A Brief History of Heroin in America

//A Brief History of Heroin in America
  • poppies

Opiate use dates all the way back to 34000 B.C. when poppies in Mesopotamia were consumed to reduce pain. For the earliest years of human civilization, the poppy was grown for natural health remedies and made into opioids by the local shamen. 

Later British traders began to import opium from India to China in order to pay for other goods that they wanted to bring back home. As a result, many people became addicted to the drug in China. 

In the 1800s, many people immigrated from China to America in order to work on the railroads and make a new life for themselves. They began to establish opium dens in their new cities and invited Americans to pick up the popular habit.

That’s where the history of heroin in America starts. Read on to learn more and to learn how to find businesses that can help if you know someone who is addicted.

Early History of Heroin in America

Most people in America were introduced to opium dens in the 1870s. They were a place located in Chinatowns where people could go to smoke opium without being bothered. 

Over time, cities like San Francisco began to see a problem develop from opium use and they decided to pass legislation to reduce the frequency that people were allowed to visit the opium dens. 

Many people believed that if the opium dens were allowed to continue there would be a rise in prostitution and other crimes. To prevent their development, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was passed creating a moratorium on Chinese immigration for ten years. 

Opiates in Prescribed Medicine

Although opium dens were a bit of a problem in some cities, they really didn’t affect the lives of people who lived in the country. It wasn’t until the invention of morphine in 1803 that the opioid epidemic really began.

During the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of soldiers became addicted to morphine. To solve the problem, many other companies began to look into making a less addictive form of the medication. 

One of those companies was Bayer, who mass-marketed a morphine substitute as a cough suppressant to be used for children who had a cough or cold. By the early 1900s, heroin was regularly used in over the counter medical treatments.

Unfortunately, these treatments were still highly addictive and many Americans fell prey to the marketing tactics used by large pharmaceutical companies. 

The Century of Change

So how did we go from the small percentage of opioids in our cough syrup to the epidemic that faces our country today where it’s impossible to move forward without the help of heroin treatment centers

For years, companies have been trying to perfect their formulas for the perfect painkiller. Each change has created more confusion in the minds of consumers who aren’t sure what is safe for them. The more opioids that are prescribed, the more potential addicts we create. 

Find Other Businesses

Opiates have had a place in human history for thousands of years as a painkiller and anesthetic. 

Now that you know about the history of heroin, you have a better understanding of how it came to be in America. Learn more about health and chemicals (the good kind!) in this blog post.

By | 2019-05-22T21:16:44+02:00 May 22nd, 2019|Lifestyle|

About the Author: