If you read our article about heroin history, you definitely know that this drug doesn’t grow on the tree or inside the poppy pods. This is a synthetic substance produced as a result of long chain of technologies and processes from planting the poppy to its final condition, named heroin.

Depending on the location, production complexity and provider, different types of heroin with various textures were defined. Some resources tend to differentiate 3 types and the others name 4 types of heroin. Black and tar heroin are sometimes considered different types. However, we think that talking about black and tar heroin separately means to repeat the same information. Therefore we would classify all the heroin types as following:

  • White heroin
  • Brown heroin
  • Black (tar) heroin

Additionally to the above list of dry heroin types, there is a liquid form of tar heroin. It is sold in small eye droppers for immediate use.

We would like to mention another type of extremely strong and dangerous drug – “China White”. This is actually not a pure heroin, but its mixture with Fentanyl. China White is famous for its high level of being fatal for users.

Except the colour, each type of heroin has its own characteristics like purity, weight, heat stability, water solubility, pH balance, origin and form of use.

Based on the preferences, availability and financial capabilities, heroin users choose the type of heroin and way of use they prefer.

Let’s look into each of the types closely.

Black (tar) heroin

Black (tar) heroin is a complete hard piece which can be either sticky and gummy or hard like coal. The reason of such physical form is poor acetylation of morphine.

This type of heroin is not usually used by newbies. Longtime addicts dissolve black tar with water and collect this mixture with the syringe for injection. Black tar is really destructive for veins therefore in most cases it is injected subcutaneously or intramuscularly. Sometimes black tar is blended into powder for snorting. These ways of use defend the addicts from high risk of HIV.  Meantime subcutaneous or intramuscular use can cause the following infections: necrotizing fasciitis, soft tissue infections and wound botulism.

Black tar heroin is heavier than the rest types and is not always black. The color can be from dark orange to brown but it can never be white.This type of drug is cheaper than the rest due to the ease of production and law purity – about 25–30%. No special laboratory equipment is required or used at its production.

Black heroin comes wrapped in plastic and packed into tiny balloons from Mexico to the USA via ground shipping. The main distribution and administration area is the west of the United States, especially Los Angeles.

The effects addicts get from using black tar heroin are:

Heavy limbs
Clouded thinking
Flushed skin
Dry mouth
Nodding off

Like all the other types, black tar causes strong addiction hard to struggle with.

Brown heroin

Brown heroin is a powder, often called the base, that is poorly dissolved in water. Its purity and power are lower than those of other types, still they don’t decrease the addiction caused. Brown heroin is impossible to inject without adding acid to its mixture with water. Otherwise, the only ways this heroin type can be used is smoking or snorting.

Brown heroin is imported to the USA from Columbia, while Europe gets it from Southwest Asia.This drug is comparatively cheap as its production process is much more easier than production of white heroin.

White heroin

White heroin is the most pure type. The high level of its acidity leads to a very quick and easy dissolution in water. Despite the name, white heroin is not always white. It is often shaded beige, pink, brown etc., depending on the chemical agents used in its production. As a rule, white heroin comes from Southeast Asia.

Among the rest of the types, white heroin production is the most complicated. Special equipment and processes are required to transform the compound into salt. This makes white heroin production expensive and explains its high price.

A huge variety of methods of use distinguishes white heroin from the other types. Most methods take about 7 seconds to 15 minutes till the effect comes.The quickest way of administration is intravenous injection (almost immediate effect – about 8 seconds). The second place takes intramuscular injection. The effect comes in about 5 to 10 minutes. The third place is taken by several methods simultaneously which bring the effect within 5 to 15 minutes from the moment white heroin is administered. They are Nasal Insufflation, Smoking, Inhaling and Rectal use. Another method of use, the subcutaneous injection that brings the effect in about 20 minutes. And the final method with its 30 minutes timeout is Oral use.

While the first feelings from taking white heroin are extremely pleasurable, there is a huge danger this drug poses. It is harmful to the mind, the body, health, social life and financial situation of the addict.  

Heroin street names

The world of drugs widely operates the chemical names of the substances, extracts and mixtures and gives nicknames to them. Being sold on the streets, heroin has about 25 different unofficial names:


Big H

Black Pearl

Black Tar

Brown Crystal

Brown Sugar


China White



Dragon (smoking heroin is called “Chasing the Dragon”)



Mexican Brown

Mexican Mud

Mr. Brownstone









White Lady

There are different combinations of heroin with other drugs like marijuana, LSD, methamphetamine. They can be two-, three-component and multicomponent ones.

We will tell you about them in one of our next articles.

Now when we told you about the types of heroin, we hope this information will be of help to you when struggling against heroin addiction among your close people.