What Is Heroin Made Of? An In-depth Explanation

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Heroin is made of morphine extracted from poppy plants, through a long process. You may have heard a lot about Heroin and how the U.S. government is regulating it due to a terrible rise in overdose cases. It is a highly addictive drug with an extreme tendency towards dependency, cravings, and withdrawal. This is an opioid-class illegal substance that people use initially as a pain killer. However, once users become addicted to heroin, the consequences can be deadly. Join Avenues Recovery, leading experts in addiction rehabilitation, as we unearth: what is heroin made of?

What is heroin made of? Avenues Recovery outlines how heroin is processed.


What Forms Is Heroin Traded In?


While heroin is made from morphine extracted from poppy plants, it goes through a long process before it is sold as a drug. By the time it is sold on the street, heroin is a white powder in its purest form or a sticky substance of various colors. It can be consumed through injection, snorting, and sniffing. Heroin is often mixed with other illicit drugs. Many heroin addicts mix the substance with crack cocaine to increase its therapeutic effects. Initially, people consume heroin as a pain killer or to reduce depression and stress.

Over time, users develop a heroin addiction, which can eventually result in a heroin overdose. 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, often causing dangerous results.


What Plant Does Heroin Come From?

Heroin comes from the poppy plant. As mentioned above, morphine from the poppy plants is extracted and made into heroin. The resulting heroin will vary according to the poppy it is extracted from. This is why there are different types and qualities of heroin available on the market. Heroin typically comes from Mexico, Colombia, Southeast, and Southwest Asia.

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Where Does Heroin Come From?

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.

Additionally, 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 know how to make heroin by extracting opium from them.

What is heroin made of? Avenues Recovery recounts how heroin is created.

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How is Heroin Made: The Process


There are various methods used by manufacturers making heroin. The process is divided into five major steps, which include:

  • Selecting the opium
  • Crushing process
  • Extraction process
  • Drying process
  • Purifying process

How to make heroin - from the experts:

  1. Manufacturers extract heroin from poppy plant resin. 
  2. They remove sap-like and milky opium from the poppy flower pod. 
  3. Then they refine the opium and convert it into morphine. 
  4. After that, they refine the substance and make different types of heroin.

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1) Selecting the Opium

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

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2) Opium 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 is added, along with more hot water 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, the extraction process can begin.

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3) Opium 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) Opium 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 anhydride is added to the dry base in an aluminum pot, and stirred for 45 minutes. The solution is then placed on the fire for an additional 30 minutes.

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5) Heroin 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, paper is used to filter the heroine solution in a metal bowl.

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No Matter What Heroin is Made of, You Can Beat Your Addiction

Heroin is a dangerous addictive substance, and the most effective way to recover is with an inpatient rehab program. Don’t wait to reclaim your life from the grip of addiction. Reach out to Avenues Recovery, our experienced counselors are waiting for your call.

What is heroin made of? Avenues Recovery reveals how heroin is created.


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