What Heroin and Other Drugs Look Like

Protecting your loved ones from dangerous substances or spotting a drug problem once it has begun can come down to one’s own ability to spot illegal drugs like heroin, LSD, marijuana and more. Looking over the following drug photos may help you to be prepared for competent action if ever you come into contact with an illicit substance.

If you find and identify illegal drugs or unauthorized prescription pills in your home or elsewhere, do not flush them down the toilet or throw them away. Contact your local law enforcement office for help with responsibly disposing of the substance(s).

What Does Heroin Look Like?

Identifying Heroin

As pictured here, heroin can appear as a brownish powder.



Heroin (smack, H, tar) is arguably one of the more infamous and daunting illicit substances, having earned a reputation for its heavily addictive nature, powerful euphoric nature and the devastating withdrawal symptoms which follow abstinence from the drug.



Identifying Heroin

Heroin in its most typical form may appear as a white or off-white powder.


Identifying heroin isn’t a simple one-step procedure, as the drug itself can appear  as a powdery substance ranging in color from off-white to brown, or as black tar heroin.





Identifying Black Tar Heroin

Depending on the specific composition of black tar heroin, its appearance can vary widely.


Black Tar Heroin generally appears tarry or clay-like and, although more popular in Latin America, the drug is also available in the US as well with its own set of serious health risks.

Identifying Other Illegal Substances 

Hashish Oil

Hash oil is also known as “dabs” and “shatter.”


Hashish Oil (hash oil) is extracted from the cannabis plant and serves as the most THC-potent cannabis product which can be derived.






Identifying Marijuana

Marijuana’s potent smell makes the drug easy to detect.


Marijuana (weed, mary jane, grass) is generally a combination of the dried leaves of the cannabis sativa plant.

Identifying Opium

Highly addictive opium is derived from the opium poppy plant, pictured here.


Opium is the addictive substance derived from the opium poppy plant. Drugs like heroin and morphine are derived from opium, which produces intense euphoric and analgesic (pain killing) effects.







Ecstasy can come in a number of different colors and styles.


Ecstasy (MDMA, molly) is a popular synthetic psychoactive club drug which can distort both one’s personal perception and sense of reality. Ecstasy is also known for producing feelings of warmth and affection towards others, and as such puts users at considerable risk for sexual assault or abuse.






Identifying LSD

Pictured here as drug-soaked paper tabs, LSD can also be found in powder and pill form.


LSD (acid, blotter) is one of the most powerful hallucinogenic drugs, known for producing long-term mental flashbacks and other brain disruptions.






Identifying Amphetamines

Amphetamines ranging from Dexedrine to Adderall each vary in appearance.


Amphetamine drugs (speed, Dex, Adderall) are powerful synthetic stimulant drugs which are generally prescribed for medical conditions ranging from narcolepsy to Attention Deficit Disorder.




Identifying Cocaine

Cocaine can appear as a white, crystalline or powdery substance, as pictured here.


Cocaine (coke, blow) acts both as an appetite suppressant and a central nervous system stimulant which also produces highly addictive, powerful feelings of euphoria and increased alertness over a period of time lasting up to one hour.







Identifying Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine rocks generally appear as whitish or off-white crystal nuggets and can be found commonly in impoverished communities.


Crack Cocaine (crack, rocks) is generally thought to be the more addictive form of cocaine, although this is not true in all cases. Usually smoked or injected, crack cocaine is less expensive to obtain than powdered cocaine and offers a very short but intense high to its users.

Although not recommended, cocaine is also identifiable by the numbness which it produces when placed on the tongue.


Identifying Quaaludes

The brand-name drug for Methaqualone is called Quaalude.


Quaalude (ludes, soapers, disco biscuits) pill abuse popularity peaked in the 1970s, but the central nervous system depressant and sedative-hypnotic drug remains illegal in many parts of the world.






Identifying Painkillers

Prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin each have their own set of identifiable markings.


Prescription Opioid Painkillers (Vicodin, OxyContin, hydrocodone, oxycodone) now account for a sizable portion of the US drug problem. Each painkiller itself may be marked with a different characterizing code number, set of initials (“OC” for example) or color which enable the pills to be identified. A healthcare provider or member of law enforcement can assist as needed.


What do Bath Salts Look Like?

Many packages of Bath Salts and other synthetic drugs are labeled “Not For Human Consumption” to avoid scrutiny.


Bath Salts (Ivory Wave, White Rush, Cloud 9) became increasingly popular and well-known as reports surfaced of disturbing behavior on the part of its users. These synthetic drugs are thought to mimic the effects of both methamphetamine and ecstasy, offering an intense yet highly unstable high.

What Does Synthetic Marijuana Look Like?

Synthetic Marijuana, when smoked, is said to give off an unmistakable foul odor.


Synthetic Marijuana (K2, Spice, Black Mamba) is made from a dried blend of herbs and leaves which are sprayed with synthetic (man-made) cannabinoids – chemicals engineered to supposedly mimic the effects of a marijuana high. User reports indicate synthetic marijuana produces a high completely unlike naturally occurring marijuana.





Methadone Treatment: Helpful or Harmful?

Methadone is a potent opioid drug which has been in use since roughly the 1960s as a treatment option for those addicted to heroin or other natural or synthetic opiate drugs (including morphine or codeine). Methadone itself has its own risks for dependency and addiction, hence why the substitute drug option has received considerable criticism over the years.

Former methadone addict Heather tells her experience of using methadone as a substitute method for her addiction to heroin, and helps us answer important concerns over whether methadone is helpful or harmful.

The Theory of Methadone Treatment

Methadone Treatment

Is heroin treatment using methadone helpful or harmful? Actor Russell Brand recently weighed in on the issue.

Recently, actor and former opiate addict Russell Brand was quoted in an interview, putting methadone treatment under fire and supporting abstinence-based rehab instead, citing his own success with the latter.

Methadone has come to be known as a “substitute drug treatment” option for those struggling with heroin addiction. The methadone treatment theory calls for the use of the powerful opioid medication for relief of withdrawal symptoms and post-detox maintenance.  for heroin addiction, reducing withdrawal symptoms with the eventual objective being that patients are weaned off of the methadone.

While undergoing methadone treatment, patients generally take a dose of the prescribed drug every 24 hours or so. Professionals admit that the sole use of methadone is not recommendable, but rather supplemental rehabilitative counseling is advised.

Heather’s Methadone Treatment Developed an Addiction

Unfortunately, this theory does not always match the outcome. Jill, now clean and sober, reveals her experience of using methadone as a substitute for her opiate addiction.

“I got on methadone to get off heroin and OxyContin, which was a huge mistake,” explains Heather, a former methadone addict and recent graduate of the Narconon program. “I stopped taking heroin but developed a dependency towards the methadone. For me, methadone was even more addictive than the OxyContin or Heroin I was using before.”

For more than 35 years methadone has been used to treat opiate/opioid addictions to drugs like heroin or OxyContin. More recently, concern and debate has been raised that methadone can be just as devastating of an addiction as the drugs it is intended to replace.

“I was on methadone for 9 years and it totally destroyed my body,” says Heather. “As a result of my prolonged use of methadone, I developed an underactive thyroid, requiring me to take medication for the rest of my life. I also developed a severe calcium and magnesium deficiency from the methadone, causing me to have body cramps almost a year and a half later. The withdrawals from methadone are far worse than those I experienced from heroin.”

Today, methadone has become more frequently encountered on the illicit market and has been associated with several overdose deaths. Emergency department and mortality data provided by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) and reporting from law enforcement agencies indicate that methadone abuse is increasing.

“I wish I would have tried Narconon before using methadone for my heroin addiction,” says Heather. “Narconon offered me immediate help and truly cared about my well-being. They handled the full extent of my addiction, the physical and mental issues surrounding my drug problem, and did this with a method that was totally drug free.”

“Thanks to Narconon, I am no longer dependent on drugs or medication. I have found permanent sobriety,” says Heather. “I could not have done this on my own.”

For more information on successful methadone treatment for you or someone you know contact Narconon Arrowhead today by calling 1-800-468-6933.