Heroin is a psychoactive substance that belongs to the opiate group (substances extracted from the poppy plant). Morphine is extracted from the raw poppy plant and after some chemical processing, is turned into heroin. In 18th century, smoking opium was a widespread tradition in many Asian countries.
In 1874, Alder Right, an English chemist, who worked at the medical school of Saint Marry Hospital in London, synthesized heroin for the first time. In 1898 heroin became popular after another chemist – Felix Hoffman, had synthesized it. It was sold as a strong painkiller and as medicine against tuberculosis, severe cough or morphine addiction.
The medical use of the substance was gradually stopped in most countries when it was discovered that heroin was more addictive than morphine.
In 1914, the first bans were announced and that made heroin trafficking a lucrative activity. Heroin quickly removed opium and morphine from their positions. By 1972 heroin had already become a big part of the European drug market.
Nowadays, heroin sold on the street, is usually mixed with other substances. Depending on the production method, it can be a thick and black “resin” or powder varying in color from white to dark brown.