Substance Use

What Is Liquid Heroin?

liquid heroin vials and needles

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Zinnia Health’s Guide to Liquid Heroin and Its Effects and Dangers

Two different ways to make liquid heroin are “lean,” made by mixing cough syrup and soda, and black tar heroin, which is made by mixing it with water. Liquid heroin users have a higher chance of contracting an infectious disease and are also at risk for liver disease, kidney disease, and sexual dysfunction.

Heroin is an incredibly addictive and dangerous drug. This drug comes in many forms, can be taken in many ways, and can lead to a number of devastating health problems.

The good news is that help and healing are available through effective and established treatment programs. Keep reading to learn more about the effects of heroin, liquid heroin, and the treatment options for substance use disorder.

The Liquid Heroin Trendline

Are you or a loved one struggling with heroin addiction? Zinnia Health can help. Our intake specialists are standing by to walk you through the next steps in your healing journey. Call us now at (855) 430-9439.

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What Is Liquid Heroin?

Liquid heroin, commonly referred to by the slang term “lean,” is made by mixing cough syrup and soda. It can also be made by mixing black tar heroin with water. To create this concoction, users dilute the black tar heroin and boil it in a spoon. Then, they inject it via an IV.

Liquid heroin doesn’t always contain street heroin, but it almost always contains the opioid drug codeine mixed with a number of liquids.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), currently, criminal organizations in Mexico supply the most heroin, cocaine, meth, and fentanyl to the United States by smuggling the drugs into the country.

What’s the Difference Between Powdered Heroin and Liquid Heroin?

Heroin in powder form and liquid form are both equally addictive, but there are a few key differences between them.

Liquid heroin is generally dissolved in water or another liquid before it is injected, which makes it easier to inject the sticky substance and results in a faster, more intense high. This makes liquid heroin more dangerous than heroin in powder form because the risk of overdose is higher.

On the other hand, powdered heroin is typically snorted or smoked, and the effects take longer to set in. The high is less intense with powdered heroin.

Types of Liquid Heroin

As we mentioned above, when someone talks about liquid heroin, they are typically talking about two substances:

  • Lean: This form typically does not contain actual heroin. Other names for lean include purple drank, sizzurp, drank, and barre. It is made by mixing codeine cough syrup that contains promethazine and Sprite or hard candy, like Jolly Ranchers.
  • Black tar heroin: This form does contain heroin — black tar heroin is a type of heroin that contains impurities. It is sticky and resembles a piece of roofing tar.

What Does Liquid Heroin Look Like?

Liquid heroin’s appearance varies depending on whether it is black tar heroin or lean. One thing that both of these substances have in common is they do not look like the traditional white powder street heroin.

Black tar heroin is typically gray, brown, or orange, while lean varies in color based on what kind of soda and cough syrup the concoction is made with.

What Do People Use to Consume Liquid Heroin With?

People typically use syringes, needles, and eye droppers to ingest and concoct black tar heroin. For lean, they use foam cups, red solo cups, soda cans, cough syrup bottles, and candy wrappers.

How Do People Use Liquid Heroin?

People drink lean from a cup, similar to how they would drink any other kind of beverage, whereas black tar heroin is typically injected into the veins. Drinking lean is particularly popular among young people in the party scene.

This drug is extremely dangerous because of its unpredictable effects. This causes users to take too much of the drug, which could lead to an overdose.

Some heroin users take an eye dropper to place black tar heroin directly into their nostrils. This process is known as “water looping.” In rare cases, people drink this form of heroin.

What Are the Risks of Liquid Heroin Use?

According to the National Library of Medicine, heroin is a dangerous and deadly drug. In fact, findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that heroin is involved in nearly 20 percent of all opioid deaths.

Short-Term Side Effects of Heroin

The short-term side effects of all heroin use include:

  • Feeling exhilarated
  • A warm flushing feeling on the skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Heavy-feeling arms and legs
  • Severe itchiness
  • Vomiting
  • Clouded judgment
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slowed breathing

Long-Term Side Effects of Heroin

The long-term side effects of heroin use include:

  • Development of a substance abuse disorder
  • Heart infections
  • Skin infections, including cellulitis
  • Collapsed veins
  • Diseases that impact lung health, including tuberculosis and pneumonia

Risk of Black Tar Heroin

Black tar heroin has the highest likelihood of medical complications because of its impurities. Other risks associated with this type of drug use include:

Risks of Lean

The risks of lean include:

  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Impaired vision
  • Shortness of breath

Life-threatening risks of all forms of heroin include:

  • Seizures
  • Respiratory damage
  • Brain damage
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Coma
  • Death

Do you need heroin addiction treatment? Zinnia Health is here for you. Browse our inpatient and outpatient treatment plans today.

Mental Health Side Effects of Heroin Use

Heroin does not just affect the body. It also affects the mind. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the mental health side effects of heroin include:

  • Irrational decision-making
  • Difficulty problem solving
  • Lack of motivation
  • Suspended emotional development
  • Suppressed emotions
  • Altered perception of reality
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Pushing loved ones away
  • Isolating from friends, family, and responsibilities
  • Stealing from loved ones to pay for drug use
  • Lying
  • Hostile behavior

Heroin Withdrawal

When you use any type of heroin, you risk your body getting used to the drug. When this happens and you suddenly quit using it, your body will go into shock and, as a result, produce withdrawal symptoms.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the most common symptoms of heroin withdrawal include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Muscular pain
  • Bone pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Involuntary leg movements
  • Cold flashes
  • Restlessness

These symptoms typically peak between 24–48 hours after the last time you used heroin. The symptoms will likely subside after one week to 10 days but can continue for several months in long-term heroin users.

Zinnia Health Can Help

If you’re looking for addiction treatment for an addiction to liquid heroin, prescription drugs, or any other substances, Zinnia Health can help. Contact us today to learn more about our specialized treatment plans.

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(855) 430-9439
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