Beth Macy

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Heinrich Dreser Character Analysis

In the 1890s, Heinrich Dreser was a chemist at the pharmaceutical company Bayer who was responsible for creating heroin. He hoped it would be a safe replacement for addictive opioids like opium and morphine, but in fact, it caused a new wave of addiction after doctors over-prescribed it. Dreser’s story is a cautionary tale that parallels and foreshadows the more recent opioid epidemic.

Heinrich Dreser Quotes in Dopesick

The Dopesick quotes below are all either spoken by Heinrich Dreser or refer to Heinrich Dreser. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Chapter 1 Quotes

By the 1870s, injecting morphine was so popular among the upper classes in Europe and the United States that doctors used it for a variety of ailments, from menstrual pain to inflammation of the eyes. The almost total lack of regulatory oversight created a kind of Wild West for patent medicines, with morphine and opium pills available at the nearest drugstore counter, no prescription necessary. As long as a doctor initially OK’d the practice, even injected morphine was utterly accepted. Daily users were not socially stigmatized, because reliance on the drug was iatrogenic.

Related Characters: Heinrich Dreser
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
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Heinrich Dreser Character Timeline in Dopesick

The timeline below shows where the character Heinrich Dreser appears in Dopesick. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Cycles of History Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
While working at Bayer in the 1890s, the chemist Heinrich Dreser created a new drug called heroin, which he hoped would replace codeine (which is derived... (full context)