Heroin

February 6, 2010

 

Heroin is an opiate derived from the poppy plant.  It is a very dangerous and addictive drug, as well as one of the most abused, illicit substances in the United States.  Individuals who abuse heroin are at risk of developing a number of health related issues, for example, collapsed veins, kidney and liver damage and disease as well as pulmonary problems. The transmission of Hepatitis C and HIV is also a risk for those users or addicts that use needles, which they share with others.

 

Heroin was discovered in 1890 by Heinrich Dreser. He worked for the Bayer Company of Germany.  He discovered that when morphine was diluted with acetyls it would produce what is today is known as heroin.  Bayer then begin to market heroin as a morphine substitute and even suggested that it be given to individuals who were addicted to the drug and were attempting to get clean. Free samples were given in masse to the United States aimed again, at morphine addicts. Health professionals and scientists began testing the effectiveness of heroin for the treatment of morphine addiction.

 

There was some concern amongst some, that the withdrawal symptoms users experienced were quite severe. However, there were some health professionals that still felt that the drug should be available to patients.  The data was essentially mixed. Soon after these studies were concluded, heroin was introduced to the United States. This would prove unfortunate because the number of addicts would soon explode. In 1924, the Heroin Act was passed which made manufacturing and possessing heroin illegal in the United States.  However, it was still smuggled into the country in large amounts from China.

 

Since heroin’s introduction into the United States several well-known users have succumbed to lethal overdoses from the drug, among them are John Belushi an actor and musician, Janis Joplin, a famous singer, River Phoenix a young actor and Curt Cobain a rock singer. 

 

Heroin has been classified as a schedule one drug in the United States. These drugs are believed to have no medical uses and have a high potential for abuse and addiction.  Individuals caught with them will face the harshest penalties and may end up facing lots of jail time.

 

 

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