Where Does Heroin Come From?

woman on drugs

Addiction to heroin can be described as being in prison isolation with no windows, simply spending your life waiting for your execution. While the first high is reported to be the best, it will never again be that good, and the rest of the time spent using heroin will consist of chasing that first high, and losing everything in the process.


Heroin Doesn’t Discriminate

Heroin is one of the most addictive substances, with 9.2 million people who use it daily throughout the world.  It has a presence in nearly every country, and doesn’t discriminate between races, ethnicities, or gender.

Where Heroin Comes From

Heroin is derived from a plant, but is far from safe. A milky sap-like substance called resin is extracted from the pod of the poppy flower, then refined to make morphine. In the 1800’s, opium addiction was rampant, so scientists figured out how to make morphine as a solution to the opium epidemic. Morphine was thought to be non-addictive and an adequate answer for those who were dependent on opium. Unfortunately, as we well know today, morphine is highly addictive. The Bayer pharmaceutical company then created heroin in 1898 to give to those with a morphine addiction, and also used it as treatment for tuberculosis. Heroin was initially thought to be a non-addictive solution to addiction, as well. Also made from the resin of poppy flower, heroin is essentially a more refined version of morphine.

The Many “Cuts” of Heroin

Heroin, in its purest form, is a fine, white powder, but may also have a very slight yellow tint to it. However, pure heroin can be nearly impossible to come by and also astronomically expensive. Drug manufacturers usually “cut” the pure heroin with other substances. What it’s cut with and the process by which it’s diluted will determine the color.  Over 90% of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan. Yet, ironically, only 4% of the heroin distributed in the United States is from Afghanistan. South America and Mexico are the other big players in the production of heroin, and most of the heroin in the U.S. comes from Mexico. Typically, the heroin you find west of Mississippi is referred to as black tar heroin, mainly because of it’s color. The imperfect way it is processed in Mexico causes it to turn black.  

The Overdose Epidemic

Due to production inconsistencies of heroin, you can never be sure how strong or weak a bag of heroin is going to be, so people are constantly at risk for overdose. A shocking 115 people die per day of a heroin overdose, which shows how badly we need to find a solution to the opioid epidemic. When a person addicted to heroin tries to stop, they experience extremely painful withdrawals, often times resulting in the continuation of their disease.


Treatment is important to beating drug addiction. During the early part of recovery the risk of relapse is high, and temptation can be particularly tricky to combat. A recovery center offers a drug-free, supportive environment staffed with professionals who are committed to helping those in recovery succeed on their journey back to health.

Heroin addiction is progressive and fatal. Don’t lose your life to a drug. Call Simple Recovery today for information on our multi-tiered program is designed to help your loved one find success on a new path in life through school, work, and meaningful volunteering. Structured for progress, clients at Simple Recovery transition seamlessly through each phase of their recovery.

For information on our full continuum of care options for recovery from addiction and co-occurring mental health, call us today: 888-743-0490