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What Is Heroin Cut With?

Whether in powder form or solution form, heroin’s attraction lies in its ability to reach the brain quickly and produce euphoric effects. The more addicted a person becomes, the greater the chance of overdosing as the brain and body build up a tolerance to the drug’s effects. The materials used to cut heroin can also have dangerous effects on the body, especially in cases where toxic additives like quinine are used.

Heroin Cuts

On the street, heroin goes by a variety of names, some of which include “junk,” “skag,” “smack” and “H.” Regardless of the name used, anytime you purchase heroin, there’s no way of knowing what’s actually in it, short of doing a chemical analysis. A pure, uncut batch consists of pure white powder that carries a bitter taste, though it’s highly unlikely that a street dealer will sell pure heroin.

Heroin is typically cut with an additive agent, so the color of the final product can be anything from white to brown. Some of the materials used to cut a heroin batch include:

  • Caffeine
  • Flour
  • Chalk
  • Talcum powder
  • Sucrose
  • Starch
  • Powdered milk

Once cut, the amount of actual heroin contained in a batch can range anywhere from 3 to 99 percent, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Chemically-speaking, heroin is derived from morphine, a highly addictive pain-killing drug. Street-bought heroin comes in a wide range of brands that vary in appearance and form. Depending on how a person intends to use the drug, heroin comes in powder, pill and solution form.

*Heroin Impurities

Before heroin even gets into a dealer’s hands, the drug has to be manufactured from its original source, the poppy plant. Depending on how thorough the manufacturing process is, the final product may contain as many as 40 different impurities that should have been removed. Some of the impurities found in pre-processed heroin include:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Noscapine
  • Thebaine

Some of these materials, such as papaverine and thebaine, are used as active ingredients in prescription and over-the-counter medications for conditions involving digestive problems and pain symptoms.


If you’ve ever used the powder form of heroin for snorting, you’ve probably noticed how different batches can bring different types of “highs.” These differences may result from the type of heroin used or the type of additive used to cut a particular batch. Every now and then, a new powder form of heroin will come out, which simply means it’s cut with a new type of additive.

A 2006 report put out by the National Institute on Drug Abuse describes a new brand of heroin known as “cheese” heroin. Cheese heroin starts out as black tar heroin, an oily, gummy material. Before the arrival of cheese heroin, black tar was typically mixed with diphenhydramine, which is a generic over-the-counter antihistamine medication. Cheese heroin replaces the diphenhydramine agent with Tylenol PM or any other over-the-counter medication containing acetaminophen and diphenhydramine. The cooking process for cheese heroin involves freezing the black tar heroin, which makes it easier to cut it with Tylenol PM tablets. While this is just one of the many brands of heroin sold on the street, buyers open themselves up to ingesting any number of materials. These factors combined with heroin’s addictive qualities make overdosing a real possibility as there’s no way to know how much heroin is in each batch.

Other Heroin Solutions

Heroin solutions are typically used for “shooting up” or injecting into the veins. Solutions may also be snorted depending on how they’re prepared. Black tar heroin and Mexican brown powder are the brands most commonly used for injection and snorting. Solutions are made by mixing water with brown powder.

While shooting up may produce the quickest and most intense effects, any additives used to manufacture the powder are able to enter the bloodstream directly. These conditions leave a person open to any number of health risks, some of which include:

  • Blockages in the arteries
  • Infections in the heart tissue
  • Blockages in the brain
  • Liver damage

Please feel free to us at our toll free number if you need help breaking a heroin addiction. We can help you get on the path to recovery today. Call us and we will help you get the best exclusive inpatient or outpatient heroin addiction rehab facility.

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