When Did Opiate Abuse Start in History?

There is and has been a national crisis of opioid abuse in our country. Opioids are prescribed painkillers, synthetic opioids, and illegal drugs such as Codeine, Heroin, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Methadone, Morphine, and Oxycodone. Some of these are prescribed daily for pain, acute and/or chronic. Many people who are prescribed painkillers abuse them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, (NIH),

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
  • Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.

When Did Opiate Abuse Start in History?

Opiates in Our Society

Opiates weren’t always a problem in our society. They were intended, like all medications, for good. To curb pains caused by post-surgery pain and/or illnesses. Opiates have been very successful, when taken as prescribed, in treating pain and allowing people to function normally in their everyday lives. But, unfortunately, there has also been opiate abuse and overdoses that are plaguing our country. Sometimes you wonder how did it all begin? When did opiate abuse start?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), The Sumerians in Mesopotamia were among the first people identified to have cultivated the poppy plant around 3400 BC. They named it Hul Gil, the “joy plant”. It eventually spread throughout the ancient world to every major civilization in Europe and Asia and was used to treat pain and many other ailments.

Discovery of Opiates

In 1803, in Germany, after many trials and errors, Friedrich Sertürner, a German pharmacist discovered Morphine after suffering from a terrible toothache. He ingested a small number of his morphine salts, experienced tremendous relief, fell fast asleep, and awoke hours later to attest that this compound was, in fact, safe for human consumption. He named it “morphism” after Morpheus, the ancient Greek god of dreams.

When Did We Find Out Opiates Are Addictive?

After this discovery, Morphine became the drug for U.S. doctors to treat pain, anxiety, and respiratory problems, as well as consumption and female ailments. Morphine was commonly used as a painkiller during the Civil War, which is where the real beginning of the opiate abuse started. Morphine was used to treat soldiers for pain due to injuries in battle in the 1860s during the civil war and many soldiers became addicted to them. They came home from the war addicted to opiates and it became known as the “soldiers disease”.

After the awareness grew about how addictive opiates were there were many productions of substitutes like oxycodone with the hope that it would retain the analgesic effects of morphine and heroin, but with less physical dependence.

While these substitutes still did the job of helping those with the pain they did not stop the rise of abuse. This continues to happen to this day. It has only gotten worse since the 2000’s when Oxycontin came into play. Today with all the synthetics out there and opioid abuse rising, there is still hope and that is where Garden State Treatment Center comes in.

Opioid Addiction Rehab at Garden State Treatment Center

Having an addiction to opioids is not an easy thing to overcome. We all would like to go back and do it differently where we wouldn’t have gotten to that point of being addicted. For many of us who has gone through opioid addiction, the results have been nothing but horrific but here at Garden State Treatment Center, we promise you can expect that you will emerge from it transformed, stable, and ready to begin a lifetime of recovery.

We are here to guide and support you with the ultimate goal of lifelong recovery from the moment you step through our doors. Every second in active addiction makes it more difficult to reach out for help. Break the barrier of substance abuse and begin healing from the underlying causes of your addiction. Contact Garden State Treatment Center today.