Heroin is a crude preparation of diamorphine. It is a semi-synthetic product obtained by acetylation of morphine, a natural product present in opium, namely the dried latex of certain species of poppy (e.g. Papaver somniferum L.). Diamorphine is a narcotic pain reliever used in the treatment of severe pain. Illicit heroin can be smoked or solubilized with a weak acid and then injected. While opium has been smoked since the dawn of time, the first synthesis of diamorphine dates back to the end of the 19th century. Heroin is under international control.

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