Drugs: The Production Of Heroin Essay

2011 words - 8 pages

In the 1850’s, opium addiction was a major problem in the United States. To help reduce the rates, opium addicts were provided with morphine. The idea behind their logic was that it was less potent and a non-addictive substitute. Scientists and doctors quickly learned this was not the case as morphine addiction became a bigger issue than opium addiction. This morphine substitute was heroin (The Truth about Heroin). Heroin was first synthesized from morphine in 1874 by C.R Alder Wright whom was part of a German pharmaceutical company called Bayer. From 1898 through to 1910, Bayer marketed it under the trademark name Heroin as a cough suppressant claiming that it was a non-addictive morphine substitute that is until it was discovered that it rapidly metabolizes into morphine. One year after beginning sales, Bayer exported heroin to 23 countries. Since then, heroin was spread and used regularly. To this day, heroin addiction still remains a major issue worldwide, especially in the United States (Heroin Facts). Heroin’s elementary but effective production has resulted in a variety of harmful side effects in users and an evident impact hurting millions annually.
The production of heroin was very popular due to its simplicity. First the opium poppy seed is planted, grown, and harvested. The raw opium is collected into balls. From there, the morphine is extracted and processed to heroin. To do so, the opium is packed and placed into tubes where it is then crushed and dividing into portions signifying the size of the batch. Once crushed, it is places into barrels where hot, but not boiling, water is added, thus making the pH level around 8. The barrel is stirred and any garbage is removed. Next, hot water with lime is added. The lime’s high acidity helps bring down the pH level, thus helping to raise the opium’s pH level to 10-12, as well as dissolve the opium. Barrels are filled once more with water and left overnight, resulting in oils floating on the surface. The morphine is then filtered out into separate containers. Chloride is added while the morphine is being stirred and it is left overnight once more. The solution is poured into a bucket lines with cloth that is soaked with warm water. The cloth is squeezed, thus removing the remaining liquid from the morphine. The morphine is brownish- gray and is left to air dry. It is ready to be converted to heroin. It is placed in an aluminum pot with some acetic anhydride and is stirred until all of the morphine has dissolved, then left to sit for 45 minutes. It is then when it is put over a fire to be heated for 30 minutes. The solution is filtered again with the cloth and baking soda is added to create a reaction, thus giving off a gas. Once the gas is no longer being produced, the pH level is about 10. The solution is filtered out in the cloth yet again and the brownish colored heroin is poured into a bowl to be purified. The brown heroin base is dissolved using dilute...

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