Heroin, or diacetylmorphine, is made from opium poppies by first extracting morphine and then adding two molecules (acetyl) to each morphine molecule. Heroin was used medically in Australia for pain relief and other ailments but after the government banned its production and importation in 1953, heroin stocks in the states and territories were used up and could not be replenished.
After diacetylmorphine attaches to opioid receptors in the brain, the central nervous system (brain) is depressed resulting in slower breathing, less pain and slower activity in the gastro-intestinal system (constipation). Users feel euphoria and reduced anxiety.
Authors: The Conversation Contributor