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What Is Liquid Heroin

You just moved to Tampa, and being new to the area has been difficult. You are in high school, and are already sticking out like a sore thumb. At your old school, there were only around 80 students per grade but now, there are over 1,000. There is a party going on this Friday, and knowing that you need to find a way to get to know at least someone at this school, you decide to go.

What Is Liquid Heroin - Addiction Treatment in Florida

Being from a small town, you already know all about different drugs like cocaine and meth. When you see the punch bowl full of random pills, you already know to stay away. Finally, a girl comes up to you with a foam cup, asking if you want to dance. You are so excited to finally talk to someone, you immediately accept. As you are dancing, you notice she seems so carefree and relaxed. She offers you a drink, calling it “purple drank.” You’ve never heard of that before; it must be some type of beer or alcohol, which would be fine to loosen you up. Before you know it, the room is spinning and you can feel your breathing slowing. What was in that drink?

In Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, 13.9% of residents 12 and over reported illicit substance use. Here at Clean Recovery Centers, we understand that substance use disorders such as heroin can start at an early age and progress through life. Today, we are identifying the different types of heroin and answering the question: what is liquid heroin?

What Are the Different Types of Liquid Heroin?

First, what is heroin? A semi-synthetic opioid, heroin is derived from morphine and can come in a white to brownish powder or a black sticky-like substance referred to as black tar heroin. In the United States, heroin is typically imported from Southwest Asia, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Here in Florida, it enters the country through port towns such as Tampa and Miami.

Powdered heroin can be mixed with water, then heated and injected. This type of heroin is most seen with HIV prevalence, while black tar heroin is more associated with soft tissue infections. Different side effects of heroin can indicate which type of heroin is being used.

Black Tar Heroin

Black tar heroin, also known as the black dragon, is a smokable form of heroin. It has been gaining popularity as it is cheaper to make than powdered heroin and can be sold at much higher profit margins. While it can be injected, it is easier to be smoked or snorted as it is not very water-soluble. This means that dissolving it in water will take more time than dissolving the powder form of heroin.

As with any form of heroin, there is always a risk of developing dependency. Heroin works in the brain and body by binding to the opioid receptors, creating intense feelings of pleasure and reducing feelings of pain. By smoking black tar heroin, the person will feel these effects almost immediately, creating euphoria and relaxation. The opioid receptors begin to become used to having heroin within the system and will require more to achieve the same feelings. This is where heroin withdrawal comes into play. When the body does not get heroin, the chemicals in the brain become unbalanced, triggering withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Black Tar Heroin

Side effects of black tar heroin are similar to powdered heroin, but since it is usually smoked, it can cause other health problems such as:

  • Lung infections
  • Stroke
  • Runny nose
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Some other signs of heroin addiction include lethargy, overall poor health, and nodding in and out of consciousness.

Lean Heroin

Lean heroin refers to a liquid concoction of prescription-strength cough syrup and soda. The confusion is that typically, lean does not have heroin in it, however; it does produce similar effects to powdered heroin. Prescription cough syrup contains codeine, which is also an opioid like heroin. Lean is popular with the younger crowds because getting the ingredients is relatively easy from local pharmacies or convenience stores. It is often referred to as “purple drank,” and is easy to swallow and enjoy the effects.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Lean Heroin

While mimicking symptoms of heroin use, lean can have some different side effects. Once the euphoria and relaxation wear off, symptoms include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Heaviness in the limbs
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Gastric distress

Even though lean does not contain heroin, an overdose can occur at any time. Heroin overdose is when the body becomes overwhelmed and the opioid receptors can’t keep up to process it. The same happens when too much lean is consumed at once. Lean is not as strong of an opioid as heroin or morphine, but when consumed in high amounts, an overdose can happen without notice, as breathing slows to a halt.

Is There a “More Dangerous” Version of Heroin?

What Is Liquid Heroin - Addiction Treatment at Clean Recovery CenterHeroin is an illicit substance, meaning there are no rules or regulations in how it is made or what it is made with. Therefore, all heroin can be considered dangerous. Fentanyl has been on the rise as a cutting agent in heroin as well as other substances, but it is seen more in powdered heroin than black tar. When it comes to lean heroin, anything can get mixed into the drink without the person’s knowledge.

While heroin is already not a safe substance, the substances used to cut it can be even more harmful. Xylazine and “rizzy” have been circulating through the markets and causing life-threatening side effects. Heroin cutting agents can cause skin necrosis as well as increased infections and sepsis. They also increase the risk of an overdose.

The Difference Between Liquid and Powdered Heroin

Powdered heroin is very common, and it can be taken in many different ways. In order to inject powdered heroin, it must be dissolved in water, which turns it into liquid heroin. This method is common with other opioids and even substances such as cocaine. By adding water, the powder or even pill forms can be turned into a serum, easy to inject. Lean and powdered heroin dissolved in water are two different substances completely, but powdered heroin and the liquid produced are the same.

The Different Ways Heroin Is Ingested

Heroin can be taken by snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing. While each method has its benefits and drawbacks, the effects heroin produces are almost always the same. When heroin is injected or smoked, the effects are felt immediately. When snorted, it can take a few minutes to begin to feel high. By swallowing, the effects are postponed around 10-20 minutes. The high from heroin typically fades within 15-30 minutes. However, withdrawal symptoms can appear in as little to 6 hours after the last use.

Getting Treatment for Liquid Heroin in Florida

Heroin dependence can affect anyone, even your parent, sibling, coworker, or friend. It happens quickly, and often before the person even realizes it. The good news is that there is help available, and finding recovery is possible for anyone.

At Clean Recovery Centers, we understand the grip heroin has on your life right now. Our heroin addiction treatment utilizes a unique, three-phase approach to addiction treatment. Our facilities are the only ones in the area that have certified, rapid-resolution therapists at each of our locations. Our dedicated staff is here to provide support mentally, physically, and emotionally as you take back your life from opioids and learn to live clean.

If you or someone you love is in the grips of a heroin use disorder, there are options at your fingertips. Clean Recovery Centers strives to provide a family-like atmosphere centered around safety and well-being. It is never too late to get clean, live clean, and stay clean. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to schedule an appointment or learn more.


What is liquid heroin?

Liquid heroin is essentially powdered heroin that has been diluted in water. Lean heroin refers to a mixture of prescription cough syrup mixed with soda and typically does not contain heroin at all.

How is liquid heroin used?

Liquid heroin is usually injected. Lean heroin is a drink that is swallowed.

What forms of heroin can you take?

Black tar heroin, powdered heroin, and lean heroin are all versions of heroin or opioids that can be ingested through snorting, smoking, swallowing, or injecting.

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