
- Afghanistan – 201,000 hectares during 2016
- Myanmar – 55,000 hectares during 2015
- Mexico – 26,100 hectares during 2014 and 2015
- Laos – 5,700 hectares during 2015
There were 10,500 tons of opium created around the world during 2017. Around 9,000 of that was made into heroin.
While Afghanistan manufactures a huge amount of the heroin compared to the rest of the world, the United States consumes a lot of it from South America and Mexico. The production of heroin and cultivation of opium poppy throughout Mexico has increased recently. From year to year, over the past 5 years, the amount of heroin seems to soar.
U.S. Purity Average
The Drug Enforcement Administration states that the purity of heroin can vary depending on the source it comes from. With that being said, they report that during the years of 2015 to 2016, the purity rates were as follows:
- Mexican-South American: 70% (no change)
- South American: 63% to 71%
- Mexican: 41% to 47%
- Mexican brown powder: 43% to 44%
- Mexican black tar: 41% to 37%
- Southwest Asian: 41% to 37%
- Inconclusive South American origin: 51% to 36%
These are the known purity rates based on the Drug Enforcement Administration. If you have become addicted to heroin and are buying from random suppliers, you don’t usually know the purity or the potency.
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Cutting Agents in Heroin
Throughout the process of producing heroin, from the dealer to the user, there are many diluents and adulterants used in cutting this drug. There are many different substances that are used in cutting heroin. Some of these include the following:
- Fentanyl – potent opioid
- Procaine – anesthetic
- Tramadol – pain relieving medication
- Acetaminophen – pain relieving medication
- Quinine – antimalarial drug
- Dextrose, lactose, and sucrose – sugars
- Inositol – medication for treating diabetes and mental health conditions
- Mannitol – diuretic
- Lidocaine – treats pain and irregular heartbeats
There are thousands of heroin dealers around the world. With all these cutting agents, it is always dangerous to purchase heroin. You never know what cutting agents will be used. Each time you use this drug, the dangers are high and you could be at risk for a fatal reaction.
Caffeine is one of the cutting agents used. This lowers the temperature of the heroin which aids with the smoking process. This is very similar to the effects that occur with tramadol. Lead and sugar will dilute and bulk up the heroin. Quinine adds a taste that disguises lower quality heroin. However, it still gives users the same rush they get with higher quality heroin.
Some of the other diluents that may be used when cutting heroin include starch, powdered milk, brick dust, and chalk. These don’t generally cause any effects when using. However, they can lead to other health issues.
Just as with tramadol, the drug fentanyl is similar to heroin. However, it is even stronger. Fentanyl is often used as a substitute for this drug or even added to the production process. This greatly increases the dangers of using heroin and increases the risk for overdosing as well. Unfortunately, in recent years the number of overdose deaths has risen significantly. During 2016, the overdose deaths rose 103%, to a striking 19,413 deaths.
Differences in Diluents and Adulterants
Many people will confuse diluents and adulterants. Adulterants are ingredients that alter the effects of a drug. They are added to decrease or increase the effects of heroin. Diluents are substances that don’t have pharmacological effects. These are added into heroin to bulk the drug up or to create a bigger batch of heroin. Contaminants are byproducts that come from the production of heroin.
There is some research that calls both diluents and adulterants the same thing. However, they are different. There are different purposes for using them and they create different effects. Both of these things are mixed into heroin purposefully during the production of the drug and while distributing the drug.
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Drugs Similar to Heroin
Every opioid drug creates effects that are very like those of heroin. These drugs might include codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and opium. Each of these drugs produces similar effects as well. These generally include apathy, concentration issues, constipation, drowsiness, euphoria, suppression of cough, pain relief, and more. Similar to heroin, all opioid drugs have the chance of creating psychological and physical dependence. There is also always the risk of having a fatal overdose with all these drugs as well. Sometimes these drugs are mixed with heroin which further amplifies the effects and dangers of it.
Kratom is a legal drug. It is often called by the name of herbal heroin. This is because when taken in larger doses, the effects mimic those of the opioids. These include effects such as constipation, drowsiness, and sedation. Kratom has become a very popular substance throughout the United States of America. Some people state they use it to help them overcome their addiction to heroin. The problem is Kratom can be very addictive as well. Using Kratom to overcome an addiction is like replacing one addiction with another.
Considering the Risks of Heroin Use
It is nearly impossible to figure out whether heroin is contaminated with another drug or dangerous substance. Most users can’t tell whether they are getting the pure form of heroin. Even so, heroin in the purest form, is still hazardous and can produce fatal reactions. Dealers don’t tell users what they put into the cutting process. While someone could get a test kit, most users won’t go through that trouble.
Treatment for a Heroin Addiction
You can get treatment for a heroin addiction. There are multiple types of addiction rehab center programs to help people overcome this type of addiction. The programs are often intense and the supervision is around-the-clock. However, this is needed to help you learn how to manage cravings, learn about your triggers, learn how to cope, and learn how to recover from the addiction.
Heroin is harmful in all forms. It can be contaminated or pure and it can still create a fatal reaction. This is a drug that is often cut with other dangerous substances and many people have overdosed on it. Do you suffer from a heroin addiction? Do you know someone else who does? There are many drug rehab facilities that can help to overcome an addiction to heroin. This addiction is tough to overcome and you may experience withdrawal symptoms when coming off from the drug. It is safer to withdraw in the comfort of an addiction rehab facility. You will receive the supervision and care of medical professionals while you are detoxing from heroin.
If you have an addiction to heroin, get help today.
Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-371-4198 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.