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The Heroin Drug History and Heroin Facts
Heroin, also called "diacetylmorphine" is produced from the acetylation of morphine which is extracted from natural opium sources like poppy flowers. As early as 3400 BC, the opium poppy flowers were grown and harvested in Mesopotamia. Various chemical and mechanical methods are used to make create the finished product which will have different appearances based on purity and will also have distinct names.

Diacetylmorphine was initially synthesized by C. R. Alder Wright in 1874. Wright was a chemist in England, practicing at London's St. Mary's Hospital Medical School. One of his experiments involved mixing morphine and various acids. He discovered that boiling alkaloid anhydrous morphine in combination with an acetic anhydride for a number of hours, would generate a much more potent acetylated type of morphine, which is now known as diacetylmorphine.

Wright's discovery didn't result in any additional compounds, and diacetylmorphine only gained popularity after it had been re-synthesized 23 years afterwards by a different chemist named Felix Hoffmann. Doing work for Aktiengesellschaft Farbenfabriken (nowdays the Bayer pharmaceutical firm) located in Elberfeld Germany, Hoffmann was told by his manager to acetylate morphine for the purpose of creating codeine, a component in the opium poppy which is equivalent (pharmacologically) to morphine however not as strong and not nearly as addictive. However, the experiment generated an acetylated kind of morphine that was not weaker but instead was 1.5 to 2 times as powerful as morphine alone.

Marketing of Heroin and Resulting Laws Controlling Heroin
The German medicine corporation Bayer decided to call the easily obtainable medicine "Heroin" in 1895 which came from the German word "heroisch" meaning heroic as a because of its demonstrated "heroic" actions by the user. Soldiers would charge straight toward an opposing enemy that was firing upon them without any fear or trepidation. Starting in 1898 and continuing till 1910 Bayer promoted Heroin as being a non-addictive substitute for morphine as well as a cough suppressant, prior to discovering that Heroin actually quickly metabolizes into morphine in a users body, making it basically a faster acting type of morphine. The Bayer corporation was understandably embarrassed when these finding became public. Although Bayer had marketed Heroin as being a "morphine subsititue that is non-addictive", heroin quickly grew to having one of the most high rates of addiction among those who used it.

Passage of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act in the USA in 1914 which was designed to manage heroin's distribution and sale, along with other opioids, permitted heroin to be prescribed as well as sold for medical reasons. US Congress banned the manufacture, importation or sale of heroin in 1924. In 1970, American passed the Controlled Substance Act, lising heroin as a Schedule I substance, making it a crime to possess it short of license from the DEA. Possession of greater than 100 grams of heroin or even a mixture that contains heroin, carries a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in federal prison. Heroin is also illegal for any non-medical use in any nation that has signed the treaty called the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Heroin Trafficking and World Wide Use
Heroin trafficking is heavy globally, with the greatest amount coming from Afghanistan. As documented in a 2004 survey sponsored by U.N., Afghanistan is credited for manufacturing 87 % of the world's heroin. In 1999, Afghanistan reached its peak production and cultivation of opium, with a documented 350 square miles of poppies planted. in 2000, a ban placed on poppy production by the Taliban, cut harvests by 94%. Then in 2001 only 30 square miles were planted in opium poppies. During this time, Burma was the world's biggest supplier of opium. However in 2002, following the American and British troops removal of the Taliban and setting up an interim government, the amount of land that was used to grow opium poppies sprung back to 285 square miles and Afghanistan once again rose to be the biggest opium producer in the world. Opium manufacturing in Afganistan has elevated quickly, with 2006 being a record year. It appeas that the war in Afghanistan has been a facilitator to the production and trade. It is estimated that close to three million Afghans are in some way connected with the production of opium.

According to UN estimates, throughout the world there exists in excess of 50 million frequent users of heroin, synthetic drugs and cocaine with heroin use amounting to 15.16 million and 21.13 million women and men and women who range in age from 15 to 64 years old.

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