The present author would like to emphasize that the following is in the context of harm reduction. Heroin is a very dangerous drug that should be avoided. That being said, some may have seen discussion regarding #3 and #4 forms of heroin. In the paragraphs that follow I hope to detail their difference, which essentially comes down to stages of processing.
Opium is the original opiate. Opium is derived from the sap of poppies and primarily contains two molecules of interest: morphine and codeine. As can be seen, both morphine and codeine share a similar molecular structure. They possess three planar 6-carbon rings connected on one side by an oxygen. A nitrogen and some carbons extend outward from their flat structures. Around 200 years ago, morphine was first isolated and used as a treatment for opium addiction. This treatment plan was abandoned as the addiction potential of morphine was soon discovered.
Around 100 years ago, history repeated itself when Bayer Pharmaceuticals began
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