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Patrick K. Kroupa and a Blog

I have set up a temporary email address so that I can get the answers to two questions.

Where is Patrick?
I have lost touch with Patrick K. Kroupa and I need to find him. Specifically, I am hoping that he will be willing to read an advance copy of the second edition of Heroin User's Handbook and write a blurb for the back of the book. But there's more. Right now, Frankly Curious Media is looking to publish books by Jim Hogshire and Th. Metzger (not that Metzger knows yet). I would like to talk to Patrick about doing something for us too.
Should Heroin Helper have a blog?
So much is happening in the world that our readers would be interested in: drugs, the drug war, prison politics, and all that. Currently, about 2000 people visit here every day. It could make for some lively conversations. Let me know what you think.

Send me email. I will do my best to respond, but don't take offense if I don't. I'm really busy. I will not hold on to your email address. I will delete it. You do not need to worry about anyone learning that you wrote to us.


Smoking Heroin

The information contained in this page is culled from my book, Heroin User's Handbook. For more information on smoking heroin, see this book.


Smoking is naturally associated with brown tar heroin in much the same way that snorting is to white powder-probably because of its association with opium. Because of its obvious wasteful nature (the heroin just goes up in smoke), smoking is often derided by other users. Although, this method can be highly wasteful, its wastefulness depends entirely upon technique; the obvious "up in smoke" aspect of waste can be entirely eliminated, as is discussed below.

A little know fact of drug taking is that smoking is the fastest way to administer a drug. This goes against most notions of drug use because it would seem that pumping a drug directly into your vein is the most direct means of administration. But getting the drug into your circulatory system will not get you high-you have to get it to your brain. Drugs taken intravenously take a circuitous path to the brain: through the veins to the liver and heart before delivery to the brain. Smoking causes a drug to be absorbed by the lungs where it is transferred to the arteries and delivered directly to the brain. But don't be misled: mainlining will get you higher than smoking. The fact of the matter is that it takes time to smoke heroin; you can't smoke a gram all at once. Smoking will give you a rush but it is not the same as slamming.

In general, smoking is safe; it will get you higher than any method other than mainlining; it's easy to do and doesn't require any special or illegal equipment. The down-side of smoking is varied. Smoking is the middle-ground procedure for heroin administration. Since it uses a direct pathway to your brain it is inherently less safe than less direct means like snoring. It is somewhat wasteful to very wasteful depending upon your technique. It is fairly difficult to smoke heroin alone, which is both good and bad: it makes smoking a good method for social drug using.

Smoking is my favorite method of ingesting heroin. It is highly ritualistic and has more of a communal feel to it. But this is not always the case.

The Procedure

Smoking heroin can be done efficiently alone but it is much easier as a couple. The basic idea is that heroin is placed on some surface which has a low heat capacity. A flame is applied to the surface from below in order to heat the heroin and start it boiling. This vapor is then inhaled with the help of some kind of tube. I will start by describing the smoking process for couples and then end with a few ideas on smoking alone.


The choice of a smoking surface is the most important one. I have tried any number of surfaces and almost all have failed because they lacked a low heat capacity. What this means is that most surfaces heat up and cool down very slowly. An example of this is asphalt; even long after the sun has gone down, the asphalt which has been heated by the sun all day stays warm. So if you take even a relatively thin piece of glass (one-eighth inch thick) and apply a flame to it, it takes a long time for the glass to get really hot and once it is hot it takes a long time to cool down.

The perfect surface is one that gets hot the instant you apply a flame and cools off the instant you remove the flame. The reason you want this is that it allows you control of when the heroin is vaporized. When you apply the flame you want the smoker to be able to inhale the heroin vapor and when he is finished you want the heroin to quit boiling right away so that none is lost. A nearly perfect surface exists in aluminum foil. It heats up quickly and cool down quickly and is generally a joy to use.


After the smoking surface, the most important decision you will need to make is what to use for a tube. I recommend toilet paper tubes. They are commonly available and they are large enough so that you are likely to loose very little smoke. It is possible, of course, that you will find something better. In fact, I've been looking for a large plastic tube for some time myself. But in all such endeavors you should use the toilet paper tube as the prototype. You do not want the tube to be too long because long tubes cause more smoke to stick to the tube and so this increases loss. I have found that the width of the toilet paper tube is also perfect. Tubes that are too big or too small will result in loss. If the tube is too small, smoke will escape around the edges. A tube which is too large does not allow you to get good suction.

Couple's Procedure

Proper smoking procedure. There are several variations to smoking. In each, one person acts as the smoker and the other the helper. The main procedure is given below. The helper holds the foil flat and level. The foil should be about five inches (13 cm) by five inches so that it stays rigid when held from one side. The smoker places a small amount of heroin onto the center of the foil. The helper then lets go of one end of the foil. With his free hand, he lights the lighter. The smoker puts the tube up to his mouth in a comfortable position and bends to a point where the end of the tube is roughly an inch directly over the heroin. The lighter is positioned directly below the heroin underneath the foil.

When the smoker is nearly finished, he signals the helper which tells him to remove the flame. The heroin will continue to smoke for as long as 2 seconds after the flame is removed. It takes a little while to get used to the exact timing but before long you will be able to smoke using this procedure with almost no direct loss.

There are a few variations to this method of ingestion. The smoker can hold the foil. This has the advantage that it allows him immediate control of the flame; when he is finished he can simply pull away. The disadvantage is that it gives the smoker one more task. Another variation is to let the helper hold only the foil, letting the smoker hold the tube and the flame. If you have problems with foil folding on you, then you might try this. In my experience it is very hard for the smoker to gauge where the flame is relative to the heroin. But some will no doubt be able to make this work.

Solo Procedure

Most people who smoke heroin alone use a very small tube so that they can hold it in their mouths (generally a plastic straw), freeing their hands for holding the foil and the lighter. But due to the smallness of the tube, it is easy to lose much or even most of the heroin smoked. You may now be imagining holding a toilet paper roll in your mouth, but this is not how it's done; when your mouth is so contorted it is hard to inhale properly.

In order to smoke alone, you have to remove the hand's control of either the flame, the foil, or the tube. As pointed out above, the tube is out. Luckily, there are reasonable methods using the other two. It is possible to use a couple of blocks spaced by about five inches apart, to hold the foil (some creative wire sculpting is also possible). Then you can use a lighter with one hand for the flame and hold the tube in the other.

I find the other method better. It involves the use a stationary flame. The easiest example of this is a candle although a Zippo lighter will also work. In this case you can hold the foil with one hand, the tube with the other and lower the foil toward the flame as you inhale. The down side of this method is that candle flames are very dirty and if you use one you will end up with a lot of soot. If you use a Zippo, you don't have to worry so much about soot but you have to be very careful that the lighter does not fall over and that if it does it does not start a bigger fire.

[Editor's Note: There is a potentially fatal disease that is specific to smoking heroin; read all about it in our leukoencephalopathy article in the user health section of Heroin Helper.]

by Dr. H © 2000-2002
Last Modified: 9 January 2004