What Does Black Tar Heroin Smell Like?

Black tar heroin has a strong odor, as well as other characteristics, that can help you tell it apart from different forms of heroin. The substance is also associated with specific signs and symptoms of use. A number of different treatments are available for heroin abuse.

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Dr. Langdon M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon M.D.


Black tar heroin is an unsafe, illegal opioid with a high risk of drug addiction. One of the most distinguishable traits of this substance is its smell.

Though scent can vary between batches of the drug, black tar heroin tends to have a strong, vinegar-like scent.

Learn more about black tar heroin.

Does Black Tar Heroin Smell Different From Other Forms Of Heroin?

Black tar heroin can smell different than other types of heroin like white powder and brown powder heroin, but all forms can have similar scents as well.

Brown Powder Heroin

Brown powder heroin is purer than black tar heroin but less processed than white powder heroin, which can result in varying smells and its dark brown appearance.

This form tends to smell more like vinegar than white powder heroin, but this can differ based on the additives it is mixed with.

White Powder Heroin

White powder heroin is the purest form of heroin and goes through the most processing, though it is not what most would consider to be street heroin. Pure heroin is almost entirely odorless.

However, depending on what the powder is cut with, it can smell like chemicals or even cat urine.

Other Ways To Identify Black Tar Heroin

Additional ways you can identify black tar heroin include inspecting the appearance and the texture of the substance.

Black tar heroin is darker in color than other forms of heroin due to its impurities. Specifically, this form of the drug is black, as the name implies.

On top of the color, the texture of black tar heroin helps it stand out from other heroin forms. Black tar is often gummy and sticky but can also be solid and hard, which is easily differentiated from powdered heroin.

Find out more about what black tar heroin looks like.

Signs And Symptoms Of Black Tar Heroin Use

If you’re worried a loved one may be using black tar heroin, there are a few signs and symptoms of drug use you can look out for.

Signs of black tar heroin use may include:

Symptoms of black tar heroin use can be:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • restlessness
  • dry mouth
  • sleepiness
  • impaired mental function
  • mental health changes
  • opiate withdrawal symptoms

Treatment Options For Heroin Addiction

There are a variety of addiction treatment options for substance use disorder and for black tar heroin abuse, specifically. Treatment providers like Bedrock Recovery Center, located in Canton, MA, offer a number of programs.

Our treatment center offers three general treatment programs: heroin detoxification, residential inpatient heroin treatment, and medication-assisted treatment.

Detox treatment is designed to help people with heroin addiction through the withdrawal process.

Inpatient and medication-assisted treatment involve the use of other medications and therapies to help you recover from substance abuse.

Find Treatment For Heroin Abuse At Bedrock Recovery Center

Heroin addiction is a significant matter and can afflict anyone. Call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center as soon as possible if you or someone you love need help for heroin abuse.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Heroin https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Heroin Research Report Series https://nida.nih.gov/sites/default/files/heroinrrs_11_14.pdf

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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