Medications

Medication that lowers risk of overdose underused

Less than half of Americans who received treatment for opioid use disorder over a five-year period were offered a potentially lifesaving medication, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and ...

Medications

Psilocybin use associated with lower risk of opioid addiction

Adults who have at some time in their life used psilocybin—a psychedelic substance produced by some types of mushrooms—are 30% less likely to have opioid use disorder, according to a nationally representative survey of ...

Addiction

Examining the opioid epidemic through the lens of crime data

The opioid overdose epidemic in the United States remains a critically important public health issue that continues to worsen as time goes on. The estimated death toll in 2021 has reached the historical high of 100,000 overdose ...

Addiction

Naloxone access doesn't make heroin seem less risky

The medication naloxone is so effective at saving the lives of opioid overdose victims that some people worry that it might make drug users think heroin and related drugs are no longer risky.

Medications

All-drug overdoses rising in children aged 0 to 10, 11 to 14

(HealthDay)—From April 2016 through September 2019, suspected all-drug overdoses increased among those aged 0 to 10 and 11 to 14 years, while there was a decrease seen in suspected heroin overdoses among youth aged 15 to ...

Medications

ADHD medication ODs rising in U.S. kids, teens

(HealthDay)—Growing numbers of younger kids are overdosing on stimulant medications commonly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study indicates.

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Heroin

Heroin (diacetylmorphine (INN)), also known as diamorphine (BAN), or, especially in older literature, as morphine diacetate, is an opioid analgesic synthesized from morphine, a derivative of the opium poppy. When used in medicine it is typically used to treat severe pain, such as that resulting from a heart attack. It is the 3,6-diacetyl ester of morphine, and functions as a morphine prodrug (meaning that it is metabolically converted to morphine inside the body). The white crystalline form considered "pure heroin" is usually the hydrochloride salt, diacetylmorphine hydrochloride. When heroin is supplied illegally, though, it is often adulterated to a freebase form, dulling the sheen and consistency to a matte white powder. As of 2004, roughly 87% of the world supply of opium and its derivatives, including heroin, was thought to be produced in Afghanistan. However, production in Mexico has risen six-fold from 2007 to 2011, changing that percentage and placing Mexico as the second largest opium producer in the world.

As with other opioids, diacetylmorphine is used as both an analgesic and a recreational drug. Frequent and regular administration is associated with tolerance and physical dependence, which may develop into addiction. Internationally, diacetylmorphine is controlled under Schedules I and IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It is illegal to manufacture, possess, or sell diacetylmorphine without a license in almost every country.

Under the chemical names diamorphine and diacetylmorphine, heroin is a legally prescribed controlled drug in the United Kingdom, and is supplied in tablet or injectable form for the same indications as morphine is, often being preferred over morphine due to its lower side effect profile. It is also available for prescription to long-term users in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark alongside psycho-social care, and a similar programme is being campaigned for by liberal political parties in Norway.

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