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Carnwath, Tom and Smith, Ian (2002) Heroin century. London: Routledge .


Heroin first saw the light of day a century and a quarter ago in a laboratory in Paddington Station, London. Since then it has spread across most parts of the world in fits and starts, temporarily held up here or blocked there, but pushing on with a persistence that has eventually overcome all obstacles. Despite the reach of heroin, the information on which public debate about heroin is based is quite often wrong.

Tom Carnwath and Ian Smith have written The Heroin Century to set the record straight. Their fascinating account of the development and use of this twentieth-century drug provides a wealth of factual information alongside some informed insights into the future for heroin in the twenty-first century. Topics include: methods of heroin production and distribution; types of heroin and methods of consumption; government attempts to control the spread of heroin; patterns of heroin use; heroin and its relationship to creativity; physiological and medicinal effects of heroin; the relationshipbetween heroin and crime; and treatments for heroin use. [publisher description]

Heroin is a drug that myths are made of. Whether smuggled in the stomach of a camel or used as the ultimate symbol of lifestyle chic, no drug has been more argued over and legislated against, no drug has been more subject to misinformation and moral panic. Heroin Century sets the record straight. It contains a wealth of historical and medical information about this drug which made its first appearance as a miracle medicine over a hundred years ago and makes recommendations for its future in the twenty-first century. Evidence shows that heroin is dangerous principally because it is illegal. The authors argue that a more relaxed relationship between society and the drug would benefit both the economy and public health and safely. Individual chapters describe the history of heroin production; the makeup of heroin and evolving methods of use; the spread of heroin and international efforts at control; typical "career" patterns of users, ranging from occasional recreational use to destructive dependence; the subjective experience of taking heroin; the association between heroin and crime; the use of heroin in medicine and its effects on physical health; the history of the treatment of heroin dependence; and likely changes in heroin use in the future. The authors have drawn on literary and artistic sources as well as the large pool of scientific literature to compile a comprehensive and fascinating account of this world-changing drug. Heroin Century makes available a wealth of information about the history, chemistry, pharmacology and medical aspects of heroin in a form accessible to anyone who wishes to participate in the contemporary debate bout society's attitude to drugs. Tom Carnwath is a Consultant Psychiatrist currently working with drug misuse services in Manchester. Ian Smith has trained in sociology and is currently Service Development Manager for drug services in Manchester.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Book
Drug Type
Call No
BL2, PN4
216 p.
Place of Publication
Contains bibliographic references and index.
Accession Number
HRB 2446 (Available)

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