Heroin is made from an opium poppy found at several distinct points around the globe. The brain contains receptors that are affected by opiates such as the ones found in heroin. When under the influence of heroin, these receptors alter the individual’s state of pain, emotions and breathing. It is this altered state that has made heroin one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world.
The Discovery of Heroin
The compound that forms the basis of heroin, Diacetylmorphine, was first synthesized in 1874 by a British chemist named C.R. Alder Wright. Wright was seeking to create a substance more powerful than morphine, but despite his success, nothing was advanced using his new substance until a German chemist, Felix Hoffman, working over 20 years later would rediscover while trying to create codeine. From there, heroin would be used in the years that followed for everything from a cough suppressant to a means of overcoming addiction to morphine!
Heroin Use Throughout the History of the United States
Throughout U.S. history, there have been periods where heroin use has been “in vogue” among certain sectors of society. In fact, our not-too-distant past includes several times when the use of this street drug was actually encouraged by medical professionals.
For example, during the Civil War, opiates (that would today bear a strong resemblance to heroin) would be used to treat injured soldiers in the field. In the years that followed, there were even a number of cough medicines that listed heroin and opium as their active ingredients (and were available for sale over the counter).
In 1906, The Pure Food and Drugs Act put an end to any deception about these dangerous products, as all were now forced to list their ingredients on the package (a practice that thankfully continues on to this day).
The heroin addiction problem in the United States began to reach its apex in the 1970’s and 80’s, when countless men and women where snorting, shooting or sniffing the drug. The rise in heroin abuse occurred as a result of more permissive attitudes towards drug as a whole, as well as the fact that heroin had become cheaper to produce and easier to obtain.
Helping Loved Ones Overcome Addiction to Heroin
When an individual is addicted to heroin, they will quickly see their lives tumble out of control – all the while unable or unwilling to reach out for help. It is imperative that family and friends talk to their loved one about their drug addiction – holding an intervention and then taking all the necessary steps to get them into treatment. A heroin rehab program is the most comprehensive method for helping the individual overcome their dependence on this dangerous drug, which has for so long affected the lives of countless people.