How did the use of morphine start and how does it relate to heroin?
In 1803, a German pharmacist discovered how to make morphine from opium. Morphine, like opium, was used as a remedy for chronic pain and insomnia, but it was also taken by people who were addicted to laudanum (tincture of opium) and wanted to get rid of it. This didn’t work as morphine is even more potent and addictive than opium. Just how addictive morphine was was revealed when 45,000 soldiers returned addicted from the American Civil War.
Heroin was discovered in 1898 by a German company. It is made from morphine. The effect of this discovered new drug heroin turned out to be much stronger than that of morphine. For that reason, the drug was also called “heroin,” which means heroic or powerful in German. Where people used morphine to get rid of an opium addiction, they started using heroin to get rid of that morphine addiction. A vicious circle was the result. It was only too late to realize how addictive heroin was.
Heroin entered the drug market in 1972. The price was very low at first and before long all opium users switched to heroin and the same happened to the people who used other drugs. For years, the opiate problem has been the main drug problem in our country. This has now been reversed and there are relatively few heroin addicts.