Heroin is grown as a crop by over 200,000 families in Afghanistan. Check out the Drug War page for more information on Afghanistan’s Heroin Supply. Heroin is extracted from the poppy plant’s sap and broken down through a chemical process.
After Heroin is smuggled into the US it gets sold to one buyer after the other. Typically each buyer will add “cut” to the Heroin to increase profits. By the time Heroin reaches the user, the purity is only about 2-8% Heroin. The rest can be a combination of several things including chocolate milk, baby laxative, baking soda, and sometimes fentanyl, an opiate used by hospitals that can be 80 times more potent than morphine. When dealers add “cut” they can turn a few “kilos” (kilograms) into a lot more just by adding more powder. During this process the Heroin will eventually be put into smaller bags for user distribution. These bags are typically small wax bags with or without a stamp on it.
Stamps are used to identify the product. A Heroin user might like a certain “type” or Heroin being sold because it gives them a better high. Theses names can vary from a new movie that recently came out, or something more cynical like a stamp I came across while using called “Flatline” with a heart monitor like graphic on the front flatlining.
There are simple mistakes a user can make while injecting heroin that can hurt them. Air bubbles caught in the plunger of a hypodermic can damage the heart after injection and also be fatal.
There is also bacteria that is commonly found on the skin, if the bacteria gets into the bloodstream it can kill someone. That’s why doctors and nurses always whip down the injection site with an alcohol pad. To kill any bacteria that might be there. Mixing cocain and heroin can be fatal also.