SPREAD OF ILLICIT DRUG TRAFFICKING WORLDWIDE, HEROIN / MORPHINE 1995.
According to the World Drug Report
SOUTH AFRICAN MARKET
During the 80’s, Heroin was a relatively unknown drug in South Africa, but since then has
secured a tight hold on the drug market. Heroin was first introduced in South Africa in the
form of a brown substance that was usually inhaled by the “Chasing the Dragon” process.
As mentioned previously, today Heroin is mainly injected and snorted. Heroin was also
relatively expensive (±R250 – R300 per gram), but currently addicts can obtain Heroin for as
little as R30. The low price of the drug and the strong physical effects that Heroin has make
it very attractive for the youth and therefore it is common to find school children from the ages
12 – 14 that are addicted to this drug.
When asked how he obtained clients, a drug dealer from Johannesburg replied that he would
visit a place where young people are having a party and distribute Heroin for free. The very next
day all these people would willingly become his clients. Heroin can be classified as the most
dangerous drug amongst the youth of South Africa, not because the number that use Heroin,
but because of the physical addiction that it causes.
EFFECTS OF HEROIN
Heroin is a depressant. As soon as a person uses Heroin he / she will find that he / she
reaches a very high level of relaxation and it seems as if the person has gone into a very deep
trance or coma. The long-term use of Heroin can lead to very serious decay of the body like
serious heart valve regurgitation, brain damage as well as damage to the organs of the body,
such as the kidneys, liver and the lungs.
Because it is such a very strong depressant and muscle relaxant it has happened that during
overdosing the heart valves were affected and the heart just stops beating.
It was also found the in cases where Heroin addicts inject themselves in the normal places,
such as the arms, they could not inject in the same place for very long as the veins collapse
and become hard. When this happens, they start injecting themselves in unusual places,
– the feet (between the toes)
– behind the knees
– in the groin area
– the neck
It was also found that where heroin addicts inject themselves, they cannot inject in the same
place, such as the arms, for a prolonged period since the veins collapse and become hard.
Heroin is an unpredictable drug; therefore users overdose regularly. It is known that a certain
hospital in Pretoria treats between 10 – 25 cases of overdosing on Heroin weekly. Most of these
cases are teenagers under the age of 18.
The misuse of Heroin is holding the largest threat for teenagers in South Africa. It is slowly but
surely becoming the drug of choice amongst most teenagers, because it is cheap, physically
addictive and easily obtainable.
Street names for Herion include: H, Smack, Horse, Junk, Hairy / Harry, and Thai White
PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF HEROIN
– physical and psychological dependency
– serious physical deterioration
– weight loss / appetite loss
– unable to concentrate
– less physical activities
– lung problems
– continuous infections
– impotence / decrease in sex drive
PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF HEROIN
– Tinfoil that is burnt black
– Funnels, made out of tinfoil, that look like straws
– Injection needles burnt teaspoons
– Needle marks:
– On arms
– Between toes
– Behind knees
– In the groin area
OPIUM AND MORPHINE
“Opium” is the name of the coagulated juice of the opium poppy or otherwise known as the
plant of the species Papaver somniferum L. Papaver somniferum L. is an annual plant growing
in many countries around the world. It favours a moderate climate. It has white to red flowers
and round to elongated capsules with dark violet seeds. After the plant has flowered, small cuts
are made, and a white substance oozes out. As soon as the liquid becomes sticky and dark in
colour, the substance is known as raw opium. Products such as Morphine, Cocaine and derivates
such as Heroin are made from Opium. Heroin is 10 times stronger than Morphine and Morphine
is 10 times stronger than Opium. The Opium poppy was already known by 3000BC and was
known as the “Joy plant” (Hull Gil). Opium was imported from India to China and the tax attempts
lead to the Opium War in 1839 – 1856 in China. China then started farming and harvesting their
own poppies and they became one of the main suppliers of Opium.
A German pharmacist synthesized morphine from Opium in 1805 and Heroin was synthesized
from Morphine in Germany during 1874. Morphine became popular during the American Civil
War and a lot of soldiers were addicted to Morphine after the war.
Morphine and Heroin was originally introduced as a non-addictive substances, but Heroin was
already abused worldwide in the early 1900’s. The most Opium poppies can be found in the
“Golden Triangle” – Burma, Thailand and Laos (South Asia) and the “Golden Crescent” – Iran,
Afghanistan and Pakistan (South West Asia).
Countries such as Turkey, India, Colombia and Mexico are also producing Opium. Opium in the
abovementioned countries is known as Golden crop, Chinese Gold and Black Gold. The poppy
plant only grows in these specific areas because the soil contains a very specific alkaloid.
ILLICIT PRODUCTION OF MORPHINE AND HEROIN
– Poppy Straw
– Opium / Raw Opium
– Crude Morphine
– Heroin Hydrochloride