Heroin is a narcotic prepared synthetically from morphine and opium. Morphine belongs to an opioid class of drugs and used to treat moderate to severe pain.
A brief History of Heroin
Derived from the sap of opium poppies, opium was the first ever opioid whose growth and cultivation goes back to the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia around 3400 BC. Opium was used initially by the Egyptians and eventually spread to various regions of Europe and Asia. Opium was used to relieve pain, spasms that resulted from tetanus, and during labor. It was found to be addictive. The primary source of morphine, was first isolated around 1805, is the opium poppy. In 1874, an English chemist synthesized heroin from morphine.
Heroin was produced commercially by Bayer Pharmaceutical Company in 1898 to replace morphine as a painkiller, due to its excess abuse. Heroin turned out to be even more addictive, and was eventually classified as an illegal drug in the United States.
More about Heroin
Around 9.2 million people in the world are heroin addicts. Heroin is a fine white powder in its purest form. However, it may be colored due to the presence of certain additives.
Common names for heroin include:
There are multiple routes of administration for heroin. Most of the people inject, some snort or smoke heroin.
Today, heroin is typically sold in a brownish powder form known as “black tar”. The purity level of heroin varies widely, it is commonly adulterated with starch, powdered milk, talc, and sometimes cocaine.
The purest form of heroin looks like a white powder, that can easily be dissolved an injected. A less pure form, called “brown sugar” is usually smoked.
Harmful Effects of Heroin
Overdose fatalities due to heroin are relatively common. The chance of survival from a heroin overdose depends greatly upon on how fast one receives medical attention. The harmful effects of heroin can be categorized into two short-term and long-term effects.
As soon as heroin is ingested, it starts to the affect brain and body. Many of these effects can be witnessed quite clearly in the user.
- The body temperature increases and skin become flushed
- The mouth becomes severely dry
- Intense itching
- The heartbeat rate becomes low
- Constricted pupils
- Impaired mental functioning
The long-term effects of heroin can include:
- Many heroin users choose veins to administer the drug which causes ulcers, scarring and collapsed veins.
- Severe addiction
- Inability to make decisions due to some deterioration in the parts of brain
- Isolation from society
- Occurrence of chronic diseases
Treatment of Heroin Addiction
Contrary to the other drugs, an addiction may occur after taking heroin just for the first time. For heroin addicts seeking recovery, an inpatient drug rehab program is highly recommended. These programs are well equipped to handle serious addictions. Nevertheless, heroin withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, and in some cases, life threatening.
Heroin Test Kit
The following test kit can detect the presence of opiates like heroin in a sample:
The purity of a heroin sample can be estimated with the following test: