The question asks for how to destroy heroin. It doesn't ask for ways to nullify the effects after consumption, or even mentioned human (or any other) biological behavior in the slightest. I don't see how this question would fit this custom close reason. (What to add to heroin to make it harmless?)

I am not arguing here for it to be reopened, I am simply asking, how this particular close reason makes sense.

For me, it also doesn't make much sense to put this question on hold in the first place. However, I could understand that it lacks prior research and as such may have a difficult standing.

I do think that such safety concerns should be addressed, as I have seen videos of police officers destroying marijuana by burning it, intoxicating all surrounded.

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    $\begingroup$ Agreed, this seemed like a perfectly unproblematic question to me, too. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Mar 23, 2017 at 13:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Melanie Why is the u gone? What is this kind of behaviour? ;) $\endgroup$ Mar 26, 2017 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン Biochemistry has me super busy. :( $\endgroup$ Mar 26, 2017 at 21:33

2 Answers 2


Questions on illicit drugs have been and are always difficult on this site, which is fine.

I do not share Todd's opinion in points (1) and (2) of his answer, but he made his concerns perfectly clear, which I appreciate!

I wasn't involved in closing the question but I'm among those who downvoted it. I do not intend to revoke it, neither do I think that the question is worth to be reopened.

If others would not have been faster, I would have tried to close it for other reasons:

  1. The question is vague. Todd has already pointed this out in (3) of his answer, and I'm totally with him on this! What exactly means harmless here? Safe for consumption, non-addictive?
  2. The question spreads a wrong claim:

    You cannot burn it, obviously, because of the fumes

    This is wrong and only obvious to those who lack knowledge on industrial disposal of hazardous materials. Admittedly, I'm somewhat allergic to questions with such claims, that usually come in the form of "... as we all know..", followed by some nonsense on Chem.SE.

    As a matter of fact, there are guidelines for the Safe handling and disposal of chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which do not explicitly mention heroin, but describe thermal processes (cement furnace, etc.) as a recommended way for the disposal of drugs and their precursors.

To sum it up,

  1. I think that the question was not a good one, but if you disagree please use your right to reopen it
  2. I think that questions on illicit drugs should be decided from case to case, given that

    • it's a moving target with different laws in different countries (or even states)
    • scheduled precursors and known drugs might be part of a legitimate research project
      (On a side note, I would run a search on publications in peer-reviewed journals to find an answer myself, rather than asking some guys in a Q&A forum, but it seems the times have changed)
    • we can talk people out of doing unsafe home experiments or - if we can't keep them from using drugs - convince them to get their pills tested before consumption.

I voted to close that question for several reasons. Unfortunately, the menu of options for reason to close are limited so I went with the medical option. Here are my reasons for doing so.

(1) The question is (broadly speaking) one concerning how to adulterate an illicit and very dangerous drug. There is a finite chance that a person wishing to experiment with heroin could stumble upon the question and whatever answers it garners and decide it's okay to play with fire. I'm not comfortable with that. No answer is better than any at all.

(2) In the strictest sense, it's a question that cannot be answered in any other way than with a two-letter word: "No." It has very little to do with chemistry and very much to do with common sense, and I don't see the value of it being in the corpus of chem.SE. There are plenty of sites on the internet devoted to using, preparing, and processing licit and illicit drugs and I feel it's best not to go down that road here.

(3) As written, the question concerns making heroin harmless, and not destroying it, as mentioned in the post. Those are two different things. When drugs are seized by law enforcement, they are destroyed. That's different than somehow altering them to render them "harmless." And, as in (2), the answer is a common sense one: burn it and don't inhale the fumes, or dump it in acid, or do whatever the authorities do when they destroy illicit drugs (I don't actually know the process, so take my listing of options with a grain of salt).

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    $\begingroup$ The problem with the question is that it's going to stay. At the moment there is an answer that certainly does not address the problems related to this adequately. Either we'll establish a policy that allows us to delete questions about illicit substances, or we treat them with care and follow our educational standards. I'd opt for the latter. As such, I absolutely disagree that no answer is better than any answer. And one final remark: When you think a question is not suitable here, down vote. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2017 at 2:48

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