Heroin the facts
Started conversation Mar 7, 2007
What a load of tosh I read in the article about the discovery of heroin. OK it was discovered in 1874 - by Charles Alder-Wright at St Mary's medical school in Paddington. He did NOT boil up morphine and get heroin - he was part of a carefully structured programme that had discovered earlier that if you acetylate molecules it makes them more potent. Thus morphine was boiled up with acetic anhydride, in the course of his experiments, he discovered heroin, but thought no more about it. He prepared many compounds of codeine and morphine (Both natural alkaloids of opium), and then dropped his work, and went on to acetylate camphor, and also did work in soaps and fireworks!! Investigators of Wright's opium compounds concluded after animal testing that they held no significant advantage over morphine and there the sotry stood until 1898, when Bayer marketed the compound as "Heroin" - as a good cough supressant. Alder -Wright did not do anything with his molecule, because he did not know the structure.
Get the Facts Right BBC
Bob Dunkley M.R.Pharm.S.
RCGP Certificate in Substance Misuse