Heroin has had its uses in the past ... some less well known than others, as Dr Brian Gaynor relates.
Before it became a dirty six-letter word, heroin was a wonderful drug. The linctus could stop any cough, and pinpoint-pupilled patients regularly queued up for more. It had use, but probably little value, as a liniment; however, as a painkiller it had no equal, albeit a few problems. For postoperative pain I was given heroin by injection and, but for a passing nurse who noted that I was not only not breathing but also deeply cyanosed, I would not be writing this article today.
As a fluffy cheeked first-year resident in a northern city, I believed I knew everything. Alas, I didn’t.