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Sunday, 5 July 2015

Heroin

In 1898 Bayer introduced its new "sedative for coughs," which was given the brand name, Heroin. 24 years earlier a C. R. Wright had derived the crystalline powder from morphine and years later Heinrich Dreser, the head of Bayer's pharmacological laboratory spotted the commercial potential in the drug.

Dreser began testing the narcotic on his laboratory animals and then some of his employees. The drug gained its name after his assistants commented that the drug made them feel "heroic". Marketing it as a cough remedy proved an astute move and it soon became popular in both North America and Europe.

Because of its extreme potency, heroin was soon used to ease severe pain for which it was found to be several times more effective than morphine. By 1902, it accounted for five percent of Bayer's net profits,

Bayer heroin bottle

Although it was launched as a non-addictive narcotic, as a derivative of  morphine heroin was soon found to be extremely addictive. Within a few years of its launch, many Western doctors were reporting cases of heroin addiction. By the end of the 1900s decade recreational users were supporting their habits by selling scrap metal (hence the expression "junkie").

Bayer stopped making heroin in 1913, and the narcotic was banned in the USA the following year.

Heroin deteriorates the white matter of the brain, which harms one's ability to make decisions and regulate behavior.

An unexpected side effect of heroin use is severe itchiness. Heroin and other opiates can make people's skin crawl and itch, and they may want to scratch their skin for relief.

A lot of users think something is wrong with their heroin when their skin gets itchy, but it usually means the drug is strong and not contaminated,

The expression "kicking the habit" is thought to have originated from the kicking movements seen in people going through heroin withdrawal.

Around 23% of people who try heroin become dependent on it.

Pakistan is the most heroin-addicted country, per capita, in the world—drug-related deaths outpace those caused by terrorism. 

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