Heroinderives from the opium poppy plant. Heroin, as todays society knows it, wasoriginally chemically made in 1874 by a man called C.R.A Wright who was apharmacist at this time. Wright figured out that by isolating the morphinemolecules found in the opium poppy and adding two components from the Acetylgroup (expand).Ironically,Heroin was first sold over the counter from pharmacies in 1898 in the form of acough mixture. To parallel this to modern day it would be branded and seen likeCovonia is.Pharmaceuticalcompanies in todays society have to be regulated and medications FDA approved(expand) before any medications can be sold to the public.
However, back in thelate 1800’s those methods of safety measures were not in place. It was after anumber of years had passed that the devastating effects of heroin started tobecome apparent. Once the heroin was administered, whether for example orallyas something like the cough mixture or intravenously as a pain reliever, thatit metabolised in the body and turned into potent morphine which is highlyaddictive.Germanpharmaceutical company called Bayer were the first company to buy the rights tothe newly named (quote heroin in German heroisch to show why heroin got itsname – made you feel strong etc) Heroin in 1894 and had supplies ready to bedistributed by 1898. Bayer was left red faced however because it was not untildistribution that it became apparent that what they had widely advertised as anon-addictive substitute for the likes of codeine was in fact much morevirulent.It would be afurther (?) years before until the United States of America would be the firstcountry to recognise heroin in its socially destructive and lethal entirety.1914 seen the US criminalise the drug and make it illegal to obtain anywherewithout a prescription (diacetylmorphine) but it would be a further ten yearsbefore that aspect was also made illegal. The United Kingdom had a slowerreaction to the ever-growing drug crisis and did not make the drug illegal otherwiseprescribed by a Doctor until The Rollinson Committee Report criminalised it in1926 (reference and quote, illegal to possess distribute and supply).
It duringthis period that manufacturers lost there rights to produce the drug whichsubsequently forced the heroin trade underground. (Expand on the purity ofheroin and how because of the above and with it being forced underground thisthen led to the purity becoming lower or higher? And being cut with otherharmful things)Some may say that this led to the ultimate destruction or nonregulatory drug use (expand)deaths and overdoses (name high profile death of a star UK/US e.g.
)that The Brian Committee recommended methadone… Heroin hasdevastating effects on the user and also the society around them. It has bothpsychological and physical effects which have an enormous impact on thatindividual. Heroin destroys teeth and reduces bone density, causes the liningof the heart to become infected leading to coronary issues, collapsed veinsfrom injecting and exposes the user to HIV and hepatitis from using potentiallyunclean syringes. These are just a small number of side effects from Heroin usebut they all too often lead to death. Psychologicallyaddiction of the person also becomes apparent as the drug metabolises intoMorphine in the body, it sends the user into what has been described (quote) asa euphoric state. However, this is short lived as eventually the effects of usewear off. This state of euphoria lessens with every use as the body states tobuild up a tolerance to the drug.
Prominentways of thinking around illicit drug use in both past and present societiesstem from Foucauldian modes of thought (quote). Foucaultestablished very intellectually written and thought out theories on why societywas perceived to be hooked on this drug as well as other illegal substances(quote). His theoriesgained support during the late twentieth century as people did not have theresources or knowledge like they do today to make well informed opinions on thesubject. Theories are used to provide substance to the concepts of individualsor groups of people collectively, in a society where Heroin use was apparentand rapidly becoming of detriment to many people the Foucauldian modes ofthought would provide them answers.
Foucault ultimately provided them withtheories that were acceptable to them as they were in conjunction with theirempirical realities of society. TheFoucauldian concept of Bio-power have shifted from a repressive approachthrough the seventieth and eighteenth centuries to that of a constructiveapproach1through the nineteenth and twentieth century through to today. Biopower forFoucault stands out from other more conventional theories in which he makes consistentremarks that the threat of death from the State or Sovereign was paramount inkeeping the population orderly originally. In a time like our own where controlmust be advocated sanely and on a humanitarian basis, Biopower is used by an accentuationon the security, sanctity and preservation of life as opposed to the danger ofdeath and in turn led to the generation of different advancements of Power overthe population. Many populartheorists such as Hakosalo2agreed with Foucalts train of thought and they agreed that Biopower Biopower, described by Foucault as ‘control over life’,constitutes control over singular bodies and also in the population as a whole.Hakosalo3 characterizesBiopower as the use of systems of control and pressure for the efficiency andsoundness of people and populaces, in light of a perspective of them as assetsand reasonable articles.Politicalrationality around the preservation of life rather than the destruction of itstarted to become embedded in society during the late eighteenth centuryhowever, politically it was still a much-debated topic.
This era seen thepopulation grow rapidly (quote) and Foucault establishes this time as the firstin history that power focused on life rather than simply choosing death;political presence had started to filter into the population and becomeintertwined with all levels of society. Thisinterlace with society would see the paradigm shift in focus move frompopulation to the individual body. To critique this notion from a socialconstructionist perspective, as Foucault was, it can be argued that anindividual became the focus of disciplinary power in its entirety. Or, asFoucault so concisely described it as: ‘subjected, used, transformed and improved4’.
Biopower viewsknowledge as the ultimate key in the governance of a population and that theindividual body would be the best source of information to start from however,the individual body would be the strong hold that governing powersunderestimated. Biopower encompasses a host of different aspects butBiopolitics is one of the main areas used to delve into societies knowledge andbeing as it has practical aspects and interventions to be able to manage thepopulation from the ground up. Biopolitics employs processes that helpinterface with society and the economic pressures it faced at the time. Biopoliticsseen the widening of health services aimed at all classes of population toimprove their health – shrewdly, a healthy population could work moreefficientlySocial policyis a visible strategy to handle collective processes concerned with the lifeand health of the population. Other invisible power techniques, such as theexpansion of the health system domain into private life, coexisting together togather information and establishing what is considered normal and pathologicalin the eyes of the state. One of themain aspects, some would argue the most prevalent (quote), observation thatsocial constructionists point out is the Biopower is not visible to the averageperson in fact Biopower is a structured manipulation over aspects of lifearound individuals in order to create power from knowledge. Drawing on thisimportant point is the also this parallel: as knowledge creates power, in thisinstance scientific, it paves the way for medical professional to have freereign over the body.
Prescribing what they feel necessary, examining how theyfeel appropriate, essentially governing over the self. This is no exceptionwhen it comes to the physical treatment of Heroin users. To sum up this pointwould it be fair to only treat a physical side of any addiction let alone oneso destructive? By not creating a fair and just system to help users maintainand improve their lives all the state is really doing is producing ‘docile bodies5’which can be manipulated and controlled by them for the purposes of what wouldhave been described previously as total social control. It can be argued thatthe sovereign and state have not moved that far away from the fear of deathmodes that would like to portray and that by having this control they couldstill, without impunity, eradicate any threats to the existence of society.