What Is Cheese Heroin?
What Is Cheese Heroin?
Cheese heroin is a highly addictive drug made from black tar heroin and Tylenol PM tablets combined. On its own, black tar heroin is impossible to snort because of its consistency; however, because the pills change the composition, cheese heroin is easiest to snort.
Cheese heroin is cheap and easy to make. The low cost, combined with the fact no injection is required to get high, makes it very popular with young people who mistakenly believe it is safer than other forms of heroin.
The first reports of cheese heroin in the United States came from North Texas, specifically Dallas county. The Dallas Police Department issued a warning statement about the dangers of cheese heroin and estimated it accounts for just under 40% of drug use by students in Dallas ISD high schools.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), there have been cases of cheese heroin in Colorado, Louisiana, and Ohio reported. It is unknown whether people in those states were aware they were using cheese heroin or if they believed it was a different type of heroin when they purchased it. It is also possible that some people created the mixture independently to stretch out their supply.
How Is Cheese Heroin Made?
Creating cheese heroin made up of a small amount of black tar heroin and several crushed-up Tylenol PM tablets. The powder from the crushed tablets somewhat absorbs the moisture from the black tar, and together they become tan or light brown, moist powder. Experts believe the name cheese heroin comes from a similar texture to grated parmesan cheese.
The base of all types of heroin comes from the poppy plant, which is processed to refine the narcotic part, and then cut with other substances to affect the potency and amount of the batch.
Black tar heroin, the opioid aspect of cheese heroin, is less pure than powder heroin but equally potent and addictive. Black tar heroin has an appearance, and consistency like its name implies— dark and sticky.
Diphenhydramine HLC, an antihistamine known for causing sedation and drowsiness, is the main ingredient in Tylenol PM tablets. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that some dealers will substitute similar over-the-counter medications like Benadryl, Advil PM, Unisom, and other sleep aids to avoid places requiring ID to buy specific drugs.
Cheese Heroin Effects
Cheese heroin effects are similar to other forms of heroin, but the addition of diphenhydramine HCL amplifies some of them, particularly the sedative effects.
Common immediate cheese heroin effects include:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Reduced pain
- Reduced inhibitions
- Dry mouth
- Drooping or heavy eyelids
- Delayed response time
- Loss of coordination
- Nodding off repeatedly
- Respiratory depression
- Slow heart rate
- Clammy skin
Dealers heavily cut black tar heroin with other drugs that can interact with Tylenol PM and cause unforeseen side effects and complications on top of the already dangerous effects of heroin, and also make it more addictive.
As previously mentioned, cheese heroin is popular with teenagers and young adults because they erroneously believe it is not as dangerous as other forms of heroin. Realistically, cheese heroin abuse is a gateway to opioid use disorder.
The effects of cheese heroin wear off within a few hours, requiring taking more to maintain the high. Users will develop a tolerance and need more significant amounts and more potent opioids to continue their addiction and avoid heroin withdrawal symptoms.
Long-term cheese heroin effects include:
- Frequent bloody noses
- Nasal damage
- Oral and dental damage
- Muscle, bone, and joint pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- Facial acne and pustules
- Cognitive decline
- Memory loss
- Heart, kidney, liver, and lung damage
The risk of an overdose from cheese heroin is exceptionally high because both main ingredients act as central nervous system depressants that can slow down breathing and heart function to the point of death.
North Texas has reported dozens of overdoses directly related to cheese heroin, all in people under 21 years old. It is suspected more have overdosed or died from cheese heroin, but experts didn’t know what to look for and incorrectly diagnosed it.
It is also worth noting that using Narcan (naloxone) during a cheese heroin overdose can help reverse the effects of the opioid component but will not help the sedative effects of the diphenhydramine HCL.
Finding and completing a heroin addiction treatment program is the only guaranteed way to avoid the potentially lethal consequences of cheese heroin abuse and opioid use disorders.
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