Heroin | South China Morning Post
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  • Apr 2, 2015
  • Updated: 10:14am


Heroin, also known as diamorphine, is an opiate drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. It can be injected, snorted/sniffed, or smoked, all of which rapidly deliver the drug to the brain. Once in the brain it is converted to morphine and binds to receptors known as opioid receptors - primarily those involved in the perception of pain and in reward - often resulting in addiction. 

Myanmar delays 'drugs-free' target by 5 years

Poppy plants from a destroyed field in Myanmar. Photo: Reuters

Myanmar has extended by five years its deadline to eliminate drug production within its borders, a senior official said yesterday, as the nation struggles to stem a growing narcotics crisis.

Tuesday, 7 May, 2013, 1:58am

Australian police smash Hong Kong-linked drug ring

Some of the A$4 million cash confiscated by the Australian Federal Police. Photo: AFP

Australian police said on Friday they had smashed a crime syndicate operating across Asia, leading to 27 arrests and the seizure of drugs and assets worth millions of dollars. Authorities said the organised gang – operating in China, including in Hong Kong and Macau, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar – allegedly targeted Australia for its heroin and methamphetamine trade.

23 Mar 2013 - 3:37am

Briefs, November 16, 2012

France raises prospect of arming Syrian rebels

16 Nov 2012 - 3:47am

Opium cultivation surges in Laos and Myanmar amid drug boom in Asia

Cultivation of opium is on the rise in Shan state, Myanmar. Photo: AP

Opium cultivation in Southeast Asia has doubled over the last six years as growing demand for heroin in China and the rest of Asia lures more farmers to grow poppies, the UN said yesterday.

1 Nov 2012 - 4:20am

Asian drug boom fuelling opium cultivation, says UN

A villager harvests opium in a field in Myanmar's Shan state. Photo: AP

Opium cultivation in Southeast Asia has doubled over the last six years as growing demand for heroin in China and the rest of Asia lures more farmers to grow poppies, the UN said on Wednesday.

Opiate users in East Asia and the Pacific now account for about a quarter of the world total, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report.

31 Oct 2012 - 3:18pm

France to test launch 'shooting galleries' for drug addicts

Shooting galleries would provide sterile needles and medical oversight for drug injectors. File photo: AFP

France’s Socialist government plans to test launch a series of “shooting galleries” by the end of the year where addicts can inject illegal drugs under medical supervision, the health minister said.

“I hope that these experiments will be announced before the end of the year,” Minister Marisol Touraine told BFMTV, adding that a number of municipalities had agreed to host such sites.

23 Oct 2012 - 2:10pm

Criminal probe launched into HKU student's death

Police launched a criminal investigation into the death of the University of Hong Kong student Joseph 'Joey' Basha after it emerged that his wallet and phone were still missing more than a week after his body was found, and amid family concerns over the initial explanation of how he died.

30 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Heroin seizures triple as gangs target HK gateway

Heroin seizures at the airport have surged threefold this year as traffickers try to use Hong Kong as a gateway to the mainland.

14 Oct 2011 - 12:00am

Detection rate hits low point

The overall crime-detection rate in the first half of this year fell to the lowest level in eight years, and police said this was due to a dip in crimes that usually had a high detection rate.

4 Aug 2011 - 12:00am

Addicted to heroin at 14, counsellor knows the pain

At 33, Dennis Cheng Ming-fai has already lived two lives.

Today, Cheng's life is quite ordinary - one of family and school and work. He is studying for a diploma and expects to graduate with his bachelor's degree in social work in less than three years.

But at 14, more than half a lifetime ago, Cheng was lost, running with a bunch of young triad members.

25 Jun 2011 - 12:00am

Travellers arrested at Macau airport on drug charges

Two women who flew in from Malaysia were arrested at Macau airport on suspicion of trafficking drugs they had swallowed. According to Macau media, the two women were sisters. They allegedly swallowed a total of 645 grams of heroin that had been encapsulated in 80 pills. The drugs had a market value of about HK$600,000. The pair arrived from Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

8 May 2011 - 12:00am

On the mark

The objectives of the drug-testing trial scheme in Tai Po schools were made abundantly clear at the outset. It was meant to strengthen the resolve of students to stay away from drugs. With the support of their parents, more than 12,400 students have joined the scheme voluntarily to make that pledge. Now they are in a better position to say 'no' to their peers when tempted to try drugs.

13 Jul 2010 - 12:00am

Woman stands trial over heroin-filled buttons

When Mary Litren Adhiambo Rado arrived from India via Singapore, purportedly on a business trip, clothes were not all that she had in her luggage, a court heard yesterday.

10 Jun 2010 - 12:00am

Customs keeping eye on backpack travellers after heroin seizures

Customs officers at Chek Lap Kok airport are looking for drug traffickers posing as backpackers to smuggle heroin into the mainland from Malaysia through Hong Kong, a senior customs official says.

This comes as latest figures show customs officers seized more than 15 kilograms of heroin in the first three months of this year.

2 Apr 2010 - 12:00am

In Brief

Forklift, driver fall down lift shaft

22 Mar 2010 - 12:00am