Under their more commonly known brand names like Oxycontin and Vicodin, the misuse of prescription opiates, like oxycodone began to surge in the U.S. in the late 1990s.

Opiate overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related fatalities in the country, ahead of motor-vehicle collisions and firearms accidents. Yet, before trying to understand the prescription opiate crisis of the past few decades, which led to the current one with heroin, it is helpful to have some background on the historical use of opium, and the subsequent discovery of its more potent derivative, morphine, from which both oxycodone and heroin are derived.

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Posted by Anaïs Faure