Identifying Black Tar Heroin By Look And Smell

Black tar heroin is a risky, illicit drug that can cause addiction. It can be identified through appearance and smell, as it differs from other forms of the drug. People with a heroin addiction can find various treatment options.

Get Help Now!
Dr. Langdon M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon M.D.


Black tar or Mexican tar heroin is a highly addictive, dangerous drug that poses countless physical and mental health risks.

Though there are different forms of heroin, identifying black tar heroin is easy with a few distinguishable factors associated with the drug.

Learn more about black tar heroin.

What Black Tar Heroin Looks Like

What Does Black Tar Heroin Look Like?

Black tar heroin is fairly easy to identify visually. Just like the name suggests, black tar heroin is black in color.

In addition to its color, the texture of the opioid can help you identify it. Black tar heroin ranges from sticky and gummy to hard like a rock. It is also compared to the texture of roofing tar.

Find out more about what black tar heroin looks like.

What Black Tar Heroin Smells Like

Another straightforward way to identify black tar heroin is through its scent. Heroin differs in smell based on its form and what it might be “cut” or mixed with.

While purer types of heroin like white powder heroin can sometimes be entirely odorless or smell more like vitamins, black tar heroin typically has an acidic, vinegar like-smell.

Learn more about how to identify black tar heroin through smell

Difference Between Black Tar And Other Forms Of Heroin

Aside from the physical differences, black tar is different from other forms of heroin due to the way it’s made, its contents, and where it’s used and produced.

As mentioned above, powder forms of heroin are a purer form of the drug. The processing method of white and brown powder heroin is more complex than that of black tar heroin.

The processing method of Mexican tar is shorter and leaves behind more impurities, which lends to the darker color and varying texture.

Yet another difference between black tar heroin and other forms of the drug is its prevalence in specific regions. Precisely, black tar heroin is more common in western U.S. cities and is typically produced in Mexico.

Learn about the different types of heroin.

Treatment Options For Heroin Abuse

Bedrock Recovery Center offers a variety of addiction treatment options for substance abuse. Substance use disorders vary, so treatment programs are tailored to each individual.

Treatment options at Bedrock include:

In addition to managing withdrawal symptoms from drug use, Bedrock programs also include therapy, outpatient services, and recovery education.

Find Heroin Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

The use of black tar heroin is incredibly risky and can lead to life-threatening effects in no time.

If you or a loved one are facing heroin use, don’t hesitate to call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center and learn about our individualized treatment plans.

  1. City of New York Health — Heroin
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Heroin Research Report
  3. United States Drug Enforcement Administration — Drug Fact Sheet: Heroin

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.
(617) 657-2877
icon-angle icon-bars icon-times