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Harm Reduction Why don't I apply heat to my pharmaceutical opioids or North American heroin?

tricomb

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This has been an issue for a long time now and it's about time we consolidated all of our information into one thread. As I find them (there are many), I'll add links to other relevant threads on this topic, and if you feel you have something to add, please do so we can put something together and save some people from themselves! =D

I'm copying and pasting what I wrote in the beginners guide to heroin. This is written for BTH but applies to all pharmaceutical opiates, however the "cut" is referring to the inactive ingredients added to commonly abused prescription opioids such as oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone, OxyNorm, Oxy IR, etc), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo, HydromorphContin), oxymorphone (Opana, Numorphan, Numorphone), Methadone (Methadose), Morphine (Morphine, MSContin, Roxanol, MS IR, Kadian, Avinza) and various others.

NONE OF THESE SHOULD BE HEATED WHEN PREPARING FOR PARENTERAL INJECTION.

Black Tar Heroin:

  • Black Tar Heroin is prevalent on the West Coast of the United States
HR note to all as the issue of applying heat to opiates has been a very hot topic (no pun intended) as of late.

According to the experience of many, and the science that back's it up, under most circumstances in the USA you do not heat heroin. Especially not powder heroin, but not tar either.

The reason you don't ever apply heat is, when you do apply heat tar, you introduce all the contaminates, cuts, and probably degrade the active ingredient a little bit while allowing all the precipitate matter to join the solution. YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE LEFT WITH VISIBLE "TAR" IN YOUR SPOON, ALL THE HEROIN HAS GONE INTO THE WATER. THE VISIBLE "TAR" IS INACTIVE INGREDIENT, LIKELY THE SUBSTANCE THAT YOUR HEROIN HAS BEEN CUT WITH. This is only difference between a hot shot and cold shot of heroin, hot shots DO NOT get you higher.

Don't be fooled by what you see, your eyes cannot see milligrams, but all the heroin has all gone into the cold water. Many people's eyes play tricks on them when they heat the solution and no longer cannot see the particulate matter, but it's is still there, but melted in with solution.

When you run a solution that was heated/cooked and not allowed to completely cool down in time, when you run it through the filter, the adulterants/contaminates/inactive ingredients slip right through the filter and into your syringe. Even though it may look clear to you, it is almost as dangerous as IVing without a filter, since the filter couldn't effectively filter out the particulate matter from the cooked/hot solution of heroin/water/melted cut.


Another common myth is that cooking your shots kills all bacteria eliminating risk of bacterial infection. This is false because bacteria thrive in wet, warm/hot environments, and if you actually applied enough heat to kill all bacteria, you would have degraded the active ingredient, heroin, significantly. So another reason to do cold shots: No added degradation of heroin. To minimize risk of bacterial infection, practice proper injection technique, absolutely EVERYTHING that comes in contact with the drug, your solution, your rigs, etc, must be sterile. When mashing the heroin with a plunger in cold water in your cooker or spoon, be EXTRA sure that you've sterilized the plunger, and have washed your hands with isopropyl alcohol, or even better use non-latex gloves. There are more germs on your fingers than most other parts of your body so it is VITAL that you maintain a sterile environment every step of the preparation and injection procedure.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With pharmaceuticals it's important to remember that when you're prepping a shot of, for example, oxymorphone IR, there is up to 10mg of active ingredient hidden amongst hundreds to thousands of milligrams of inactive ingredients, and it's important to filter out as much of this as you can, using clean water.

See the inactive ingredients in medications and Pill-Mass Ratios (take note that it's from 2010 and new formulation pills may not be accurate, so if you have the means to contribute to this thread please do)

Why?? Read the Case Studies

Tommyboy brought this to my attention and since it's highly relevant I'm just going to copy and paste it here with a link to the original thread:

Written for opiophile, but decided I'd post it here as well :)
Introduction & Context
I recently attended a pill injection workshop in Australia, among the people at this workshop, there was a man called Dr. Bruno Raimondo, him and his team are running research into opioid pills such as OxyContin, MSContin and Subutex and the effectiveness of filtering. In the morphine forum I already summarized a document he did, I managed to obtain a copy of the slides he used at the presentation, although he has not released the formal version (which I will link to when he has) of the research, the slides he has emailed me are sufficient for the information people need to know.
Too long didn't read:
Don't heat pills, 2-3ml of water soaking your finely powdered pill, with a 1ml rinse through your filter (SHOULD be using a wheel filter) will give you the best results. Wheel filters are necessity they don't retain any drug (95-99% is let through, cotton filters let through less). Expect health problems down the road if you shoot cotton filtered pills.
Harms of pill injection
Injecting pills (or anything) can result in contaminants entering your body such as insoluble particles or bacteria and fungi. These things can irritate and inflame tissue and veins, cause infections in skin/muscle (granuloma, abscess). They can also result in local and systemic infection from the bacteria/fungi.

Insoluble and undissolved particles can cause microcirculation capillaries (5-10um) to become blocked, they clog up in the heart and lungs. Granulomas in the lungs are caused by inflammation which leads to scar tissue (fibrosis). Congmomerate masses lead to restrictive lung disease and pulmonary hypertension. The particles also reach other organs (liver, kidney etc).

Key particles in pills (OxyContin, MSContin, Subutex)

Other insoluble particles included are:
Magnesium stearate (5-30um)
Titanium dioxide (100um clumps) (ms, oxy)
Other particles that change form in heat are:
Stearyl alcohol MP is 59*C (ms, oxy)
Eudragit RS 30D clumps at >30*C (oxy)

All these particles cause problems in your heart, lungs and other organs, the chemicals that change form in heart are the reasons why pills should NOT be heated, and you will soon find out there is no advantage to heating.

Why pills shouldn't be heated

As you can see, of these images under a microscope, heating pill solutions cause enourmous particles to dissolve in the mix. These particles will pass through the filter (wheel or cotton) and recongeal, precipitating out in your filtered mix or veins.

Ok so I shouldn't heat, what about Rollie cigarette filter filtering (or cotton).

For comparison: MSContin rollies reduce particles >5um by 60%.

What about the drug retained?

For subutex 97% of the drug is returned in this process.
Drug is not retained in the filter after this, even if the filter is wet.
.
Wheel filters (and why they rock!)
Here is the solution of two pills under a microscope before and after wheel filtering

But how many particles are removed by the wheel filters?

But what about drug recovery

For subutex drug recovery is 99%
*Note: One of the researches reminded me to say that when they first did these tests, their technique with wheel filters was poor, and that morphine recovery is more like 95-99%

So as you can see, using wheel filters removes all the particles that cause harm (basically), with a rinse of water after first filter, you can retain 95-99% of the drug (better then a cotton/rollie filter) while removing 99% of the particles that cause harm, and heating is generally a bad idea that does NOT help at all, and does more harm then good.
Note: Hand rolled cigarette filters filter to about 50um.

Another document for the national drug safety council, which focused mainly on morphine and wheel filters, also contains a lot of information. It is located here.

I also posted this in Australian drug discussion but was told to also post it here.

(source)

STAY SAFE!
 
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snazzy_sn

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dude, great post.
this has needed to be put to rest for a long time.

yay! go tricomb!
 

tokenname

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I think it's super important this this is readily available and
that it's easy to find.
it's that important, i believe.
great job TC. :)


~token

Edit: Yay! so happy you added that last bit in...ppl don't understand how completely important this is...think about how and what your ROA is, then think about what you're putting in your body and how it will be filtered out...
inactive materials are inactive when used the intended way.
when your ROA changes...these materials are no longer inactive.
ok...deep breath..sorry tc...even better job! thx.
 
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BobJillespie

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Where did this misconception come from? I never did heroin (in Australia) so I've never looked into it. All I know is they cook it in the movies.
 

tricomb

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^Exactly, they cook it in movies because that's Hollywood, Hollywood is not a reliable source of information and just further propagates the misconception that you should add heat when doing IV drugs.

If you can't get your opioids to dissolve in cool water, as they do freely at room temperature, then you can blame the inactive ingredients, as the active ingredient has all gone into the water. Filter it cold and you'll see upon administration that you weren't getting any more out of your drugs than you were by melting the cuts in.

It's a popular misconception that is continuously spread usually when a new, naive IV user asks an older "veteran" how to inject, and if this veteran teaches to apply heat, then the vicious cycle is doomed to repeat once again.

Bluelight is here to shine some light on this dark subject.
 

THC2LSD

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Now I've only slammed H a couple times, but a lot of imaginary friends do. I'd agree that a lot of tar doesn't need cooking, it pretty much dissolves with string. And heating for too long destroys dope. However, some tar has a lot of unreacted morphine/monoacetylmorphine, sometimes the majority of the content. They're only soluble up to 60mg/ml . And there seems to be a type of cut that makes it difficult to dissolve tar.

I think heating up the dope goes back to when it was only 3% pure. You'd pretty much had to heat it However I'm not sure that heating is useless. It might not sterilize it, but it will kill a lot of the germs. Not unlike pasteurizing. And most of the soluble cuts are sugars that aren't dangerous. A lot of the worst insoluble cut/pill binders are already insoluble even at water's boiling point. And I doubt that a lot of the solubles precipitate in the blood, considering that it's diluted into 6 quarts.I can't think of a study that says street drugs are dangerous to heat, only one I could think of is the one using ER morphine pill. And I can't think of one that studies the effects of cooking street drugs on germs except for HIV.

Ideally it'd be best to cold filter with a fresh micron filter and use a 3ml/5ml syringe if necessary. But most junkies don't even know about micron filters, and even if they did cold filter it's common to leave the insoluble shit in the spoon and let it build up. Then when they run out of shit they heat it up to get the few milligrams trapped inside. And it seems most pharmacies don't carry anything bigger than 1ml, sometimes only .5ml. I wonder if with a lot of street drugs and some pill if heating to kill some germs might outweigh the danger of insolubles getting through, considering the biggest risk to slammers is infection.
 

tricomb

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If they can't/won't get microns, then they at the very least:


1) better be using a new compacted cotton for each filtration, if this is not available then use a roll-your-own, Rizla (not a cigarette) filter as they filter out a large amount of particulate matter.

2) Never run a solution through a filter hot.
 
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tokenname

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I've talked to a professor of mine..who's also
the director of a local methadone clinic..
about why they're aren't mobile needle exchange/outreach units here..
like they do have in other cities..money, of course, is the answer.
I think this is something I would like do in the future..
it goes along with what my major is anyway..
and given all the misinformation out there..
and how difficult if can be to get outreach...
imagine how many people could be saved...
hep/aids testing..and educated on safety including micron filters
just another kind of HR.
W/e...also, just another off topic.

~token
 

Swimmingdancer

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Another common myth is that cooking your shots kill bacteria. This is false because bacteria thrive in wet, warm/hot environments, and if you actually applied enough heat to kill bacteria, you would have degraded the active ingredient, heroin, significantly.
It's not a myth that it kills bacteria/viruses, it just can't kill all of them. Some needle exchanges actually advise people to cook their street drugs (not pills) for this reason - they feel the benefit of potentially killing some bacteria/viruses is worth it because with, say, heroin, the most common cuts are usually relatively harmless (and are often pretty soluble at room temp anyway). But the most important thing a person can do to avoid infections/viruses is use sterile equipment and never share or re-use paraphernalia.

It is my view that the best compromise would be to heat the solution after filtering it, or heat it then let it cool completely before filtering. The problem is that it's harder to explain that and get people to do it properly, so it's easier to just say don't heat it at all. Studies have shown that users who cook their heroin have lower incidence of HIV and other diseases and that heating it for 15 seconds is enough to destroy HIV. But if people are not sharing equipment the risk of HIV is extremely low anyway. It would be interesting to find some facts about the exact amounts and types of bacteria destroyed by the average user's cooking procedure, or the times and temperatures required to destroy the most common bacteria/viruses.

The word I have heard is unless you bring liquid to a rolling full boil for 15 seconds, it's unlikely to be anywhere near sterile. And boiling tar heroin is not wise...
Even boiling for 15 seconds would not guarantee sterilization. But heating at a lower temperature or for a shorter amount of time can still kill some things. For example a study on HIV cooked the dope at 65 C (boiling point is 100 C) for 15 seconds. Some bacteria can be destroyed by lower temps than boiling or a short boil too. But not all. Micron filters are effective at removing larger bacteria (although again, not 100% of bacteria/viruses).

I think heating up the dope goes back to when it was only 3% pure. You'd pretty much had to heat it However I'm not sure that heating is useless. It might not sterilize it, but it will kill a lot of the germs. Not unlike pasteurizing. And most of the soluble cuts are sugars that aren't dangerous. A lot of the worst insoluble cut/pill binders are already insoluble even at water's boiling point. And I doubt that a lot of the solubles precipitate in the blood, considering that it's diluted into 6 quarts.I can't think of a study that says street drugs are dangerous to heat, only one I could think of is the one using ER morphine pill. And I can't think of one that studies the effects of cooking street drugs on germs except for HIV.
I too think that's part of where the idea of heating dope came from, but also from the perception that it's not dissolving properly unless heated (when in reality that's the cuts, or the person just hasn't even stirred it) and, like tricomb said, people passing the idea of cooking onto others. Although I'm not sure about the first part you mentioned, the theory that it also had to do with heroin that was of a low potency. Why do think heroin that was 3% would require more heating than heroin that was, say, 15%? The actual heroin is still soluble in cold water. Do you think more of it would stay trapped in the cuts or something?
 

LSDMDMA&AMP

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I never cooked dope when i've shot it, what doesn't dissolve is cut.
only ever shot meth and dope, and meth you obv. dont heat, that shti is mad soluble, way moreso than dope is IME.
 

xxxyyy

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the heroin around these parts is brown powder base and requires ascorbic acid to be water soluble. does the not heating thing also apply in that case?
good thread TC, i've never met an IV user who didn't heat their dope prior to filtration, and this was passed down to me when i learned to shoot up. in fact, on the rare occasions i mainlined H i always cooked it.
 

Jktm

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good thread...I've been contemplating trying H, and if I do I probably would end up IV'ing it (fuck, I'm already opioid-dependent...what's the difference if you practice safe IV methods...ya, there's still the possibility of fucking up, but w/e; hell, the only reason I don't bang morphine is that I can't get ahold of IRs and refuse to do so with Contins...) so I'm glad you made this lol...I had heard about not cooking pills, but wasn't sure about H...
 

burn out

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ive been heating my dope for so long it almost seems pointless to change now especially since i plan to go on suboxone this weekend.
 

tricomb

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ive been heating my dope for so long it almost seems pointless to change now especially since i plan to go on suboxone this weekend.
If you don't try it cold you'll never know.

If you heat it, then allow it to cool properly prior to filtration.

@SD I didn't see your post earlier, re: bacteria, I meant it doesn't kill all of the bacteria or eliminate the risks of IV complications by applying heat, and IMO 15 seconds at a rolling boil would significantly degrade the active ingredient.

EDIT: updated the guide, read em n weep ;)
 
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ohsee80

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The Heat on Black Tar Debacle ... hear me out..

OK - so there is the thread that goes into depth about how heating your shit will make the adulterants dissolve in the dope and your actually not supposed to heat your dope, just filter it, etc etc..

I realize that there was response briefly to a previous thread in the effect that I shouldnt heat my dope and then a link to the original thread about why it was bad to heat your dope.


My question is... was that thread meant for ALL types of heroin or just the powdered kind. Because I have noticed this. When I Do NOT heat my dope (Black Tar Heroin) up and draw it through a cotton which is all I have at the moment (If anyone knows where I can locally buy a micron filter, please DO tell)... the dope looks really cloudy and opaque, and I try and filter it as best I can.

When I DO heat my dope up, I see the black gunk stuff seperate from the brown liquid and when I draw it up, it leaves the black gunk behind and the brown liquid is a CLEAR solution...

So how is not heating it up better for you? That black shit in there looks like it would be better if it was removed. I can send a picture if people need to see what I'm talking about, but if you've heated BTH up you should know what I'm talking about.


Thoughts?:?
 

tricomb

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It was in regards to black tar heroin as well as powder, it's written in bold red letters at the top.

You shouldn't be applying heat.

edit: For Micron filters, all you have to do is a google search. "0.2 Micron Filter" will be fine.

double edit: It's that "clear" brown liquid that's misleading you, your eyes aren't good tools with which to measure contamination of your shot, point being, the stuff that's problematic is too small for your eyes to quantify.
 
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