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Heroin

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Assignment 2 Heroin is one of the worlds most dangerous drugs, and is also one of the world's oldest. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 69,000 people die from an opioid overdose each year. (Information Sheet on Opioid Overdose). Heroin is just one of the many opioid forms labeled as analgesics. An analgesic relieves pain and is also called a “pain-killer”. Opioids are created from the plant “papaver somniferum”, better known as the opium poppy. The earliest records of this plant date back thousands of years ago to a Sumerian tablet which called the plant the “flower of joy.” The opium poppy is the root source of all opioids, the seed pod is the source of the naturally occurring opium. To extract the opium cuts are made to the green poppy seeds, which will ooze out a latex that is collected and dried to produce the raw opium. This latex is used to produce opioids such as morphine and codeine. Throughout history opium has seen its many uses. The drug came to its most prominence in the 1700’s, when the Dutch introduced the practice of smoking opium in a tobacco pipe to the Chinese. Up until this point opium had been used largely for its medical use as an analgesic. By 1729 the Chinese government had outlawed the sale of opium, fearing the weakening of the national vitality. Additionally the Chinese government had forbade the import of opium from India where the plant was largely cultivated. However the British East India Company encouraged the cultivation of opium and were the principle shippers to Chinese port of Canton, which was the only port open to Western merchants. What followed after this was years of widespread opium abuse throughout China. Eventually, the Chinese government began to introduce strict enforcement of the edict against importation of opium. This caused the Opium Wars of 1839-1842 and again in 1856 between China and the...

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