#4 – Heroin
Heroin is a ‘Class A’ drug that was first synthesized in 1874 by C.R. Alder Wright from morphine, which is extracted from the opium poppy. The name ‘heroin’ is actually a brand name created by Bayer, the pharmaceutical company that marketed it.
In the early 1900s, it was marketed in the U.S. as a treatment for coughs and as a kind of old-fashioned methadone program for morphine users. It wasn’t until 1924 that it was outlawed and it became a Schedule I Drug according to the Controlled Substances Act 1970.
The main effects people get from taking heroin are a feeling of warmth and well-being, with larger doses causing deep relaxation and sleepiness. It also slows down the way the body works and is a very strong pain-killer.
Some Quick Facts About Heroin
- Heroin is only used when being discussed in its illegal form. When it is used in a medical environment (for which it is still prescribed in some countries, including the UK) it is referred to as diamorphine
- Although heroin is closely related to morphine, it is far more addictive. This became apparent for the first time when in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of Americans who were taking the drug to treat sore throats became burdened with crippling addictions
- Addiction to heroin can have to nasty side effects, which include respiratory failure, coma and even death. Long-term users can suffer from damage to their veins and arteries and has been known to lead to gangrene (death of body tissue)
- The largest producer of raw opium (from which heroin is made) is Afghanistan, followed by Mexico