Heroin was first developed by C. R. Adler in 1874 at St. May’s Hospital Medical School in London. Adler believed that by bonding certain acid concoctions with a morphine base, he could create a more potent and abundant painkiller. The resulting substance, diacetylmorphine, was analyze by his colleague, F. M. Pierce at the Owens College in Manchester. Manchester reported that the substance worked efficiently as a sedative in test animals. While Adler’s hypotheses in analgesic compounds reached their desired results, his experiments in morphine-based substances were abandoned. 23 years later, chemist Felix Hoffman, at what is now known as the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company, reopened the research and development of diamorphine for the purposes of creating codeine, and yielding a more effective and lucrative derivative of the poppy, commonly used for the production of opium. Between 1898 and 1910, the Bayer Company marketed the substance as “Heroin”, derived from the German word for Hero, because of its remarkable painkilling properties.
In 1914, under the Harrison Narcotics Tax act, the prescribed sale of Heroin with permitted with medical prescription. In 1924, Heroin was classified a Schedule 1 narcotic and its use, sale, and distribution were prohibited.
According to recent population addiction studies, Heroin users number more than 15 million worldwide. Heroin is medically facilitated to treat intense pain. It is most commonly prescribed for post-surgical and cancer patients, but also is occasionally used in controlled environments to help addicts detox (though opponents advocate strongly for the use of methadone instead). Heroin is more effective as a painkiller than its cousin morphine because it is extremely soluble, more potent, and requires smaller quantities to reach similar desired effects than morphine.
Heroin, as a recreational drug, is appealing for its euphoric and sedative properties. The metabolized substance breaks down into morphine and 6-MAM in the blood stream, which produces the feeling of intense relaxation and also has the potential for feelings of nervousness, and drowsiness. Heroin is most commonly delivered through injection, but can also be smoked, inhaled, and snorted.
SYMPTOMS AND EFFECTS
Heroin use causes sensations of disorientation, and sleepiness, and feelings of considerable relaxation. It has intense analgesic properties, and after multiple uses, users often build a tolerance to its receptiveness. It is highly addictive, both physiologically and mentally. It has been known to cause many respiratory problems, including hypoventilation and hypotension. It also causes a feeling of sickness, exhibited through constipation and vomiting. Users also exhibit severe rashes and itchiness.