The Dangers Of China White Heroin - The Discovery House Los Angeles CA

The Dangers Of China White Heroin

Heroin is a dangerous and addictive substance that is readily available across many US cities. China white represents a particularly deadly version of the drug worth learning more about.    

Originally designed as a painkiller, the heroin lost its appeal for doctors in the 1920s because of its addictiveness. Yet today, it has seen a resurgence in popularity. However, today’s users aren’t prescribed the drug by any doctor but buy it on their own from illicit distributors looking to make a quick profit.

Heroin’s impact on the US is glaringly apparent. The American Medical Association (AMA) notes that the volume of overdose deaths in the country has risen drastically over the last year. Heroin is a significant contributor to these statistics.

What makes heroin dangerous isn’t just its addictiveness. It’s easy enough to manufacture and cheap enough to make a profit from for most street gangs and dealers involved in distributing it. What increases its pull for consumers is the different purities and methods that people can consume the drug, as well as widespread availability. 

Potency, purity, and ease of use are the features that most individuals look for in their heroin. New, designer versions of the drug have entered the market and are getting adopted by regular users.

China White is one of those variants that has proven extremely dangerous and exacerbated heroin overdoses in the US. Deaths due to overdoses have been increasing steadily over the last decade, even during the pandemic and related ‘lock-down’ periods.  

What is Heroin? China White vs Heroin

Heroin is an opioid derived from morphine. It was developed at the turn of the 20th century and was used initially as a painkiller that was more potent than its predecessors. Doctors prescribed the medication because they thought it would be far less addictive than morphine.

Results showed that their optimism was misplaced, and heroin addiction soared. Because of this, doctors stopped prescribing the drug, and it faded from popularity. However, opioid use continued as they were the most valuable painkillers humanity had discovered to date.

In the 80s and 90s, painkiller prescriptions went through the roof and doctors started prescribing new opioids to deal with chronic pain. 

Unfortunately, the fallout of this new wave of prescriptions was more people becoming addicted to opioids. When doctors would no longer supply them, they sought out the next best thing – street drugs.

Heroin was cheap and readily available, but without the safeguards of medical dosage, many people overdosed on the opioid. Today, we find designer versions of heroin on the street like China White and Mexican Black Tar, making it almost impossible for law enforcement to clamp down on the substance’s distribution.

Heroin’s impact on the brain is what leads to people becoming addicted to it. When someone takes heroin, their brain floods with a chemical known as dopamine.

The brain usually reserves this chemical to use when you need a reward for a job well done. Unfortunately, heroin bypasses the typical reward pathway and gives a person this feeling for “free.” 

Crucially, with each dose of heroin someone takes, the more they need to attain the same high the next time. This phenomenon is known as drug tolerance, and it leads to the body needing the drug to function normally – a condition known as dependence.

Dependence and addiction are similar ideas, but the terms are defined separately. Someone can be dependent without being addicted. Addiction is a brain disease and occurs when dependence leads someone to do things that they typically wouldn’t to obtain a substance. Heroin’s availability makes it easy to get dependent or addicted to it.

What Types of Heroin are There

What Types of Heroin are There?

Heroin comes in several forms. Among the most common types of heroin that an individual may encounter on the streets are:

White Powder Heroin

Purported to be the most refined version of the drug, white powder heroin is the easiest to acquire in most cases. White powder’s purity is usually its selling point, but it tends to have many impurities within it.

White powder heroin is typically cut with sugar, quinine, talc, caffeine, and lactose. These impurities don’t make much difference to the feel of the powder but may lead to complications if the drug is taken intravenously.

Despite being the standard for purity, it turns out white powder heroin isn’t all that pure.

Brown Powder Heroin

A less pure but cheaper form of heroin is in brown powder form. Often termed “Mexican brown,” the substance is still early in the refinement process. As a result, it’s not easy to break down, and many users opt to avoid it because it’s difficult to take intravenously.

It takes much longer to dissolve for use in a syringe than in other versions. New users prefer it since it can easily be snorted, and since it looks like sand, it can be carried about discreetly.

This version of the drug also has large amounts of impurities, but they are less problematic since most people don’t inject this type of heroin.

Black Tar Heroin

Another common form of heroin is black tar heroin, which can vary in consistency from gooey, semi-liquid to solid chunks colored black. Black tar heroin is even less refined than powder forms of heroin, containing a large volume of impurities.

The scent of this version of the drug is vinegar-like. Most black tar heroin is diluted and injected, although some users grind it up for snorting. The massive volume of impurities makes it a risky drug to take through a syringe.

These standard forms of the drug aren’t the only way that heroin is distributed. More and more, drug manufacturers are trying to increase the attractiveness of their products, mixing them with other drugs or creating purer versions of heroin that they can then sell.

China White heroin, in its fentanyl-laced current incarnation, is one of the newer products that have increased heroin’s popularity and potency, as well as causing a rise in overdose deaths.  

What is China White Heroin and How is it Made?

China White is a designer drug. Initially produced in Asia (hence the name), China White made it onto American markets in the latter part of the 80s. Drug enforcement officials discovered a new version of fentanyl, another synthetic opioid, at the time called alpha-methylfentanyl.

Dealers started mixing this type of fentanyl with China White heroin before sale to reduce their costs and make the drug more potent. It worked, with many users becoming hooked on the new designer drug.

More and more dealers started to realize how helpful China White could be in sustaining their businesses. The drug’s popularity drove its adoption. Unfortunately, that widespread adoption also fueled massive overdose numbers thanks to the new designer drug.

China White Heroin Prices

There’s no exact ‘recipe’ for what a gram of China White contains, and therefore no specific cost associated with this variety of heroin. Prices could be lower for a ‘China White’ composed largely of fentanyl and filler compounds, but dramatically higher for a more pure, refined white powder form of heroin also known as ‘China White.’

Each selection of the drug would be different since they come from various manufacturers and include different volumes of the active ingredients. It’s because of this lack of quality control that China White has such a deadly reputation.  

With no idea what’s inside the mixture, there’s no idea how intense a dosage would be or what side effects may crop up. The term China White has gone on to mean more than just the heroin-fentanyl mixture. Some users refer to pure fentanyl as China White, increasing the confusion in terms of distribution.

The Synthetic Heroin China White

The Synthetic Heroin: China White

China White is considered a synthetic heroin product. Synthetic drugs are just that – artificial. Heroin is already a synthesized drug derived from morphine, but China White takes this one step further.

Since it contains fentanyl, the mixture is a synthetic drug cocktail. The rise of synthetic drugs has come about with increased police presence and pressure to stop the spread of these drugs on the streets. 

Technically, China White’s combination of substances isn’t either fentanyl, nor is it purely heroin. Drug enforcement knows what it’s dealing with heroin and fentanyl, but new, designer versions of the drugs are a bit harder to pin down and warn people about.

China White Heroin vs. Black Tar

Two of the most common heroin variants that a user will encounter are black tar heroin and China White. Black Tar heroin has many impurities and taking it intravenously could lead to complications in the form of collapsed veins, embolisms, and other issues.

Many Mexican Black Tar heroin users see it as an affordable way to get high, regardless of the potential side effects. Some users think that black tar is safer because they believe the impurities mean there’s less chance of an overdose. Research shows that this isn’t true, as someone could overdose just as easily on one version of heroin as the other.

China White claims to be a purer version of heroin, and initially, that was the case. However, today’s iteration of the drug is a cocktail of both heroin, fentanyl, and some amount of filler substances.

Injecting this intravenously could cause the same issues as taking regular heroin. However, because of the interaction between heroin and fentanyl, the chance of an overdose increases.

China White Heroin in Los Angeles and Opioid Addiction Treatment

When someone is addicted to China White, the best course of action is to seek out treatment. Rehab centers in California can help planning patients’ recovery with the help of support staff.

Most facilities offer several options for paying for treatment, but their focus is on getting the person to break their habit first. Initially, the visitor will go through a screening process where the facility will learn about their addiction.

Medical personnel will create a mental profile to help them see if their addiction may be co-occurring with other disorders. These decisions will help inform their approach. Once the screening is done, the process of detoxification can start.


Addiction is partially due to physical dependence on a drug, and detoxification is the first step in breaking that physical dependence. Detox is a process of controlled withdrawal. The person slowly weans themself off the drug. For China White, several symptoms of withdrawal show up, including:

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Profuse sweating
  • Chills and Muscle Aches
  • Change in appetite
  • Fast breathing
  • Drug cravings

Symptoms of China White withdrawal will differ, depending on the level to which a person was addicted and how long they stopped using the drug. Withdrawal symptoms may last as long as a week, with peak cravings coming at around the third or fourth day of the process.

While people can complete detox independently, a facility is the better option because of their on-call medical staff to deal with emergencies. When a patient completes detox, they can move onto therapy treatment.

Therapeutic Recovery

After detoxification completes, a person will no longer be physically dependent on China White, but the drug will still have a psychological hold on them.

Long-term treatment takes the form of behavioral therapies that can help a person overcome their mental dependence on the substance. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most successful methods of performing therapeutic recovery. This therapy focuses on finding the negative triggers that push a person towards drug use. 

When people can pinpoint these triggers, they can stop them from affecting their mental state and causing them to use the substance again. These therapy sessions may continue in either inpatient or outpatient settings, but they usually wind up after a few months to a year.

Genuine long-term support usually comes from groups that meet regularly. California is a perfect place to seek recovery because of the easy availability of support groups to take up the mantle after structured therapy has concluded.

Therapeutic Recovery

Heroin Rehab in California

China White is just one type of heroin that can lead to a complete collapse of a person’s life. Finding a therapy facility that can develop a personalized plan to help someone recover might be a challenge. 

The Discovery House provides medical support staff, a safe place for detox, and therapy sessions to help a recovering person find their bearings. Our team has dealt with complicated recoveries, so we’ve got the experience to handle any type of heroin addiction.

If you’re interested in finding a dedicated facility that applies holistic care to the goal of recovery, contact us today to set up an appointment. We’ll walk right beside you on your road to recovery.