Figure Clandestine laboratory synthesis of heroin heroin base is complete and settles to the bottom of the reaction vessel. The heroin base is then either filtered and dried, or undergoes further processing to enhance the purity or to convert the base to heroin hydrochloride.

Processing By-Products and Degradation Products in Heroin—Pharmaceutical grade heroin has a purity of greater than 99.5%. Impurities include morphine, the O-3- and O-6-monoacetylmorphines, and other alkaloidal impurities and processing by-products. The impurities found in clandestinely produced heroin include but are certainly not limited to: the monoacetylmorphines, morphine, codeine, acetylcodeine, papaverine, noscapine, thebaine, meconine, thebaol, acetylthebaol, norlaudanosine, reticuline, and codamine. These impurities (from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives) are retained as the result of anomalies in processing methodologies.

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