How is Heroin Made?

Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Table of Contents
  1. What is Heroin?
  2. Where Does Heroin Come From?
  3. Countries Where Heroin is Made
  4. How is Heroin Made?
  5. Selecting the Opium
  6. Crushing Process
  7. Extraction Process
  8. Drying Process
  9. Purifying Process
  10. Treatment for Heroin Addiction

You may have heard a lot about Heroin and how the U.S. government is regulating Heroin due to a terrible rise in overdose cases. It is a highly addictive drug with extreme tendency towards dependency, cravings, and withdrawal. This is an opioid class illegal substance that people use initially as a pain killer, however, once they get addicted to this drug, the consequences can be deadly. Learn how heroin is made and the dangers of this opioid drug.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a white powder in its purest form or a sticky substance of various colors when sold on the street. It can be consumed through injection, snorting, and sniffing. This is a brown or white substance, often mixed with other illicit drugs. Many heroin addicts mix this substance with crack cocaine to increase the therapeutic effects. Initially, people consume this drug as a pain killer or to reduce their depression and stress.

Over time they build an extreme dependency to this substance. Heroin directly enters the brain and attaches to the opioid receptors. These receptors control breathing and sleeping activities. Furthermore, the opioid receptors also control heart rate, pain, and pleasure. When a person consumes this drug, they may experience a dangerous interruption in these activities.

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Where Does Heroin Come From?

Since heroin attaches to the opioid receptors it is an opioid drug. It comes from the natural substance morphine extracted from different poppy plants. The heroin extracted will vary by the poppy it is extracted from. This is why there are different types and qualities of heroin available on the market. Normally, heroin comes from Mexico, Colombia, Southeast, and Southwest Asia.

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Countries Where Heroin is Made

About 90% of heroin comes from opium grown in Afghanistan. Every year, Afghanistan produces more than 380 tons of heroin and exports it all around the world.

Also, Burma and Iran produce opium in their countries and export it in heroin form.

Other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Golden Triangle, and Laos also produce poppy plants and extract opium.

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How is Heroin Made?

Manufacturers extract heroin from poppy plant resin. They remove sap-like and milky opium from the poppy flower pod. Then they refine the opium and convert it into morphine. After that, they refine the substance and make different types of heroin. There are various methods that different manufacturers use to produce heroin. The process is divided into five major steps, which include:

  1. Selecting the opium
  2. Crushing process
  3. Extraction process
  4. Drying process
  5. Purifying process

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1) Selecting the Opium

in Afghanistan there are three major locations where manufacturers cultivate opium poppy. These locations are Nangarhar, Badakhshan, and Helmand. Facilities in these locations produce heroin in different batches with different consistency, odor, and appearance. They choose the right quality of opium and send it to the production unit. Opium is extracted from the pod of the poppy through a method known as lancing, or tapping. Farmers select pods that have swelled, are dark green, and that have points that are standing straight up.

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2) Crushing Process

Raw opium is gathered and allowed to dry, often by leaving it in the sun. The dried raw opioid is then poured into two large barrels. A huge wooden rod is used to crush the raw opioid.

The crushed opium is placed into new barrels and hot water is poured over it. The composition is stirred until it turns into a homogenous suspension. Calcium oxide and more hot water is added and the mixture is stirred for another hour. Water is added throughout the stirring process.

The barrels are left overnight for the rinsing process. The next day, morphine solution forms a film on the surface. The pH level of the residue is checked, the optimal pH is between 10 and 12. Now extraction process can begin.

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3) Extraction Process

Once a brownish foam residue forms on the surface, the extraction process begins. The morphine mixture is poured into a tub and then filtered into another tub. Once the brown opium residue is extracted, it is placed in a pressing device and the liquid is squeezed out. Ammonium chloride is added to the barrel, mixed with the morphine base, and left overnight.

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4) Drying Process

The morphine base is filtered with water using a cloth. The morphine base stays in the cloth in the open air for the drying process. Acetic hydride is added to the dry base in an aluminum pot, and stirred for 45 minutes. The solution is then placed on the fire for 30 more minutes.

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5) Purifying Process

The heroin base is isolated using sodium carbonate and purified with diluted hydrochloric acid. It is filtered with activated carbon and poured into a diluted ammonia solution.

In the final step, they use paper to filter the heroine solution in a metal bowl.

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Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a dangerous addictive substance, and the only way to recover from heroin addiction is a long-term inpatient rehab program. It is a never the wrong time to start reclaiming your life from the grips of a heroin addiction, whether it’s black tar heroin, purple heroin, or pure white powder. Reach out now, our admissions counselors are standing by waiting for your call.

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