In 1898, the Bayer Company in Germany developed an opium derivative ten times more potent than morphine. This new drug was seen as a wonder drug and to suggest the heroic curative power of this new drug, its creators named it heroin. Heroin has transformed over the years from a prominent pharmaceutical drug to a very addictive and misused drug (Freeman 48).
Heroin initially was available over the counter and was widely prescribed by doctors as treatment for many illnesses. Heroin was perceived to be highly effective in relieving colds, emphysema, asthma, and tuberculosis. Heroin also was used to treat morphine addiction. It soon became apparent that heroin in fact was very addictive and people started to use the drug for their own pleasure instead of for medicinal purposes (Freeman 48).
Heroin was found to be more toxic and habit forming than morphine. Heroin has a greater analgesic and euphoric property per gram than any other narcotic. Heroin gave people a feeling of euphoria even better than opium or morphine. By 1919 nearly a quarter of a million people in the United States were addicted to heroin. The public’s attitude toward narcotic addiction and the addict took a decidedly negative turn. Heroin for the first time was seen as an abusive, misused drug rather than a heroic curative drug it was originally employed to be. The U.S. government, realizing the drug problem, pushed legislation into controlling the use of heroin and other narcotics (Freeman 49).
The Harrison Act of 1914, stated that all narcotics except those prescribed by the medical community were illegal. Even with the passage of this act, illegal heroin use grew, and a...
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... find a constant supply of drugs inside, some programs in the institution are available for dependency, and some have been successful. Nearly 95,000 people confined in correctional institutions alone were on some form of treatment for heroin dependency. Should we spend money trying to incapacitate these people or spend millions a year in trying to develop community treatment programs? This is yet another problem that drug abuse has created for society (Allen 286).
It is a piece of historical irony that the beginnings of heroin where as a miracle cure all, and heroin became one of the most addictive and destructive narcotics. Since it’s transformation into an abusive drug we have tried legislation and law enforcement to contain the problem. However, this has not been an affective solution, as heroin still continues to be a problem in our present society.
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