Medications

Fentanyl now the no. 1 opioid OD killer

(HealthDay)—As the U.S. opioid epidemic grinds on, fentanyl is fast becoming the main culprit in drug overdose deaths, health officials report.

Medications

Drug wholesalers drove fentanyl's deadly rise, report concludes

Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid implicated in nearly 29,000 overdose deaths in the United States last year, most likely spread because of heroin and prescription pill shortages, and also because it was cheaper for drug ...

Medications

Feds say heroin, fentanyl remain biggest drug threat to US

Opioid overdose deaths hit the highest level ever recorded in the United States last year, with an estimated 200 people dying per day, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Neuroscience

Dopamine drives early addiction to heroin

Scientists have made a major advance in untangling the brain circuits that lead to the powerful addictive effects of heroin, a study in the open-access journal eLife reports.

Medications

Heroin addiction treatment and opioid misuse

Michael Fendrich is associate dean for research and a professor in the UConn School of Social Work, whose research focuses on policies, services, interventions, and risk factors related to substance misuse and mental health. ...

Medications

New US survey shows some progress against opioid crisis

Figures from a U.S. government survey released Friday show some progress in the fight against the ongoing opioid addiction crisis with fewer people in 2017 using heroin for the first time compared to the previous year.

Medications

Highest opioid-related mortality seen in construction jobs

(HealthDay)—Proportional mortality ratios (PMRs) for heroin-related overdose deaths and methadone-related overdose deaths from 2007 to 2012 were highest among construction workers, according to research published in the ...

Medications

Norway to test free heroin for drug addicts

Norway, which has one of the highest deadly drug overdose rates in Europe, will test prescribing free heroin to the most serious addicts to improve their living conditions, the government said on Friday.

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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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