Facts about Heroin

Deadly Effects of Heroin

Fact: The drug known today as heroin was first marketed and sold as a cough syrup.

Abstract: In today’s world, everyone knows that drugs are illegal. However, some people don’t know that drugs are deadly. Many have never looked into the deadly effects that they can bring. Before 1900, people did not nearly know as much as they do today. They did not have access to information and facts about heroin, or other drugs that can severely affect your health. Still, it comes as a huge surprise that what is known as a deadly and serious drug today – heroin – was marketed and sold to the public as a cough syrup. Patients were treated with it, their doctors thinking it was a safe substitute of morphine. Little did they know it would become illegal and widely abused by many people around the world. Get the facts about heroin’s history and its deadly effects known to us today.

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Heroin from Bayer

In 1898, a new “medicine” came to the market, invented in Germany. Friedrich Bayer named it Heroin. He poured in massive amounts of money to synthesize it and imported it into the United States with the label of a “safe, non-addictive” substitute for morphine. Since many were addicted to morphine in those days, doctors jumped at the idea of giving patients Heroin instead. The Narconon foundation takes us through the history of heroin, described here briefly, so you can get all the facts about how this drug came to be.

The late 1800’s to the early 1900’s

Drug companies begin releasing drug kits. These could be bought without a prescription, surprisingly containing things like a needle, heroin, and sometimes even cocaine. In those times, these drugs were thought to treat illnesses and used widely.


The government’s attention is drawn to the dangerous nature of these drugs. The Dangerous Drug Act is passed, and drugs such as heroin and other opiates are made illegal. According to druganon, however, there were already nearly 200,000 heroin addicts in the U.S. by 1925.

Cough it up

A book by Joseph Lee, George E. Leary, Jr. named What’s wrong with My Kid? takes us through the ABC’s of heroin. Heroin is an opiate synthesized from morphine. The marketing associated with it when it was first developed not only claimed it to be a non-addictive alternate to morphine, but also a safe cough syrup. Today heroin’s street names are not limited to the following:

  • junk
  • smack
  • dope
  • brown sugar
  • H
  • skag
  • and horse.

Interested in reading more about the topic? Check out the above mentioned book here.

Deadly effects

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 4.2 million Americans ages 12 and over had used heroin at least once. These statistics from 2011 are shocking to many, but not as shocking as the following:

23% of individuals who use heroin become dependent.

This is horrible news to anyone, but especially to someone who knows the facts about heroin and what effects it has on the body. The Foundation for a Drug Free World warns us of its effects, stated as the following:

  • slowed breathing
  • clouded mental functions
  • nausea and vomiting
  • drowsiness and sedation
  • hypothermia
  • coma or death

Want to know more about the destructive effects of heroin? Read the booklet provided by the Foundation for a Drug Free World here.

You may also want to know about:

  • Facts about alcohol
  • Facts about MDMA

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