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Heroin is an addictive drug, and heroin addiction is a serious problem in America. This article contains information on heroin history, founders of heroin, heroin uses, heroin effects, major producers of heroin, street names for heroin, and heroin statistics.
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Recent studies suggest a shift from injecting heroin to snorting or smoking because of increased purity and the misconception that these forms are safer.
Heroin is the most addictive plant-derived drug.
In 1805 a German pharmacist, Frederick W. Serturner isolated morphine from opium, finding that the isolated compound was 10 times as strong as the original drug. Then in 1874, a British chemist C.R. Alder Wright refined heroin from morphine, in an attempt to find an effective painkiller without the addictive properties of morphine. Not much was done with the new drug until 1898 when an employee of Bayer and Company promoted heroin for medical purposes such as:
Unfortunately, heroin crosses the blood-brain barrier in a rapid and dramatic fashion. Therefore, the rush and euphoria from this drug comes on fast and intense. This caused a subculture of compulsive heroin users in the twentieth century. In fact, estimates suggest that around one million people abused opium, morphine and heroin shortly after the turn of the century.
The development of the hypodermic needle in 1853 increased the drugs use. Initially opiate’s were inserted just under the skin by injecting them subcutaneously. However, users found that intravenous use placed high concentrations of the drug directly into the bloodstream through the veins.
The waves of immigrants from Europe introduced the habit of snorting heroin known as “sniffing” also called “insufflation and intranasal use”. This method of use places the drug into the nasal capillaries and then the central nervous system in about 5-8 minutes. Moreover heroin addicts were split evenly between “sniffers and shooters” until around the 1920’s.
Currently there are an estimated 120,000 to 800,000 heroin abusers and approximately 3.1 million Americans have tried heroin. In the United States most heroin comes from Mexico and Colombia. In addition, the U.S. consumes only 3% of the world’s supply.
The major producers of heroin are:
Some street names for Heroin include:
The History of Heroin Sources:
Related Article: Opiates and Their History >>