Saturday, May 3, 2014

Quality Control for Heroin?

There have been some recent comments/questions concerning “bad heroin.” It seems everyone has their opinion. We decided to ask someone who works in the medical field to comment.

I found this question interesting, since I’d never really thought about it before. First, how strong is most heroin? The drug is derived from the poppy plant, but it can be assumed that as with marijuana, some plants are more potent than others. Heroin from China would not have the same strength as heroin from Mexico, etc. There are some relatively inexpensive hand held scanners that can determine molecular content and therefore purity of anything from drugs to gold, but it might be a safe bet that street dealers don’t use them. So I have no firm idea how anyone locally would be able to determine the strength of the product he was selling and/or taking.

From what I’ve read, the drug is usually diluted, or cut, with another substance, and maybe many times before it reaches the end user. I read a lot about fentanyl being used in some areas of the country. I found it hard to believe since the drug is so highly regulated. The end product you would see in the private setting would almost always be in a patch (brand name Duragesic) used for patients with uncontrollable pain.

Researching this, I learned that there are many analogs of this drug (similar but not quite the same). It would still take either a chemist of a super thief to provide the quantity of these drugs that would be able to dilute heroin to the needed extent.

Police have said the product which killed the four locals wasn’t diluted. I don’t know if that’s their opinion or if they have the toxocology reports back. It it wasn’t diluted, this would be unusual. I would hope the gentleman who was arrested for trafficking the heroin informed the police where he obtained the drug.


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