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What is it?

An opiate (narcotic) drug processed from morphine and extracted from certain poppy plants. Heroin comes in a white or brownish powder, or a black sticky substance known as “black tar heroin.” Often “cut” with other drugs or substances such as sugar or powdered milk. User is unaware how much actual heroin is being used, creating likelihood of overdose.



December 30, 2020

Illicit Opioid Availability in Pennsylvania 2020

The increasing availability of illicit opioids is the most significant drug threat in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Field Division (PFD) monitors this threat closely, periodically reviewing multiple data indicators, in conjunction with investigative information, to continually assess the threat, then share analytical findings with stakeholders in federal, state, and municipal governments.

September 3, 2020

The 2018 Heroin Signature Program

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Heroin Signature Program (HSP) analyzes hundreds of wholesale-level heroin samples each year to identify the geographic area—Mexico, South America (SA), Southwest Asia (SWA), or Southeast Asia (SEA)—where the samples were manufactured.

August 11, 2020

The 2017 Heroin Signature Program Publication

The HSP (Heroin Signature Program) is one essential component of the DEA’s Intelligence Program to identify trends in heroin trafficking and distribution in the United States. The objective of the program is to identify and quantify the chemical components of heroin seized at U.S. ports of entry (POE), all non-POE heroin seizures weighing more than one kilogram, randomly chosen samples, and special requests for analysis. Samples submitted to the HSP undergo in-depth chemical analysis at the DEA Special Testing and Research Laboratory (SFL1). This chemical analysis allows SFL1 to associate the heroin samples with a production process, or “signature,” which is indicative of a particular geographic source area and processing method.

June 5, 2020

Heroin - Drug Fact Sheet

DEA's revised and updated drug fact sheet about heroin - what it is, what is its history, what are its common street names, what it looks like, how it is abused, what its effect is on the mind and bodies of users including signs of overdose, and its legal status. 

October 2, 2018

2018 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA)

The 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) is a comprehensive strategic assessment of the threat posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of illicit drugs. The report combines federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement reporting; public health data; open source reporting; and intelligence from other government agencies to determine which substances and criminal organizations represent the greatest threat to the United States.

October 29, 2018

Heroin Domestic Monitor Report

The DEA Heroin Domestic Monitor Program (HDMP) is a retail-level heroin purchase program that provides data analysis about the geographic source of heroin along with price, purity, adulterants, and diluents sold at the street-level in 27 U.S. cities. The data in this report is from 2016.

February 1, 2018

Heroin Cocktail: An Analysis of Pennsylvania Laboratory Drug Seizure Data

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division (PFD) Intelligence Program maintains situational awareness of drug availability, abuse, trafficking patterns, adulterants, concealment methods, etc., through analysis of law enforcement and public health information and data, as well as law enforcement source information. 

June 15, 2017

Drugs of Abuse

Drugs of Abuse delivers clear, scientific information about drugs in a factual, straightforward way. With the information in this guide, parents and caregivers can help their children make smart choices and avoid the consequences of drug abuse. This publication covers topics including the Controlled Substances Act and introduces drug classes including narcotics, stimulants, marijuana/cannabis, inhalants, steroids, and more.  Drugs of Abuse also provides information about drugs of concern and designer drugs, including synthetic opioids and  “bath salts.”

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