Synthetic heroin is heroin that has been combined with synthetic opioids in order to produce a stronger high and also to be more cost-effective for the drug producer and dealers.
Synthetic heroin can also be a more general term to refer to synthetic opioids, since heroin is actually a semi-synthetic opiate.
Both types of heroin can be extremely dangerous, with drug overdose deaths from both kinds contributing greatly to the current opioid crisis across the United States.
The opioid epidemic is a serious public health matter and has only continued to get worse in recent years.
Where Does Synthetic Heroin Come From?
Synthetic heroin in the form of synthetic opioids is manufactured in labs for pharmaceutical companies. These opioids can also be manufactured in illegal labs as well.
Synthetic heroin is powder heroin mixed with prescription opioids and can be made by anyone who is in possession of the two drugs.
This type of heroin is often laced or cut directly by the drug dealer themselves, and many times the consumer still believes they are buying unadulterated pure heroin.
How Is Synthetic Heroin Made?
Synthetic heroin refers to synthetic opioids made in chemical laboratories. These labs can either be legal or illegal in nature.
Both synthetic and semi-synthetic heroin is produced in these labs. Semi-synthetic heroin is based on substances extracted from the poppy plant and therefore has a natural base.
On the other hand, synthetic opioids are produced entirely from chemicals and contain no natural ingredients.
Types Of Synthetic Heroin
When the term synthetic heroin is used to refer to heroin that is laced with synthetic opioids, it could be referring to any of these popular combinations.
Oftentimes these heroin products are dyed bold colors so as to attract teens and young adults as party drugs.
Purple heroin contains heroin and a number of possible synthetic opioids, though brorphine is usually one of them.
Blue heroin is heroin that has been dyed blue and which usually contains a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine.
Pink heroin is usually heroin that has been mixed with carfentanil and then dyed a light pink color.
China White Heroin
White powder heroin is commonly laced with fentanyl. China white heroin is a nickname for this type of heroin.
Types Of Synthetic Opioids
There are multiple types of synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids currently available on the market.
These medications are generally prescribed by healthcare providers as a way of treating severe pain associated with major surgery or cancer.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. It was created as a pain reliever for severe and chronic pain.
Due to its potency and potentially addictive nature, it is generally used as a last resort after other pain relief medications have failed to produce results.
Carfentanil was created to be a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants. It is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and must be handled very carefully.
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid that is marketed under the brand name Oxycontin.
Hydrocodone is a type of prescription opioid that is most well-known under the brand name Vicodin. This type of opioid is also semi-synthetic.
Codeine is an example of an opiate that is completely natural. This type of opioid can be found in both prescription drugs as well as certain over-the-counter medications.
To be considered natural, codeine comes directly from the opium poppy plant.
Dangers And Risks Of Synthetic Heroin
Synthetic heroin use comes with a lot of dangers and risks, whether a person is referring to opioids that have been created in labs or heroin that has been combined with such opioids.
All types of heroin are highly addictive, whether synthetic, semi-synthetic, or completely natural.
People can become addicted to synthetic opioids even when they have been prescribed to them by a medical provider.
Risk Of Drug Overdose
Heroin on its own comes with a high risk of overdose. Due to the fact that synthetic heroin contains opioids that are highly potent, this risk of heroin overdose only increases.
Fortunately, overdose deaths from heroin and other opioids can be prevented with the use of naloxone, the heroin overdose antidote.
This life-saving medication is usually carried by law enforcement and is also available at licensed pharmacies as a nasal spray under the brand name Narcan.
Synthetic Heroin Addiction Treatment
Synthetic heroin addiction can be very difficult to overcome, and many of those who attempt to quit on their own find themselves in a constant cycle of withdrawal and relapse.
Evidence-based heroin addiction treatment can provide the support and clinical services that many people need for long-term recovery.
Detoxification for substance abuse can be either observational or medical, but medical detox is always recommended for treating an opioid use disorder.
Detox for opioid use disorders often uses opioid replacement therapy medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, to help ease withdrawal symptoms.
The heroin withdrawal timeline will vary based on a number of factors including the severity of a person’s addiction, their overall health, and more.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is similar to detox but it is done over a much longer period of time, whereas medical detox usually only lasts a week or two at the most.
MAT for opioid use disorders often uses the same medications that are used during detox. Additional medications may be used after a person has achieved sobriety.
This type of treatment is usually also combined with various types of therapy to address a person’s mental health as well as their addiction.
Finding Substance Abuse Disorder Treatment For Heroin Addiction
If you or someone you love is living with an addiction to any type of synthetic heroin, call our helpline and speak to one of our trained representatives.
We can answer questions or provide guidance as you begin your recovery journey, as well as help you locate an alcohol and drug use rehab center near you.Article Sources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- National Library of Medicine: PubMed.gov