What did 19th century pharmaceutical companies know about addiction?

Submitted by freedom on
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This is not exactly science, but makes me wonder what Bayer knew in choosing the word heroin.

In 1898, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer began marketing heroin – whose name comes from the German word heroisch, meaning "powerful."

The product was marketed as a cough remedy made from a supposedly non-addictive morphine derivative. It was also used as a cure for morphine addiction – which unfortunately caused large numbers of users to become heroin addicts.

In part because of the growing population of "junkies" (a term that may derive from the fact that some supported their addictions by selling scrap metal), Bayer eventually ceased production and lost its trademark.

In 1914, American officials began regulating opiates, including the generic, powdered version of heroin.