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a person holds heroin spoon and wonders about the history of heroin use

The History of Heroin Use

Do you believe that the history of heroin use dates back to a few years ago? Some people potentially think that it originated in dark alleys during the 1960s. At this time, movie and music starts began glamorizing drug use. Moreover, many authors wrote about it extensively.

The truth about the history of heroin use is likely surprising to some individuals that have a heroin addiction. The Promises Behavioral Health treatment team understands that heroin quickly takes control, often resulting in a downward spiral. We guide clients through every step of their treatment program. Heroin users and those that use other drugs usually begin their recovery at Promises Behavioral Health with medical detox. The caring staff is here for you or your loved one.

The Heroin Predecessor

The history of heroin use actually dates back to ancient times before heroin was created. The PBS Frontline production reveals a timeline indicating that the opium poppy plant was first cultivated in 3400 B.C. by the ancient Sumerians. They discovered its euphoric effects, and referred to it as the ‘joy plant.’ They passed the knowledge to the Assyrians, who passed it to the Babylonians and to the Egyptians.

The Egyptians grew the plant in poppy fields around 1300 B.C., with opium trade flourishing through the reign of several Egyptian leaders. The opium trade route eventually passed to the Phoenicians and the Minoan people. The opium trade route traveled along the Mediterranean Sea, eventually landing in Europe.

Some civilizations created special tools to cultivate opium, some of which they smoked before sending the rest along the trade route. After finding its way through Persia, India, and China, opium disappeared from records for 200 years starting around 1300 A.D., after being considered ‘taboo.’ It reappeared with different cultures smoking it, eating it, or mixing it with other substances as a drink.

The trade resumed around 1800 A.D., with one British company purchasing nearly half of all opium from Turkey for export to the U.S. and Europe. Famous people around the U.S., Great Britain, and Germany began using opium and trying to ‘perfect’ it for both medicinal and recreational use.

The History of Heroin Use

While several countries waged opium wars, the experiments with opium first resulted in the creation of morphine. BLTC Research indicates that in 1874, the English researcher, C.R. Wright first synthesized heroin after boiling morphine over on a stove.

Amid multiple efforts to control opium use, trade, and smuggling, Heinrich Dreser, who worked for The Bayer Company in Germany, made a concoction of diluted morphine and acetyls, which he claimed was a morphine-like drug without the unpleasant side effects of morphine. Dreser began production of the diacetylmorphine, which he marketed as ‘Heroin.’

Whatever the history of heroin use in your own life, the compassionate professionals at Promises Behavioral Health are here to help you get started in a comprehensive treatment program.

Heroin Addiction Rate Explodes

The history of heroin use continued with people using the drug quickly becoming addicted to it. Heroin timelines cite 1903 as the first year when people used the word ‘alarming’ to describe the issue of heroin addiction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Addiction (CDC) recently reported startling information about heroin use, including:

  • Heroin use increased across nearly all demographic groups in recent years
  • Previous use of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin use
  • There were five times more heroin-related deaths in 2017, in comparison to 2010
  • There were more than 15,000 deaths from heroin in 2017

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that the number of heroin-related deaths decreased slightly between 2017 and 2018. In 2017, there were 15,482 deaths, and in 2018 there were 14,996 deaths. Recent increases related to heroin often include people using heroin along with other synthetic opioids. The drug most often associated with this category is fentanyl.

Heroin Treatment at Promises Behavioral Health

Promises Behavioral Health offers individualized, comprehensive heroin treatment. The experienced staff recognizes the fact that many heroin users often have co-occurring mental health disorders. Additionally, we offer dual diagnosis treatment, residential treatment programs, and other programs to support you during and after your treatment.

Start your recovery today by contacting us at 844.875.5609. Create the life you always wanted, free of heroin.