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More morphine, please? Nevermind. Pass me the heroin, instead. On second thought….

Pre-war Bayer heroin bottle, originally contai...

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Whenever I think of morphine, I think of being doped up and feeling no pain while hooked up to tubes in the hospital. Then I imagine begging for more and doctors denying you because they don’t want you to become a dope fiend. Of course, morphine should only be used in times of extreme pain. Not just for the hell of it. Or should I say, the heaven of it?

Did you ever wonder how did we come up with the name for this drug? Morphine is named after the Greek god, Morpheus. Morpheus is the god of dreams. It’s all making sense now, isn’t it?

Speaking of morphine…

The Bayer Company, who is most famous for its aspirin, is also credited with introducing another drug: Heroin. Heroin was supposed to be a non-addictive substitute for the addictive morphine. In 1898 it was marketed to suppress coughing. It was sold over the counter.

Ironically enough, morphine eventually was used for treating heroin addiction. Wait, what? No, it’s not the drugs, it actually is pretty confusing. Heroin was supposed to replace morphine, which ended up being used to replace heroin. So wait…what’s replacing morphine again? Um…heroin? No, my sweet little potential addict. Just say no to drugs, okay?

The name “heroin” comes from the German word “heroisch”, or in English: heroic. Which is what users described feeling when taking the drug. Bayer was so excited for heroine that they sold to dozens of countries and handed out free samples before realizing that it, too, was addictive, just like Morphine. By 1913, The Bayer Company stopped production, removed it from its history books, and pretended it never happened.

It was all just a dream…

Below are Bayer print ads for heroin. Read it and itch. (Get it? I used “itch” instead of “weep” because dope fiends are always scratching. Eh…nevermind.)


September 2011


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