HEROINE – History & Hope for Solutions

Heroin was first synthesized in 1874 by C. R. Alder Wright, an English chemist working at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, England. He had been experimenting with combining morphine with various acids. He boiled anhydrous morphine alkaloid with acetic anhydride over a stove for several hours and produced a more potent, acetylated form of morphine, now called diacetylmorphine.

The compound was sent to F. M. Pierce of Owens College in Manchester for analysis, who reported the following to Wright: Doses … were subcutaneously injected into young dogs and rabbits … with the following general results … great prostration, fear, and sleepiness speedily following the administration, the eyes being sensitive, and pupils constrict, considerable salivation being produced in dogs, and slight tendency to vomiting in some cases, but no actual emesis. Respiration was at first quickened, but subsequently reduced, and the heart’s action was diminished, and rendered irregular. Marked want of coordinating power over the muscular movements, and loss of power in the pelvis and hind limbs, together with a diminution of temperature in the rectum of about 4° (rectal failure).

Wright’s invention, however, did not lead to any further developments, and heroin only became popular after it was independently re-synthesized 23 years later by another chemist, Felix Hoffmann. Hoffmann, working at the Bayer pharmaceutical company in Elberfeld, Germany, was instructed by his supervisor Heinrich Dreser to acetylate morphine with the objective of producing codeine, a constituent of the opium poppy, similar to morphine pharmacologically but less potent and less addictive. But instead of producing codeine, the experiment produced an acetylated form of morphine that was actually 1.5-2 times more potent than morphine itself. Bayer would name the substance “heroin”, probably from the word heroisch, German for heroic, because in field studies people using the medicine felt “heroic”.

From 1898 through to 1910 heroin was marketed as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough suppressant. Bayer gave out free samples of Heroin to doctors. The doctors prescribed it to their patients. Heroin quickly gained widespread acceptance in the medical community unaware of its addictive qualities. Bayer was soon enthusiastically selling it in dozens of countries.

Something odd happened. The doctors began noticing an inordinate demand by their patients, who did not really seem to be in respiratory distress, for Heroin cough syrup. Bayer stopped producing and selling Heroin in 1913 and deleted mention of it in their official company history. Heroin was outlawed in 1924.

*Inadvertently, Bayer may have caused more headaches than they have cured 🙁 .

In 1898, the typical morphine addict in Britain or the US was a middle-class woman in her forties, whereas today’s typical addict is an 18-year-old male.

In 1900 BAYER had started an unprecedented advertising campaign. Around the world adverts praised the remedy to the skies. There was hardly a disease where the new “magic bullet” was not recommended: multiple sclerosis, asthma, stomach cancer, epilepsy, schizophrenia and many others. Heroin was claimed to be effective even with intestinal colic in babies. Also, for the first time thousands of free samples were sent to doctors.

When critics questioned the safety of the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ the then BAYER executive director Carl Duisberg adamantly ordered that his subordinates should “silence the troublemakers”. “We cannot tolerate claims around the world that we were carelessly pushing medicines that were not carefully tested,” said the later chief executive of BAYER. The commercial success of Heroin and Aspirin laid the foundation for the rise of the former paint factory BAYER to a global corporation.

Jan Pehrke, board member of Coalition Against Bayer Dangers (CBG), said: “The heroin campaign shows how far back the tradition goes of multinational drug corporations selling dangerous remedies against better judgement and despite urgent warnings only to make a profit.”





DO WE NOW HAVE A SOCIETY THAT IS GENETICALLY/CHEMICALLY PREDISPOSED TO HEROINE ADDICTION THROUGH BIRTH, ANY THOUGHTS?

A genetic predisposition is a genetic affectation which influences the phenotype of an individual organism within a species or population but by definition that phenotype can also be modified by the environmental conditions. In the rest of the population, conditions cannot have that effect. Genetic testing is able to identify individuals who are genetically predisposed to certain health problems.


Predisposition is the capacity we are born with to learn things such as language and concept of self. Negative environmental influences may block the predisposition (ability) we have to do some things. Behaviors displayed by animals can be influenced by genetic predispositions. Genetic predisposition towards certain human behaviors is scientifically investigated by attempts to identify patterns of human behavior that seem to be invariant over long periods of time and in very different cultures.

If human behaviors can be, then how would it not be possible for chemical predisposition?

SOME EXPERTS AGREE!

Genetic susceptibility to heroin addiction: a candidate gene association study.

Heroin addiction is a chronic complex disease with a substantial genetic contribution. This study was designed to identify genetic variants that are associated with susceptibility to develop heroin addiction by analyzing 1350 variants in 130 candidate genes. All subjects had Caucasian ancestry. …. This study suggests the involvement of several genes and variants in heroin addiction, which is worthy of future study.”

Levran O, Londono D, O’Hara K, Nielsen DA, Peles E, Rotrosen J, Casadonte P, Linzy S, Randesi M, Ott J, Adelson M, Kreek MJ.
Source – The Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA. levrano@rockefeller.edu


Heroin (diacetylmorphine or morphine diacetate (INN)), also known as diamorphine (BAN), is an opiate analgesic synthesized by C.R Alder Wright in 1874 by adding two acetyl groups to the molecule morphine, a derivative of the opium poppy. When used in medicine it is typically used to treat severe pain, such as that resulting from a heart attack. It is the 3,6-diacetyl ester of morphine, and functions as a morphine prodrug (meaning that it is metabolically converted to morphine inside the body in order for it to work).



The white crystalline form considered “pure heroin” is usually the hydrochloride salt, diacetylmorphine hydrochloride. When heroin is supplied illegally, though, it is often adulterated to a freebase form, dulling the sheen and consistency to a matte-white powder.



As of 2004, roughly 87% of the world supply of opium and its derivatives, including heroin, was thought to be produced in Afghanistan. However, production in Mexico has risen six-fold from 2007 to 2011, changing that percentage and placing Mexico as the second largest opium producer in the world.

As with other opioids, diacetylmorphine is used as both an analgesic and a recreational drug. Frequent and regular administration is associated with tolerance and physical dependence, which may develop into addiction. Internationally, diacetylmorphine is controlled under Schedules I and IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It is illegal to manufacture, possess, or sell diacetylmorphine without a license in almost every country.

Under the chemical names diamorphine and diacetylmorphine, heroin is a legally prescribed controlled drug in the United Kingdom, and is supplied in tablet or injectable form for the same indications as morphine is, often being preferred over morphine due to its lower side-effect profile. It is also available for prescription to long-term users as a form of opioid replacement therapy in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, and Denmark, alongside psycho-social care—in the same manner that methadone or buprenorphine are used in the United States or Canada — and a similar programme is being campaigned for by liberal political parties in Norway.


HEROINE TRAFFICKING

The origins of the present international illegal heroin trade can be traced back to laws passed in many countries in the early 1900s that closely regulated the production and sale of opium and its derivatives including heroin. At first, heroin flowed from countries where it was still legal into countries where it was no longer legal. By the mid-1920s, heroin production had been made illegal in many parts of the world. An illegal trade developed at that time between heroin labs in China (mostly in Shanghai and Tianjin) and other nations. The weakness of government in China and conditions of civil war enabled heroin production to take root there. Chinese triad gangs eventually came to play a major role in the illicit heroin trade. The French Connection route started in the 1930s.




Heroin trafficking was virtually eliminated in the U.S. during World War II because of temporary trade disruptions caused by the war. Japan’s war with China had cut the normal distribution routes for heroin and the war had generally disrupted the movement of opium.

After World War II, the Mafia took advantage of the weakness of the postwar Italian government and set up heroin labs in Sicily. The Mafia took advantage of Sicily’s location along the historic route opium took westward into Europe and the United States.

Large-scale international heroin production effectively ended in China with the victory of the communists in the civil war in the late 1940s. The elimination of Chinese production happened at the same time that Sicily’s role in the trade developed.

Although it remained legal in some countries until after World War II, health risks, addiction, and widespread recreational use led most western countries to declare heroin a controlled substance by the latter half of the 20th century.

In late 1960s and early 1970s, the CIA supported anti-Communist Chinese Nationalists settled near the Sino-Burmese border and Hmong tribesmen in Laos. This helped the development of the Golden Triangle opium production region, which supplied about one-third of heroin consumed in US after the 1973 American withdrawal from Vietnam. As of 1999, Burma, the heartland of the Golden Triangle remained the second largest producer of heroin, after Afghanistan.

The Soviet-Afghan war led to increased production in the Pakistani-Afghan border regions, as U.S.-backed mujaheddin militants raised money for arms from selling opium, contributing heavily to the modern Golden Crescent creation. By 1980, 60% of heroin sold in the U.S. originated in Afghanistan. It increased international production of heroin at lower prices in the 1980s. The trade shifted away from Sicily in the late 1970s as various criminal organizations violently fought with each other over the trade. The fighting also led to a stepped up government law enforcement presence in Sicily.

Traffic is heavy worldwide, with the biggest producer being Afghanistan. According to a U.N. sponsored survey, as of 2004, Afghanistan accounted for production of 87 percent of the world’s diacetylmorphine. Afghan opium kills around 100,000 people annually.

The cultivation of opium in Afghanistan reached its peak in 1999, when 350 square miles (910 km2) of poppies were sown. The following year the Taliban banned poppy cultivation, a move which cut production by 94 percent. By 2001 only 30 square miles (78 km2) of land were in use for growing opium poppies. A year later, after American and British troops had removed the Taliban and installed the interim government, the land under cultivation leapt back to 285 square miles (740 km2), with Afghanistan supplanting Burma to become the world’s largest opium producer once more. Opium production in that country has increased rapidly since, reaching an all-time high in 2006. War in Afghanistan once again appeared as a facilitator of the trade. Some 3.3 million Afghans are involved in producing opium.




At present, opium poppies are mostly grown in Afghanistan, and in Southeast Asia, especially in the region known as the Golden Triangle straddling Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Yunnan province in China. There is also cultivation of opium poppies in the Sinaloa region of Mexico and in Colombia. The majority of the heroin consumed in the United States comes from Mexico and Colombia. Up until 2004, Pakistan was considered one of the biggest opium-growing countries.



Conviction for trafficking heroin carries the death penalty in most Southeast Asian, some East Asian and Middle Eastern countries (see Use of death penalty worldwide for details), among which Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are the most strict. The penalty applies even to citizens of countries where the penalty is not in place, sometimes causing controversy when foreign visitors are arrested for trafficking, for example the arrest of nine Australians in Bali, the death sentence given to Nola Blake in Thailand in 1987, or the hanging of an Australian citizen Van Tuong Nguyen in Singapore.


HARM REDUCTION

Harm reduction is a public health philosophy that seeks to reduce the harms associated with the use of diacetylmorphine. One aspect of harm reduction initiatives focuses on the behaviour of individual users. This includes promoting safer means of taking the drug, such as smoking, nasal use, oral or rectal insertion. This attempts to avoid the higher risks of overdose, infections and blood-borne viruses associated with injecting the drug.

Other measures include using a small amount of the drug first to gauge the strength, and minimize the risks of overdose. For the same reason, poly drug use (the use of two or more drugs at the same time) is discouraged. Injecting diacetylmorphine users are encouraged to use new needles, syringes, spoons/steri-cups and filters every time they inject and not share these with other users. Users are also encouraged to not use it on their own, as others can assist in the event of an overdose.




Governments that support a harm reduction approach usually fund needle & syringe exchange programmes, which supply new needles and syringes on a confidential basis, as well as education on proper filtering prior to injection, safer injection techniques, safe disposal of used injecting gear and other equipment used when preparing diacetylmorphine for injection may also be supplied including citric acid sachets/vitamin C sachets, steri-cups, filters, alcohol pre-injection swabs, sterile water ampules and tourniquets (to stop use of shoe laces or belts).



Another harm reduction measure employed for example in Europe, Canada and Australia are safe injection sites where users can inject diacetylmorphine and cocaine under the supervision of medically trained staff. Safe injection sites are low threshold and allow social services to approach problem users that would otherwise be hard to reach.


Street price

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reports that the retail price of brown heroin varies from €14.5 per gram in Turkey to €110 per gram in Sweden, with most European countries reporting typical prices of €35-40 per gram. The price of white heroin is reported only by a few European countries and ranged between €27 and €110 per gram.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime claims in its 2008 World Drug Report that typical US retail prices are US$172 per gram.


BABIES and DRUGS

One woman thought she had a solution …. read more here.

” I think there is a lot to be said for wanting to save babies and children from the fate suffered by innocents such as Holly Agius, 12 week old Chelsey Essex, 22 month old Mitchell Bate and countless others who never asked to be born into such suffering. I have always thought that out of all the tragic effects that crack, heroin, cocaine, etc, can have on the human body the one thing they sadly don’t do is render the user infertile.”



That’s the worst thing about drugs.


POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS – TAKE ACTION



FOUNDATION for a Drug Free World





Modern day BAYER works to pay back through their own FOUNDATIONS .

German chemical and pharmaceutical company. Founded in 1863 by Friedrich Bayer (18251880), it now operates plants in more than 30 countries. Bayer has originated scores of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and synthetic materials; it was the first developer and marketer of aspirin (1899); of Prontosil, the first sulfa drug (1935); and of polyurethane (1937). Bayer was part of the chemical cartel IG Farben from 1925 to 1945, when the latter was dissolved by the Allies; it was reestablished as an independent company in 1951. Its most noteworthy drug of the 1990s was the antibiotic Cipro. Its headquarters are in Leverkusen.


BAYER – According to Wiki, history.



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Take Wings …fly away from the Poppy, transform like the Butterfly and Celebrate Life!




Image Available HERE

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