1898- Bayer patents Heroin

Diacetylmorphine patented by Bayer as “Heroin.” Marketed as non-addicting treatment for morphine addiction


Heroin is first produced commercially by the Bayer Company. At the time, heroin is believed to be less habit forming than morphine, so it is dispensed to individuals who are addicted to morphine.

1861 to 1865

During the Civil War, medics use morphine as a battlefield anesthetic. Many soldiers become dependent on morphine after the war.

Mid-1800s: The Opium Wars


Brittain went to war twice to keep the Chinese market open to drug imports. Became known as the Opium Wars.