Anyone who’s used heroin knows how dangerous this drug can be. The rush of joy that comes with a heroin “high” comes with a high price. As bad as heroin can be, it pales in comparison to a hot shot of heroin. The scariest part of all is you never know when you’re getting a hot shot until it’s too late. Read on to find out exactly what a hot shot of heroin is and how to avoid falling prey to this lethal concoction.

Heroin – Dangerous All By Itself

Heroin is a powerful, widely abused opioid drug that’s derived from morphine. Opioids act as central nervous system depressants, slowing down the body’s systems. Typically injected into the veins, this way of using heroin produces near-immediate effects and wears off within 30 minutes.

Users experience intense euphoria followed by a comedown or withdrawal that brings uncomfortable side effects, such as fatigue, extreme sadness, and flu-like symptoms. This withdrawal experience drives a person to use again, creating a vicious cycle of highs and lows that cause considerable damage to the body and mind.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, overdose deaths resulting from heroin use increased fivefold between the years 2010 and 2018, from 3,036 in 2010 to 14,996 in 2018. Between 2017 and 2018, heroin-related overdose deaths decreased by more than four percent. One of the reasons for the decrease can be attributed to users switching to fentanyl, a more powerful opioid drug. A hot shot is a mixture of heroin and more powerful opioids, like fentanyl, which makes for a highly dangerous drug cocktail.

The Gray Death

The gray death is the name given to batches of heroin that have been mixed with other, stronger opioids. The concoction gets its name from the grayish, cement-like color of the drug that comes in blocks. The name also derives from how quickly death can occur after taking the drug.

This designer mix has become increasingly popular in Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and along the gulf coast region. Each batch of the gray death can vary from dealer to dealer, including any substance they have on hand in the opiate family. Drugs commonly used to make gray death include:

  • U-47700
  • Fentanyl
  • Carfentanil
  • Other opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone

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The Makings of a Hot Shot of Heroin

While it can be hard to believe, the dealers that distribute heroin hot shots know how lethal the drugs that make up a hot shot can be. Any individual ingredient is capable of causing users to overdose depending on how far along a person is in the drug abuse cycle. As a general rule, the longer a person abuses heroin the greater the risk of overdose.

With heroin being a danger unto itself, people who buy a hot shot of heroin are basically playing Russian Roulette with their lives. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Carfentanil, a drug commonly used as a large animal tranquilizer, is 10 times stronger than fentanyl and 10,000 times stronger than morphine. At this strength, it only takes a dusting of carfentanil on the skin to cause an overdose.

If you happen to buy and use a batch that contains carfentanil, death is all but certain. Unlike heroin and fentanyl, carfentanil is an odorless, clear liquid that easily dissolves in water. In this form, you’d have no way of knowing the batch you bought is a hot shot of heroin. Carfentanil produces the same effects whether you inject, snort or smoke it so there’s no safe way to use this drug.


While the unknown strength of a heroin hot shot poses a considerable danger to unsuspecting users, there’s another factor that can be just as dangerous. Chronic users become easy prey for unscrupulous dealers selling toxic doses of opioids. This has to do with how the body interacts with heroin over time.

Heroin effects force the brain to release large amounts of endorphins throughout the brain and body. As a protective mechanism, the brain’s cells become less and less sensitive to the drug with each use. This means your tolerance for the drug has increased so you’ll have to take a larger dose of heroin to experience the desired “high” effect.

Since heroin slows the body’s processes, the amount needed to produce the desired effect for a chronic user can shut down the body’s respiratory system and potentially lead to death. The body’s increasing need for heroin can drive a person to keep looking for stronger forms of heroin. Under these conditions, the risk of buying a bad batch of heroin increases with each drug purchase.

The Need for Heroin Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know abuses heroin on a frequent basis, your tolerance levels will increase. This cycle of rising tolerance levels and stronger doses will continue until dosage levels become so strong that the body shuts down completely. In the absence of needed treatment help, your search for a stronger batch can lead you right to a hot shot of heroin.

Getting treatment help offers the only way to break the hold of addiction in your life. Heroin rehab centers specialize in providing detox care, medication treatment, and counseling. If you or someone you know struggles with heroin addiction, get help today. The longer you wait the harder it is to make the choice to get help.

Sources –

  • – Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, “Heroin”
  • – CNN, ‘’Grey Death’: The Powerful Street Drug That’s Puzzling Authorities”
  • – Just Think Twice, “Five Quick Facts: Carfentanil”

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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