Tag Archives: Heroin

Heroin was a brand name

Heroin, or diacetylmorphine to give it its scientific name, was first synthesized in 1874 by an English gentleman called C. R. Alder Wright. It wasn’t until 1898 that a man called Heinrich Dreser, head of drug development at German pharmaceutical company Bayer, saw the commercial potential in the drug. poppyplant

Dreser started developing the drug as treatment for respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, asthma and tuberculosis, testing the drug on animals, human test subjects and even himself. Unsurprisingly Dreser and his test subjects liked the drug, saying it made them feel “heroisch” German for heroic. From this the brand name heroin was born.

Heroin was given a big thumbs up from Dreser and the Bayer big bosses. Samples of the drug were given out to doctors who in turn prescribed Heroin to their patients. Bayer was producing Heroin pastels, cough lozengers, tablets, water-soluble Heroin salts and a Heroin elixir.

Suspicion of the drug arose however when doctors started to report patients requesting Heroin cough syrup even though they weren’t showing any respiratory problems.

It turned out that Heroin was extremely addictive and detrimental to a person’s health. Bayer stopped producing and selling Heroin in 1913, deleting any mention of the drug in it’s company history. In 1924 Heroin was made illegal in the USA, even for medical purposes. In Britain, heroin is still used for medical purposes to this day, accounting for 95% of the worlds legal heroin use.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Romley_Alder_Wright

 

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The New Face of Heroin

The explosion of drugs like OxyContin has given way to a heroin epidemic ravaging the least likely corners of America – like bucolic Vermont, which has just woken up to a full-blown crisis.
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-new-face-of-heroin-20140403

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Wilkes-Barre Faces Heroin Scourge

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — For William Lisman, the longtime Luzerne County coroner, the first sign of the coming plague appeared in the hills of northeastern Pennsylvania in November 2015.

A 27-year-old woman from one of the mountain towns surrounding Wilkes-Barre was found dead in her family home.

Lisman suspected a drug overdose. She was young. She had been healthy. There were no obvious signs of trauma. And heroin abuse had been on the rise in recent years.

“When a person dies of an overdose, the lungs fill with fluid,” he said. “The victims essentially drown in their own fluids.”

Because autopsies are expensive and time consuming, many coroners faced with cases like these do toxicological tests designed to pick up traces of known drugs to determine the cause of death. But the first test Lisman administered came back negative. So did the second.

So Lisman listed the cause of death as undetermined.

Several days later, a 34-year-old man was found dead in a sleeping bag in the nearby city of Hazleton.

Once again, Lisman suspected a fatal drug overdose. Once again, the tox tests came back negative. And once again, he listed the cause of death as undetermined.

“I remember when it started because it was budget time and they were about to cut my budget,” he said, with a wry chuckle. “At that point the doctor I had been consulting with (about these two cases) told me, ‘Bill, there is something going on here’.”

Like many coroners in smaller counties, Lisman is not a doctor. But he knows about death. A third-generation Wilkes-Barre resident, he and his family ran a funeral home that buried several generations of city residents. He reached out to fellow coroners in neighboring counties to see if they had similar cases.