Heroin’s popularity has gone up in recent years, and understandably so. This has occurred even though there is now a new “risk in the mix.” Fentanyl is a narcotic used to treat pain, much like how many opiates were originally used. Fentanyl is still administered in hospitals, but it is a very dangerous drug. This additive provides a “super high” addicts learn to crave, not realizing the risk of overdose is substantially higher.
Opium itself dates back to 3400 B.C., when it was first cultivated in Mesopotamia. Hippocrates disproved the common notion of the time that the drug possessed magical abilities, but he proclaimed the drug to be a useful narcotic that is good for treating illnesses.
Heroin has an extremely high dependency rate. First-time users find themselves looking for follow-up kicks or alternatives. Before it is foreseeable, full-blown dependency takes control over the victim. Some report that the numbers on overdose rates are expected to rise exponentially, due in part to its recent comeback in the black market, but also due to its new kick. This particular opium is not a new phenomenon, though some believe it was developed in the 60’s. It is a drug that has actually been around for at least a couple of centuries; opium in general is referenced much earlier in history.
Many historians say it was during the 1800’s that Morphine took root in American culture; Morphine is another opium derivative. Once it was accepted by most physicians, this medical “wonder drug” was coined for having a miraculous effect on patients with severe pain. Morphine was used to treat soldiers, surgical patients, and people with chronic pain syndromes. This is why it became an escalated problem due to the dependency factor and over-prescribing doctors.
One source claims Heroin was actually manufactured in Germany in 1874, though synthesized by a British chemist, and then brought to the United States to aid in the Morphine epidemic. This is perhaps a part of history that explains the commonly accepted ideology of the “War on Drugs,” and also why it is increasingly difficult for people with chronic pain to obtain proper pain management prescriptions. The sales pitch for Heroin is said to have been, “a safe, non-addictive substitute for Morphine.” For this reason, many believe the 1870’s gave birth to the current Heroin problem Americans see today, thus making Heroin’s popularity understandable.
People tend to ridicule others for their weaknesses, as observed in drug addiction. However, one might find it hard to ridicule an American President. George Washington, a renowned General and leader, often used Laudanum for a painful dental condition. This particular drug is also an opiate derivative. The War on Drugs proponents may pick and choose who to consider patients, and who to consider addicts, but it is hard for anyone to denounce General George Washington. Thomas Jefferson is another President known for a fancy toward this substance. He was said to have grown poppy-seed plants (the plant from which opium is derived) on his mansion fields. Historians, however, are left with only educated guesses as to why he grew this plant on his property.
There are very real dangers and social problems that arise from Heroin and drug dependency. Scott J. Stubler, a man from Rockdale, Chicago, was charged Sunday with aggravated DUI, along with lesser offenses. He tested positive for Heroin, Morphine, and codeine. His bail was set at $50,000 after allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road, colliding with a bus, and running into three pedestrians. Perhaps in the past, people weren’t at so much a risk for DUI when they were steering horse-drawn carriages, but it is a modern era with new understandings about chemicals and health. A drug craving subculture, seeking the next big rush, is all that is left to understand the popularity seen in Heroin use.
Editorial By Lindsey Alexander