What Does Black Tar Heroin Look Like?

Black tar heroin is one of three types of heroin. All types of heroin are dangerous despite their differences, but treatment programs are available to people facing heroin use issues.

Get Help Now!
Dr. Langdon M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon M.D.


Black tar heroin is one form of heroin that often comes from Mexico. Unlike the white powder and brown powder forms of heroin, black tar heroin is dark and solid.

It comes in a rock form that usually resembles coal but has a much stickier texture, similar to roofing tar.

Just like its powdered relatives, it is a highly addictive opioid derived from the seeds of opium poppy plants. The effects of heroin are similar to powerful painkillers and prescription opioids.

When it’s broken down and diluted, black tar heroin may appear more dark brown.

What Rock-Like Black Tar Heroin Looks Like

What Does Black Tar Heroin Look Like?

Most heroin comes in a powdered form. Black tar heroin is the one exception. This type of heroin is mostly produced in Mexico. It can be a bit like tar in texture, but it looks more like a black rock.

What Factors Affect The Appearance Of Heroin?

There are two factors that affect the appearance of heroin: origin and purity. The purest forms of heroin are usually made in South America or Asia.

They are a bright white powder, but they may be cut with other contaminants resulting in impurities. Less pure forms of powdered heroin appear brownish in color.

Black tar heroin does not come in a powdered form, and it is the least pure heroin.

The crude processing of the black tar heroin product causes it to be solid and black in color. This form of heroin is exclusively produced in Mexico.

Dangers Of Black Tar Heroin Abuse

All forms of heroin are dangerous. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, short-term heroin use can cause mental fog, partial loss of consciousness, nausea, drowsiness, and vomiting.

The long-term effects of heroin are a much longer and more dangerous list, including:

  • collapsed veins
  • damaged nasal tissue
  • infections of the heart
  • pus-filled heroin abscesses
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • pneumonia
  • mental health disorders
  • reproductive dysfunction

On top of these effects, the additives commonly found in heroin can cause permanent organ damage.

Injecting diluted black tar heroin with shared syringes increases the risk of developing diseases like HIV and hepatitis as it does with any injection drug use.

Long-term side effects aren’t the only concerns to keep in mind if you’re regularly using heroin or other opioids. One of the most dangerous aspects of drug use is the continual need for more.

People with substance abuse have to continually increase their dose to get the same effect. Unfortunately, with something like heroin, that can be incredibly dangerous given the risk of a fatal heroin overdose.

Treatment Options For Heroin Addiction

Addiction is a disease, and it isn’t something you shouldn’t have to fight alone. Fortunately, Bedrock Recovery Center’s heroin addiction treatment programs can offer you the help you need.

Our comprehensive treatment plan offers detox to get you through withdrawal symptoms as well as medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and so much more.

With options for inpatient and outpatient treatment, opiate addiction treatment programs at Bedrock can give you treatment that is personalized according to your immediate needs.

Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

Heroin is always dangerous, but it is never too late to ask for help. If you or a loved one have a heroin addiction, then the time to get help is now.

Contact Bedrock Recovery Center to learn more about our available rehab programs and what we can do to help.

  1. International Journal on Drug Policy — Heroin in brown, black and white: Structural factors and medical consequences in the US heroin market https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2704563/
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Heroin DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse — What is heroin and how is it used? https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-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