Heroin (Diacetylmorphine) is an illegal narcotic drug, manufactured from opium within the poppy plant as a semi-synthetic opioid. The opium poppy has been cultivated for its properties since at least 3400 BC (in Mesopotamia).
Heroin was briefly commercially marketed as a cough medicine for children, and as substitute for medicinal morphine, having been erroneously believed to be less addictive.
Apart from medicinal use under strict control, heroin is illegal nearly worldwide, with harsh penalties for its possession, manufacture and trafficking, including the death penalty in many countries.
Administration of heroin is typically conducted intravenously (sometimes mixed with cocaine, a combination known as a 'speedball'), insufflated, or smoked (referred to colloquially as 'chasing the dragon'). Large doses of heroin can be fatal, and the drug has often been used as a murder weapon.[Citation Needed]