The opioid-based drug heroin originates from morphine harvested from the opium poppy plant in South America and Southeast Asia.
Heroin is created after a process of chemical refinement, and the final form of the drug can come in a fine powder or sticky brownish substance called black tar heroin. It can also be diluted into a liquid form.
When used, liquid heroin enters the brain and binds to opioid receptors responsible for feelings of pain and pleasure, heart rate, and breathing. People report an instantaneous rush of euphoria when they take the drug.
How Liquid Heroin Is Made
Liquid heroin is typically created by a process of diluting black tar heroin and boiling it in a spoon. It is then taken through intravenous (IV) injection.
Lean heroin may or may not contain street heroin, but almost always contains the opioid drug codeine mixed with a variety of liquid substances, and people typically drink it in a cup.
Black Tar Heroin
Black tar heroin is less refined than white powder or brown powder forms of heroin. As a result, it normally appears as a hard, coal-like rock, or a black, tar-like substance.
It can be turned into a liquid by diluting it and then heating it in a spoon. The resulting liquid can then be loaded into a syringe and injected into the vein with a needle.
“Lean” is a slang term for another type of liquid heroin that is a mixture of various over-the-counter medications and codeine, an addictive opiate.
Lean is created by combining substances such as cough syrup, Jolly Ranchers, soda, and other prescription drugs into a cup and drinking it.
How Liquid Heroin Is Abused
Liquid heroin that originates from black tar heroin may be created by heating it in a spoon and injecting it. Some drug dealers sell pre-made liquid heroin in small eye droppers.
People who abuse heroin will almost always use liquid black tar heroin as an injectable drug. This is due to the nearly instantaneous euphoric effects of the drug when administered into the vein.
Lean heroin is always ingested as a concoction of various drugs in a cup. There is no standardized form of lean heroin. As a result, people who drink lean never know exactly what they’re ingesting.
Lean is a particularly common recreational drug among young people and teens, due to the readily available ingredients and easy to conceal formulation.
Side Effects And Dangers Of Liquid Heroin Use
There are several mild to severe side effects and health risks due to the use of liquid heroin.
Some of the common mild to severe effects of heroin use include:
- dry mouth
- slowed breathing and heart rate
- nausea and vomiting
- heavy sensation in the limbs
- memory loss
- liver and kidney disease
- brain damage
Injecting heroin poses its own dangers due to sharing needles and the risk of contracting bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS.
Many people who abuse liquid heroin think lean is less dangerous because of the over-the-counter nature of its formulation.
Codeine taken in high doses, particularly when mixed with alcohol and other impurities is extremely harmful and may lead to an overdose death.
Treatment Options For Heroin Drug Use
Help is available if you, a friend, or a loved one are addicted to liquid heroin or other opioid drugs such as fentanyl.
Substance abuse treatments for heroin addiction may include:
- support groups for opiate drug addiction
- medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for heroin using buprenorphine, methadone, or naloxone
- mental health services
- medically monitored detoxification
- dual diagnosis treatment
- group, individual, and family therapy
- 12-step programs
Attempting to quit using heroin cold turkey may lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. That’s why it’s important to seek the help of healthcare professionals at a rehab center.
Whether you’re addicted to smoking heroin, snorting heroin, or injecting liquid heroin, an evidence-based recovery center will provide the services needed to achieve long-term sobriety.
Find Heroin Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Call or visit Bedrock Recovery Center for additional information on our inpatient treatment program for heroin abuse and opioid painkiller addiction.
Our team can answer your questions and assist you in finding a treatment plan that fits your needs and provides the best chance at lasting recovery from substance use disorder.
- National Institute Of Health (NIH) — What Is Heroin And How Is It Used? https://nida.nih.gov/sites/default/files/heroinrrs_11_14.pdf
- National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Heroin DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — Heroin https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/heroin