What is Heroin? - Rehab Guide

What is Heroin?

Heroin; How’s It Made and What’s It Made Of

Heroin is probably the most infamous drug in the world. It is refined from morphine which itself is extracted from the opium poppy. First synthesised in 1874 described as a euphoric depressant and an analgesic, and there is no doubt that the consequences of abuse can be grave.

The opium poppy plants are mostly found in areas that include the Middle East, Mexico, Central Asia, and Columbia. To begin the opium poppy seeds are planted.

From there the harvesters must wait until the plant grows and for the flower petals to fall off. Once the petals have fallen off the pods, they can move forward with taking the pods from the plant and begin the extraction process.

Once the extraction process has begun and been completed is when you’ve got opium.

In 2017 alone, more than 886,000 people used heroin more than once. The epidemic of drug use is reaching across the country in unimaginable ways. This issue is right in your backyard, and that’s why you must take the time to educate yourself about things such as what is heroin made of?

To minimize the epidemic, it’s essential to take a trip back in history to take a look at where this drug came from and when it took hold of people worldwide. Don’t stop reading now you’re not going to want to miss a moment of this much-needed post.

Where Did Heroin Come From?

Heroin’s found under names including white horse, Mexican mud, china white, diacetylmorphine, and more. While history will give credit to Heinrich Dreser, who was a German scientist for looking for a way to minimize pain during surgery, that’s not the first trace of heroin.

In fact, around 20 years before Dreser another scientist decided to go on a hunt for a painkiller C.R Wright attempted to conduct in-depth research by concocting heroin and testing it. The reason Wright discontinued the research was due to the side effects that he observed from his concoction.

The side effects observed were things like vomiting and anxiety. History does briefly mention that Dreser was continuing to build upon the research done previously.

What Was the Purpose?

Before it became a recreational drug, it was used strictly for medical use only. For example, if a woman was having a challenging time dealing with menstruation symptoms, she would take heroin to combat these issues. Other reasons that it was used was to aid in lessening the pain caused by headaches and as a cough suppressant.

At one point, heroin was the answer to help soldiers addicted to morphine rid themselves of their addictions. As it continued to be used and provided as an over the counter medication, it was popular amongst the rich until 1924.

No More Heroin

Heroin was being used, and although it may have been seen as helpful by many, it was causing the number of those addicted to the drug increase as well. This led to Congress banning heroin in 1924.

Meaning they banned importing, selling, and manufacturing heroin. However, as you move forward into 1925, you realize that the League of Nations was still finding ways to regulate the amount that was being produced internationally.

Around World War II, the numbers of those addicted to the drug decreased because of increased regulations making it more challenging to get the drug. While this is something to rejoice in this decrease in addiction wouldn’t be for long as heroin came rolling back around the 1940s during the Cold War.

Around the 50s until now, the drug has continued to maintain a stronghold over those that use it becoming a crisis that is taking the lives of people right and left.

Extracting the Opium

After the pods are taken, it’s then split open with a specific type of knife. Once the pod is opened inside the pod is scraped to collect the material inside, and then the pods left to dry out. The material taken from inside the pod will be prepared for sale.

From there to create morphine and further make heroin takes a boiling process that is both tedious and dangerous. After this process, the heroin is then cut and prepared to be sold to buyers that will take it and mix it with other substances.

The items that added can increase the potency of the drug itself, making it more dangerous for those that are using it. Now that you’ve got a better understanding of where the heroin came from and how it’s made, it’s time to get help.

Types of Heroin

There are some types of heroin that you need to be aware of. The first is known as white powder heroin and is commonly found on the east side of the Mississippi River.
White powder heroin may be the purest form that you may find. But, when thinking about the world of drugs, there is rarely a time when someone is sold heroin, that’s 100% pure.

Black Tar

Another common type would be black tar. Black tar may also go by other names include chiva or black. The reason that the heroin is black in colour is that during the process in which it’s formed, it’s mixed with other additives that change its colour.

Before using black tar, a user will typically have to break it down first.


When we discuss speedballs, it’s not just heroin that we’re talking about. A speedball is a mixture of both heroin and another stimulant type of drug. The two drugs together create a back and forth struggle, pulling the user between a place of sedation and being hyperactive.

Speedballing can cause heart attacks, respiratory failures, and even death.

China White

China White isn’t referring to the purity level of the heroin that someone is using. It refers to the fact that heroin has been mixed with fentanyl.

Fentanyl is another opioid that is causing people to overdose all over the world. China White is also a term that can be used for fentanyl without the mixture of heroin present.

Brown Powder Heroin

Heroin that is brown almost always comes from Mexico. This would also be the reason for the nickname Mexican brown or brown mud.

Brown heroin is purer than other forms and is also less expensive.

Breaking Free

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the world, and that’s why it’s essential that if you or someone in your life is suffering from addiction, you seek the help you need immediately. One of the addictions treated by the Rehab Guide is heroin addiction, which means you’re in luck when looking for the support you need to quit the drug for good.

The first thing you can expect when seeking treatment is to go through the detox phase. The reason for the detox phase is to help rid your body of any trace of the drug that’s lingering. When you’re mind is free and unclouded by the effects of drugs, it makes it easier to move forward with your treatment.

What Does Treatment Address?

When you’re in treatment, you can expect to address the reasons that led you to begin using in the first place. You’ll take the time to immerse yourself in counselling sessions that will help you sort through the emotions and feelings that you’ve been burying under the haze of heroin.

When you’re able to process traumas that have occurred in your past or other issues, it makes it easier to come up with a plan that will help you to stay clean after you leave treatment.

How Long is Treatment?

The length of time that you’re in treatment will depend on the plan that you’ve agreed to with your facility and the way that you work your program. If you’re serious about the road to recovery, there’s no telling how long your treatment will be.

Rather than focusing on the amount of time that you’re in treatment focus on your healing and ensuring that you’re ready to reenter the world after treatment. Immersing yourself in all that treatment has to offer will ensure that you’re ready to take on the stressors of life lessening the likelihood of relapse.

What is Heroin Made Of Beyond Enemy Lines

Knowing the answer to what is heroin made of is just the tip of the iceberg as we attempt to stop the epidemic. The history of heroin began long ago and is still plaguing the nation today.

But, if you’ve read this post entirely, it’s safe to say you’re searching for help to end your addiction to heroin. The Rehab Guide has the resources that you need on your side to ensure you take your life back.

Take that first step and get back the control that you once had and contact us today.

Author 'John


Trained in addictionology in the Johnson Model, and specializing in substance abuse for individual and couple counselling. John's personal experience has given him a wealth of insights, which he integrates into practice. His extensive training has allowed him to gain expertise in individual and group counselling, concurrent disorders, case management, executing treatment plans and relapse prevention. He started this free helpline as a result of a life change and to help others get sober and live a life free from drugs and alcohol. John covers a variety of topics relating to addiction and recovery in his articles.


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