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Charles Romley Alder Wright DSc (Lond), BSc (VicT), FRS, an Englishmarker chemistry and physics researcher at St. Mary's Hospitalmarker Medical School in Londonmarker, was the first person to synthesize heroin, in 1874.

Discovering Heroin

In quest of a non-addictive alternative to morphine, he had been experimenting with combining morphine with various acids. He boiled anhydrous morphine alkaloid with acetic anhydride over a stove for several hours and produced a more potent, acetylated form of morphine, now called diacetylmorphine, also known as heroin.

Marketing Diacetylmorphine

Heinrich Dreser, a chemist at Bayer Laboratories continued to test heroin and Bayer marketed it as an analgesic and "sedative for coughs" in 1898. When its addictive potential was recognized, Bayer ceased its production in 1913.

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