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The Dark Side of Black Tar Heroin: How it Affects Your Body and Brain

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

The Dark Side of Black Tar Heroin: How it Affects Your Body and Brain

What is Black Tar Heroin?

Black Tar Heroin, an immensely addictive opioid, has surged in popularity, prompting experts to underscore its perils and project its potential to surpass the usage of “crack.” Derived from the opium poppy plant, this hazardous substance lacks any legal medical applications in the United States. Despite the evident threats it poses to both physical and mental well-being, a significant number of individuals persist in its use, exacerbating the ongoing national crisis of addiction and overdose. Within the pages of this article, we will illuminate the ominous facets of Black Tar Heroin, scrutinizing its impact on the body and the mind.

Black Tar's Potency and Street Names

Black Tar Heroin gets its name from its sticky, tar-like consistency. It is a type of heroin that is manufactured using a crude extraction method, leaving behind impurities that make it more potent and dangerous than other forms of heroin. This dark, black substance is typically sold in small chunks or balls and is known for its intense and immediate effects. It can be smoked, snorted, or injected and is also referred to as “Mexican Brown,” “Black,” “Black dragon,” or “Brown.”

How Does Black Tar Heroin Affect Your Body?

The consumption of Black Tar Heroin can induce a spectrum of physical and psychological effects, manifesting both in the short-term and long-term. In the short term, users may encounter symptoms like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and constipation. In more severe cases, individuals may be susceptible to convulsions, seizures, and even fatal outcomes.

In the long term, the persistent use of Black Tar Heroin can inflict substantial harm on the body. Repeated injection of the substance is associated with the development of infections, abscesses, and various health issues at the injection site, including skin infections and blood clots. Additionally, this prolonged usage can lead to significant damage to vital organs such as the liver and kidneys. Respiratory problems, including conditions like pneumonia and lung abscesses, are also documented consequences of long-term Black Tar Heroin use. Understanding these potential effects is crucial for fostering awareness about the risks associated with this substance.

Short-term effects:

  • Euphoria and rush
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness and sedation
  • Reduced respiration and heart rate
  • Constricted pupils
  • Itching and scratching

Long-term effects:

  • Addiction and dependence
  • Damage to the lungs, liver, and kidneys
  • High risk of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
  • Cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke
  • Hormonal imbalances and sexual dysfunction
  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Premature aging

How Black Tar Heroin Affects Your Brain

Black Tar Heroin exerts its impact on the brain by binding to opioid receptors within the brain and nervous system. This binding initiates a heightened release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter pivotal in regulating pleasure and reward sensations. The resulting surge of dopamine induces an overwhelming sense of euphoria, reinforcing the compelling urge to continue using the drug.

As the brain acclimates to the effects of Black Tar Heroin, it undergoes a process of developing tolerance. This adaptation necessitates escalating doses of the substance to attain the same heightened state of euphoria. The rapid escalation of tolerance can swiftly lead to the development of addiction and dependence, creating a formidable challenge for users attempting to cease drug use without enduring withdrawal symptoms. Understanding this neurobiological process sheds light on the intricate dynamics that contribute to the addictive nature of Black Tar Heroin.

Mental Health Risks of Black Tar Heroin Use

Black Tar Heroin use can also have  severe impacts on mental health. This may include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Paranoia and psychosis
  • Cognitive impairment and memory problems
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

 These mental health problems can make it even more difficult to quit using the drug.

Why Addiction is So Difficult to Overcome

Addiction is a complex phenomenon that involves changes in the brain chemistry. Repeated exposure to Black Tar Heroin and other opioids can lead to alterations in the brain that make it challenging to quit. Some of the reasons include:


The release of dopamine triggered by the use of Black Tar Heroin creates a potent incentive to continue using the drug. As the brain adapts to the presence of the drug, it develops tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect.

Availability and accessibility of the drug

The widespread availability and affordability of Black Tar Heroin pose a challenge for individuals to resist its use

Difficult Withdrawal

Black Tar Heroin can be unpleasant, including symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and insomnia. These changes can cause intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can make quitting difficult.

Stigma and Shame

The shame and stigma associated with addiction can prevent people from seeking help and can make recovery more challenging.

Dangers Associated With Using Black Tar Heroin

The dangers associated with using Black Tar Heroin are numerous and severe. They may include:


The drug can quickly lead to overdose and death, especially when mixed with other substances.

Increased risk of accidents and injuries

The sedative effects of the drug can also impair judgment and motor function, leading to accidents and injuries.

Criminal Behavior

Individuals with addiction may turn to criminal behavior to support their drug habits, leading to legal trouble and incarceration.

Ultimately, heroin use can have fatal consequences, making it crucial to seek help and support to overcome addiction.

Treatment Options for Black Tar Heroin Addiction

Individuals with Black Tar Heroin addiction need to seek medical attention and support throughout the recovery process. In addition to any medication-assisted treatment, Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs can also provide intensive support and structure to help individuals overcome addiction.

It is also important for individuals to address any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to their addiction.

With the right support and treatment, individuals can overcome Black Tar Heroin addiction and lead a fulfilling, sober life.

The Road to Recovery

Recovering from Black Tar Heroin addiction is undoubtedly challenging, but it is an achievable feat. If you or a cherished individual is grappling with addiction, taking that pivotal first step toward recovery is paramount.

Initiating this journey may involve reaching out to a trusted healthcare professional or an addiction treatment center to explore the array of available treatment options. It’s crucial to bear in mind that the road to recovery is a transformative journey, one that may encompass setbacks and challenges. Nevertheless, armed with the right support and resources, individuals can triumph over addiction and pave the way for fulfilling, healthy lives.

Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At California Prime Recovery, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to California Prime Recovery today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-208-2390

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