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Polish heroin (also kompot and compote) is a crude preparation of heroin made from poppy straw. Like heroin from opium, it is an addictive opiate drug. Poppy straw and opium both are harvested from the opium poppy. Polish heroin was used mainly in Central and Eastern Europe prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of communist control of the countries of the Warsaw Pact or Eastern Bloc.

The use of the term kompot or compote refers euphemistically to compote, a traditional dessert popular in Central and Eastern European countries made of stewed fruit, spices, and sugar. While related to opium, Polish heroin more nearly resembles poppy tea in its impurity, but can be very potent. This drug was also considered by Eastern Bloc addicts to be one of last resort when heroin, morphine, or other similar drugs were unavailable, which they often were during the 1950s through the end of the Soviet era. Illicit drug trafficking within the communist-governed nations of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia itself, and others was on a much smaller scale and the supply far more erratic and unreliable compared to that of Western nations. Opium poppies, by contrast, were widely available and relatively cheap.

The drug was known as early as the 1940s. The drug in its finished state is a bitter brown fluid looking like tea or cola in color. The so-called "Kompot" method of making a crude opiate "cocktail" intended for injection involves stewing the pods of the opium poppy in nearly boiling water and an acid, however in 1976 two Polish students from Gdańsk discovered a simple way of making it by extracting opiate alkaloids from poppy straw by using ion exchange resin, acetone, ammonia water and few other chemicals. It is used in the last step of production. In this method, opium poppy pods and stems are boiled in water for a few hours without adding acid and then filtered. Strongly acidic ion exchange resin is then added. The resin is filtered and the opiates are recovered with the addition of ammonia water. The resulting liquid is evaporated using chemical condenser, then when dry (it is called "glazura" - glaze) it is acetylated using acetic anhydride in an anhydrous environment of some non polar solvent, for example toluene, diethyl ether, chloroform or most commonly acetone. Then after acetylation, the solvent is evaporated to remove the acetic anhydride, and finally water is added. The amount of water is added depends on the amount of plant material used in the beginning of process, most often 30mL per kilogram of dry plant material.

"Polish heroin" contains heroin, morphine, codeine (in small amounts), and some amount of monoacetylmorphine, a precursor and analog of heroin. The amount of opiates can be high provided the product is not overly diluted during production, but amount of heroin depends on the skills of people making it and the time and conditions of acetylation.

Polish heroin is primarily intended for intravenous injection. "Kompot" brewing produces a product containing residual plant matter, waste chemicals, impure water, and other contaminants making this a potentially dangerous substance to inject.

Polish heroin has been in declining use since the break-up of the Soviet Union and its Central and Eastern European satellite states (Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, et al.) as after 1991 the availability of heroin and other drugs smuggled into those countries from abroad increased enormously. Since then, "kompot"/"Polish heroin" has all but disappeared, except in a few rural areas where cheaper, purer, more potent drugs have not overwhelmed the illicit marketplace.

See also

References

[1] Polish drug policies: between "hard" and "soft" prohibition, K. Krajewski, Journal of Drug Issues, Summer 2004.

[2] Kompot - Polish Heroin








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