What Is Heroin?
Heroin, also known as diamorphine is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance is known as black tar heroin.
Heroin is a very addictive drug made from morphine pills, a psychoactive (mind-altering) substance taken from the resin of the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. The color greatly depends on how it is made and what else it may be mixed with.
Heroin is used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. It is used medically in several countries to relieve pain or in opioid replacement therapy. It is typically injected, usually into a vein, but it can also be smoked, snorted, or inhaled. The onset of effects is usually rapid and lasts for a few hours.
The Origin Of Heroin.
Heroin also know as “Dope” was first made by C. R. Alder Wright in 1874 from morphine, a natural product of the opium poppy Internationally, heroin is controlled under Schedules I and IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and it is generally illegal to make, possess, or sell without a license.
The Bayer Company started the production of heroin in 1898 on a commercial scale. The first clinical results were so promising that heroin was considered a wonder drug.
Diamorphine became a narcotic drug and its abuse began to spread very fast. Restrictions on its production, use, and distribution were regulated by international treaties. At the same time, the underworld recognized the shortage of in its supply and started the illicit production and trafficking.
As an indicator of the worldwide “Dope” market, the quantity of confiscated heroin underwent a tenfold increase since 1970. The paper surveys the most important heroin-producing and trafficking countries.
An estimated 17 million people as of 2015 use opiates and this opioid use resulted in 122,000 deaths. The total number of users worldwide as of 2015 is believed to have increased in Africa, the Americas, and Asia since 2000.
In the United States, approximately 1.6 percent of people have used heroin at some point, with 950,000 using it in the last year. When people die from overdosing on a drug, the drug is usually an opioid and often Diamorphine
This Heroin, produced in clandestine kitchen laboratories, is mixed (cut) by every member of the illegal drug distributing chain, i.e. smugglers, traffickers, dealers, and vendors About 448 tons of heroin were made in 2016.
What Are The Street Names for Heroin (Diamorphine)?
Diamorphine is a controlled substance in the United States and many other countries, therefore it is known on the streets by several popular slangs.
The most common street names include; Brown sugar, China White, Dope, H, Horse, Junk, Skag, Skunk, Smack, White Horse, With OTC cold medicine and antihistamine, etc.
How Do People Use This Drug?
Diamorphine users mostly inject, sniff, snort, or smoke heroin. Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine, a practice called speedballing, developed from the street name “speedball”
What Are The Side Effects Of Heroin Use?
Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.
Common side effects include respiratory depression, drowsiness, impaired mental function, constipation, and addiction. Side effects of use by injection can include abscesses, infected heart valves, blood-borne infections, and pneumonia.
Furthermore, Its side effects may be divided into short and long term effects.
Diamorphine users report feeling a “rush” (a surge of pleasure, or euphoria). However, there are other common effects, including:
- dry mouth
- warm flushing of the skin
- heavy feeling in the arms and legs
- nausea and vomiting
- severe itching
- clouded mental functioning
Dope users who use heroin over the long term may develop:
- collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
- damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
- infection of the heart lining and valves
- constipation and stomach cramping
- liver and kidney disease
- lung complications, including pneumonia
- sexual dysfunction for men
- irregular menstrual cycles for women.
NB: Prescription opioid pain medicines such as OxyContin pills and Vicodin have effects similar to Diamorphine.
Data from 2011 showed that an estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids switch to heroin and about 80% of people who used Diamorphine first misused prescription opioids.
In a study of those entering treatment for opioid use disorder, approximately one-third reported Diamorphine as the first opioid they used regularly to get high.