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  • Cheese Heroin | Effects & Dangers Of Mixing Heroin With OTC Medications​

    Cheese Heroin | Effects & Dangers Of Mixing Heroin With OTC Medications​

    Cheese heroin is black tar heroin mixed with over-the-counter medications. It is usually cheap to buy and gets its name from its yellow-orange color.

    Mixing heroin with over-the-counter medications can be extremely dangerous. Taking any form of cheese heroin may result in addiction, overdose, and even death.

    History of Cheese Heroin

    Cheese heroin first came to the United States in the early 2000s. The first reported cases of widespread cheese heroin use were in Dallas, Texas in 2004. These forms of cheese usually combined black tar heroin and Tylenol.

    Cheese heroin is historically popular among young people. Studies showed that many people involved in the “outbreak” from 2004 were under 20. Many were in high school or even middle school. Young Hispanic and Mexican-American populations were at higher risk of cheese heroin abuse.

    Cheese’s strong effects and accessibility for young people make it an appealing target for drug abuse. Drug dealers in the Dallas area would market cheese with its low price and colorful appearance.

    Cheese heroin takes the form of a yellow powder and can be snorted through a straw or ballpoint pen.

    Cheese Heroin Ingredients

    Cheese heroin is made by mixing black tar heroin and over-the-counter medications.

    Black tar heroin is a form of heroin that is dark and sticky. It is mostly produced in Mexico. On its own, black tar heroin is a powerful, highly addictive opiate.

    Common over-the-counter medications mixed with black tar heroin include Tylenol and Tylenol PM. These medications have acetaminophen and diphenhydramine as ingredients, which cause pain relief and drowsiness. 

    Other antihistamines that contain diphenhydramine, such as Benadryl, may also be used.

    Effects Of Cheese Heroin

    The effects of cheese heroin include euphoria, drowsiness, hunger, and disorientation. Cheese heroin is usually stronger than heroin on its own, because heroin and Tylenol both slow activity in the body.

    Cheese heroin can cause short-term and long-term side effects, including:

    • nausea
    • constipation
    • mental health problems.
    • damaged blood vessels and tissue in the nose

    Cheese Heroin Addiction & Withdrawal

    While acetaminophen and diphenhydramine are not addictive, heroin is a very addictive drug. Repeated substance abuse can lead to dependence and addiction, and eventual withdrawal when trying to come off the drug. 

    Cheese heroin withdrawal can start only a few hours after the last dose, and last for several months.

    The first cases of widespread cheese heroin use in the north Texas and Dallas area resulted in many young adults experiencing heroin withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal may include:

    • muscle and bone pain
    • headache
    • chills
    • vomiting
    • agitation
    • dissociation

    Cheese Heroin Overdose

    Cheese heroin is sold on the streets by illicit drug dealers. It can be hard to tell how much heroin is in any given bag or dose. This may increase the chances of overdose.

    Cheese heroin overdose can cause severe respiratory depression. This can include slowed breathing, which can reduce oxygen that goes to the brain. Coma, brain damage, and death can happen after an overdose.

    Cheese heroin can be both addictive and deadly, especially for young people. A 2008 article stated that at least 17 teenagers had died because of cheese heroin in the Dallas county area, and it continues to be an issue.

    Heroin Addiction Treatment

    Cheese heroin is only one form of heroin. Many forms of heroin are cheap and highly addictive. Heroin in all forms is illegal in the United States.

    If you or a loved one struggles with heroin abuse, treatment options are available. To learn about our addiction treatment centers, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    City of Dallas Police Department - Cheese Heroin
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Heroin DrugFacts
    Springer - Cutting the cheese - Christine Haller, M.D. and Leslie Dye, M.D.
    U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration - Drug Fact Sheet: Heroin
    U.S. National Library of Medicine - Cheese: an old drug in a new wrapper - PubMed

    Medically Reviewed by
    Davis Sugar, M.D.
    on July 10, 2022
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