Early Bayer Heroin Bottle and Package

Heroin is made from morphine by substituting an acetyl group (COOH) on the alcohol (OH) groups at the molecule's 3 and 6 positions, thus transforming morphine into diacetylmorphine, or heroin. That is the entire difference between morphine and heroin. Yet the effect is to make the drug much more bioavailable and consequently two or three times stronger. Some of this analgesia is due to its increased ability to enter the brain, get metabolized to morphine and start to work. But some of it appears to also be a result of its metabolite 6-MAM, which has been shown to be four times as strong as plain morphine.
The same procedure used to produce aspirin from a willow bark extract is also used to turn morphine into heroin. In fact, the acetylation procedures for making aspirin and heroin are so similar, any aspirin synthesis can be used as a guide to making heroin- just substitute morphine for salicylic acid. The relative amounts of acetic anhydride are the same, as are the reaction times and other conditions.

-pp. 174- 175, Opium for the Masses: Harvesting Nature's Best Pain Medication by Jim Hogshire (2009)

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Early Bayer Heroin Bottle and Package
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