Black Tar vs. White Powder: The Final Showdown!

There is a very big misconception among heroin users that white powder heroin is purer that black tar heroin. This false information is so fervently believed that most people, especially on the east coast, take it for granted. But the truth is, the color of the heroin has absolutely nothing to with the quality. Many people say that black tar is dark because of the adulterants added when manufactured. Although the manufacturing process is responsible for the color, it has nothing to do with purity. Even if that was the case, it would make more sense logically that black tar would be more pure, because it’s almost identical to pure opium.


Black Tar Heroin

The truth is, all heroin that is common in The States – white powder, black tar, brown powder, all of it – varies in purity and none is inherently more pure than the others. The color is dependent on the process used to manufacture the heroin. Most white powder comes from Turkey poppy fields and is often manufactured in France. Black Tar is typically from Mexico, although Columbia is quickly becoming a sizable producer. The Golden Triangle, which is an area of Indochina that overlaps three Southeast Asia countries, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, and is known for its heavy heroin production, can produce white powder, black tar, brown powder and even red heroin.

Black tar is typically seen on the West Coast and is sold in balloons or in grams. White powder is predominantly on the east coast and often comes in stamp bags. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Black tar is much more difficult to cut. However, due to the fact that it’s cooked with vinegar and other harsh ingredients, it’s much more damaging to your veins. However, it burns at a much lower temperature, making it easy to smoke. Smoking, when done efficiently, produces a similar rush as IV’ing, that can’t be experienced with any other RoA. White heroin is very inefficient to smoke do to its high burn temperature. When a

White Powder Heroin

White Powder Heroin

white powder user does not wish to IV, insufflation is usually the RoA of choice.  The black tar and white powder heroin available today, and all the variants in-between, are at an all-time high in terms of potency. I have a home testing kit and it’s rare that I buy anything that’s below 70%. Of course, that’s through a dealer and not on the streets. Heroin you buy on the streets is much more likely to be heavily cut. All that being said – black tar heroin is much more consistent in it’s quality. White powder is much more variable. On top of that, is it frequently cut with strychnine, which imitates the bitter taste of heroin. While black tar can be more damaging to your veins, at least it doesn’t pose the same life or death threat as heroin cut with strychnine


But let’s take a step back. An informed drug user is a safe drug user. What is the difference between white powder and black tar? One of the reasons that white powder is rumored to be more potent is because when it is first produced, it is very, very pure. But between Turkey, France, the UK, the US and then every wholesaler and independent dealer down the inventory gets cut every step of the way. As opposed to black tar, which only has to travel from Mexico or South America to California. It’s a much simpler process that help ensure it’s relatively untouched from manufacturer to consumer.


Strictly speaking, black tar is not entirely heroin. It’s a mixture of heroin, morphine, 6-AM, and other lesser ingredients. The

White Powder in Stamp Bags

White Powder in Stamp Bags

proportion of these precursors in any given batch is variable. Thus, the potency and quality can fluctuate by batch. Because of the high Morphine levels in black tar heroin, IV users sometimes experiences a histamine reaction after an injection.

White powder on the other hand is typically manufactured as heroin that is about 90% pure. But it rarely makes it past the first level of distribution before it is drastically cut. As it continues to make its way to the streets, it’s cut at every level. In the 1970’s this was a big problem. In the heroin capital of the world, Harlem, New York, it was only at best 30% pure. In the suburbs, it was only 5-10% pure. Today, we are graced with the highest purity heroin that the United States has ever seen. 60-80% heroin is very common – no matter what the type.

Heroin in Balloons

Heroin in Balloons

I’ve lived on the east coast (born and raised a Jersey Girl) and I’ve spent a significant percentage of my adult life in California. I’ve had plenty of access to both white powder and black tar. Although I’ve had some stellar white powder, I can’t say that I would prefer it over black tar. Again, it’s much more variable in its purity. At least I know I’m getting a fairly steady product with my current black tar connections. As I mentioned, I do have a heroin purity test as well. Although I can typically tell from a single shot whether the heroin has been significantly cut, it’s always nice to test the results with a kit.

Bottom line, just because your heroin is white doesn’t mean it’s pure. I guess this naive thinking has something to do with notion that white equals pure. I’m not sure. But it’s simply not the case. If you want to find out for certain whether your heroin is pure or not, Amazon offers heroin purity kits, as do many other online retailers. Spend $20 and test for yourself. But please, don’t fall for these irrational, baseless wives tales about white heroin being “purer” that black tar. It’s just another junky myth.



3 thoughts on “Black Tar vs. White Powder: The Final Showdown!

  1. i am from Victoria, BC, Canada. We don’t get the best stuff here but there was/is (not sure anymore) this guy who would bring this very dark looking stuff back from South America and it was the best by far. So here we preferred anything dark. I guess that varies by region.


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