Opium

Opium

Overview
Opium is the dried latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 obtained from the opium poppy
Opium poppy
Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are extracted. Opium is the source of many opiates, including morphine , thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine...

 (Papaver somniferum). Opium contains up to 12% morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

, an alkaloid
Alkaloid
Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

. The latex also includes codeine
Codeine
Codeine or 3-methylmorphine is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal properties...

 and non-narcotic alkaloid
Alkaloid
Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

s such as papaverine
Papaverine
Papaverine is an opium alkaloid antispasmodic drug, used primarily in the treatment of visceral spasm, vasospasm , and occasionally in the treatment of erectile dysfunction...

, thebaine
Thebaine
Thebaine , its name coming from the Greek Θῆβαι, Thēbai, an ancient city in Upper Egypt, is an opiate alkaloid. A minor constituent of opium, thebaine is chemically similar to both morphine and codeine, but has stimulatory rather than depressant effects, causing convulsions similar to strychnine...

 and noscapine
Noscapine
Noscapine is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid from plants of the Papaveraceae family, without significant painkilling properties. This agent is primarily used for its antitussive effects. It has also been shown to have anticancer activity...

. The traditional method of obtaining the latex is to scratch ("score") the immature seed pods (fruits) by hand; the latex leaks out and dries to a sticky yellowish residue that is later scraped off the fruit.
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Encyclopedia
Opium is the dried latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 obtained from the opium poppy
Opium poppy
Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are extracted. Opium is the source of many opiates, including morphine , thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine...

 (Papaver somniferum). Opium contains up to 12% morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

, an alkaloid
Alkaloid
Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

. The latex also includes codeine
Codeine
Codeine or 3-methylmorphine is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal properties...

 and non-narcotic alkaloid
Alkaloid
Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

s such as papaverine
Papaverine
Papaverine is an opium alkaloid antispasmodic drug, used primarily in the treatment of visceral spasm, vasospasm , and occasionally in the treatment of erectile dysfunction...

, thebaine
Thebaine
Thebaine , its name coming from the Greek Θῆβαι, Thēbai, an ancient city in Upper Egypt, is an opiate alkaloid. A minor constituent of opium, thebaine is chemically similar to both morphine and codeine, but has stimulatory rather than depressant effects, causing convulsions similar to strychnine...

 and noscapine
Noscapine
Noscapine is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid from plants of the Papaveraceae family, without significant painkilling properties. This agent is primarily used for its antitussive effects. It has also been shown to have anticancer activity...

. The traditional method of obtaining the latex is to scratch ("score") the immature seed pods (fruits) by hand; the latex leaks out and dries to a sticky yellowish residue that is later scraped off the fruit. The modern method is to harvest and process mature plants by machine. "Meconium" historically referred to related, weaker preparations made from other parts of the poppy or different species of poppies.

The production of opium itself has not changed since ancient times. Through selective breeding of the Papaver somniferum plant, the content of the phenanthrene
Phenanthrene
Phenanthrene is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon composed of three fused benzene rings. The name phenanthrene is a composite of phenyl and anthracene. In its pure form, it is found in cigarette smoke and is a known irritant, photosensitizing skin to light...

 alkaloids morphine, codeine, and to a lesser extent thebaine, has been greatly increased. In modern times, much of the thebaine, which often serves as the raw material for the synthesis for hydrocodone
Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone or dihydrocodeinone is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from either of two naturally occurring opiates: codeine and thebaine. It is an orally active narcotic analgesic and antitussive...

, hydromorphone
Hydromorphone
Hydromorphone, a more common synonym for dihydromorphinone, commonly a hydrochloride is a very potent centrally-acting analgesic drug of the opioid class. It is a derivative of morphine, to be specific, a hydrogenated ketone thereof and, therefore, a semi-synthetic drug...

, and other semi-synthetic opiates, originates from extracting Papaver orientale or Papaver bracteatum
Papaver bracteatum
Papaver bracteatum, also known as the Iranian poppy, is a sturdy perennial poppy with large deep red flowers up to 8 inches across on stiff stalks up to 4 feet high with a prominent black spot near the base of the petals...

.

Opium for illegal use is often converted into heroin, which is less bulky, making it easier to smuggle
Smuggling
Smuggling is the clandestine transportation of goods or persons, such as out of a building, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations.There are various motivations to smuggle...

, and which multiplies its potency to approximately twice that of morphine. Heroin can be taken by intravenous injection, intranasally
Insufflation (medicine)
Insufflation is the practice of inhaling a substance. Insufflation has limited medical use, but is a common route of administration with many respiratory drugs used to treat conditions in the lungs and paranasal sinus .The technique is common for many recreational drugs and is also used for some...

, or smoked (vaporized) and inhaled.

History


Cultivation of opium poppies for food, anaesthesia, and ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 purposes dates back to at least the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 Age (new stone age). The Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

ian, Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n, Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, Indian, Minoan
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

, Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, Persian and Arab Empire
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

s all made widespread use of opium, which was the most potent form of pain relief then available, allowing ancient surgeons to perform prolonged surgical procedures. Opium is mentioned in the most important medical
History of medicine
All human societies have medical beliefs that provide explanations for birth, death, and disease. Throughout history, illness has been attributed to witchcraft, demons, astral influence, or the will of the gods...

 texts of the ancient world, including the Ebers Papyrus
Ebers papyrus
The Ebers Papyrus, also known as Papyrus Ebers, is an Egyptian medical papyrus dating to circa 1550 BC. Among the oldest and most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, it was purchased at Luxor, in the winter of 1873–74 by Georg Ebers...

 and the writings of Dioscorides, Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

, and Avicenna
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

. Widespread medical use of unprocessed opium continued through the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 before giving way to morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 and its successors, which could be injected at a precisely controlled dosage.

In China recreational use of the drug began in the fifteenth century but was limited by its rarity and expense. Opium trade became more regular by the seventeenth century, when it was mixed with tobacco for smoking, and addiction was first recognized. Opium prohibition in China began in 1729 yet was followed by nearly two centuries of increasing opium use. China had a positive balance sheet in trading with the British, which led to a decrease of the British silver stocks. Therefore, the British tried to encourage Chinese opium use to enhance their balance, and they delivered it from Indian provinces under British control. In India, its cultivation, as well as the manufacture and traffic to China, were subject to the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, as a strict monopoly of the British government. For supervising and managing the business, there was an extensive and complicated system of government agencies. A massive confiscation of opium by the Chinese emperor, who tried to stop the opium deliveries, led to two Opium Wars in 1839
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 and 1858
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

, in which Britain suppressed China and traded opium all over the country. After 1860, opium use continued to increase with widespread domestic production in China, until more than a quarter of the male population were regular consumers by 1905. Recreational or addictive opium use in other nations remained rare into the late nineteenth century, recorded by an ambivalent literature that sometimes praised the drug.

Global regulation of opium began with the stigmatization of Chinese immigrants and opium dens in San Francisco, California, leading rapidly from town ordinances in the 1870s to the formation of the International Opium Commission
International Opium Commission
The International Opium Commission was a meeting convened in 1909 in Shanghai that represented one of the first steps toward international drug prohibition. Dr. Hamilton Wright and Episcopal Bishop Charles Henry Brent headed the U.S. delegation...

 in 1909. During this period, the portrayal of opium in literature became squalid and violent, British opium trade was largely supplanted by domestic Chinese production, purified morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 and heroin became widely available for injection, and patent medicines containing opiate
Opiate
In medicine, the term opiate describes any of the narcotic opioid alkaloids found as natural products in the opium poppy plant.-Overview:Opiates are so named because they are constituents or derivatives of constituents found in opium, which is processed from the latex sap of the opium poppy,...

s reached a peak of popularity. Opium was prohibited in many countries during the early twentieth century, leading to the modern pattern of opium production as a precursor for illegal recreational drugs or tightly regulated legal prescription drugs. Illicit opium production, now dominated by Afghanistan
Economy of Afghanistan
The economy of Afghanistan has improved significantly since 2002 due to the infusion of multi-billion dollars in international assistance and investments, as well as remittances from Afghan expats. It is also due to dramatic improvements in agricultural production and the end of a four-year drought...

, was decimated in 2000 when production was banned by the Taliban, but has increased steadily since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and over the course of the War in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. Worldwide production in 2006 was 6610 metric tonnes—nearly one-fifth the level of production in 1906.

Ancient use


Opium has been actively collected since prehistoric times, and may be the soma
Soma
Soma , or Haoma , from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities...

 plant ubiquitously mentioned in the Rig Veda. Though western scholars typically date the text at 1500 BCE, Indian scholars maintain that the verses and the history contained in them have been orally transmitted thousands of years before. "Soma" is Vedic
Vedic
Vedic may refer to:* the Vedas, the oldest preserved Indic texts** Vedic Sanskrit, the language of these texts** Vedic period, during which these texts were produced** Vedic pantheon of gods mentioned in Vedas/vedic period...

 Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 for moon, describing both the shape of the bulb and its nocturnal juice emission, which in ancient times would have been visible by moonlight only. A common name for males in Afghanistan is "Redey", which in Pashto means "poppy". This term may be derived from the Sanskrit words "rddhi" and "hrdya", which mean "magical", "a type of medicinal plant", and "heart-pleasing". The upper South Asian belt of Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, and Burma still account for the world's largest supply of opium.

At least seventeen finds of Papaver somniferum from Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 settlements have been reported throughout Switzerland, Germany, and Spain, including the placement of large numbers of poppy seed capsules at a burial site (the Cueva de los Murciélagos, or "Bat cave," in Spain), which have been carbon-14 dated to 4200 BCE Numerous finds of Papaver somniferum or Papaver setigerum from Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 and Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 settlements have also been reported.
The first known cultivation of opium poppies was in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, approximately 3400 BCE, by Sumerians who called the plant Hul Gil, the "joy plant." Tablets found at Nippur
Nippur
Nippur was one of the most ancient of all the Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind," ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone...

, a Sumerian spiritual center south of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, described the collection of poppy juice in the morning and its use in production of opium. Cultivation continued in the Middle East by the Assyrians, who also collected poppy juice in the morning after scoring the pods with an iron scoop; they called the juice aratpa-pal, possibly the root of Papaver. Opium production continued under the Babylonians and Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

.

Opium was used with poison hemlock to put people quickly and painlessly to death, but it was also used in medicine. The Ebers Papyrus
Ebers papyrus
The Ebers Papyrus, also known as Papyrus Ebers, is an Egyptian medical papyrus dating to circa 1550 BC. Among the oldest and most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, it was purchased at Luxor, in the winter of 1873–74 by Georg Ebers...

, ca. 1500 BCE, describes a way to "stop a crying child" using grains of the poppy-plant strained to a pulp. Spongia somnifera, sponges soaked in opium, were used during surgery. The Egyptians cultivated opium thebaicum in famous poppy fields around 1300 BCE. Opium was traded from Egypt by the Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns and Minoan
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

s to destinations around the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, including Greece, Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, and Europe. By 1100 BCE, opium was cultivated on Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, where surgical-quality knives were used to score the poppy pods, and opium was cultivated, traded, and smoked. Opium was also mentioned after the Persian conquest of Assyria and Babylonian lands in the sixth century BCE

From the earliest finds, opium has appeared to have ritual significance, and anthropologists have speculated that ancient priests may have used the drug as a proof of healing power. In Egypt, the use of opium was generally restricted to priests, magicians, and warriors, its invention credited to Thoth, and it was said to have been given by Isis to Ra as treatment for a headache. A figure of the Minoan "goddess of the narcotics," wearing a crown of three opium poppies, ca. 1300 BCE, was recovered from the Sanctuary of Gazi, Crete, together with a simple smoking apparatus. The Greek gods Hypnos
Hypnos
In Greek mythology, Hypnos was the personification of sleep; the Roman equivalent was known as Somnus. His twin was Thánatos ; their mother was the primordial goddess Nyx . His palace was a dark cave where the sun never shines. At the entrance were a number of poppies and other hypnogogic plants...

 (Sleep), Nyx
Nyx
In Greek mythology, Nyx was the primordial goddess of the night. A shadowy figure, Nyx stood at or near the beginning of creation, and was the mother of personified gods such as Hypnos and Thánatos...

 (Night), and Thanatos
Thanatos
In Greek mythology, Thanatos was the daemon personification of death. He was a minor figure in Greek mythology, often referred to but rarely appearing in person...

 (Death) were depicted wreathed in poppies or holding poppies. Poppies also frequently adorned statues of Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, Asklepios, Pluto
Pluto (mythology)
In ancient Greek religion and myth, Pluto was a name for the ruler of the underworld; the god was also known as Hades, a name for the underworld itself...

, Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

, Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

, Kybele and Isis
Isis
Isis or in original more likely Aset is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the matron of nature and magic...

, symbolizing nocturnal oblivion.

Islamic societies (500–1500 CE)



As the power of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 declined, the lands to the south, and east of the Mediterranean sea became incorporated into the Islamic Empires, which assembled the finest libraries and the most skilled physicians of the era. Some Muslims believe that hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

s such as in Sahih Bukhari
Sahih Bukhari
Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī , as it is commonly referred to, is one of the six canonical hadith collections of Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Muslims view this as one of...

prohibits every intoxicating substance, though the use of intoxicants in medicine has been widely permitted by scholars. Dioscorides'
Pedanius Dioscorides
Pedanius Dioscorides was a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist, the author of a 5-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances , that was widely read for more than 1,500 years.-Life:...

 five-volume De Materia Medica
Materia medica
Materia medica is a Latin medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing . The term 'materia medica' derived from the title of a work by the Ancient Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides in the 1st century AD, De materia medica libre...

, the precursor of pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia, pharmacopeia, or pharmacopoea, , in its modern technical sense, is a book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society.In a broader sense it is...

s, remained in use (with some improvements in Arabic versions) from the 1st to 16th centuries and described opium and the wide range of uses prevalent in the ancient world.

Somewhere between 400 and 1200 CE, Arab traders introduced opium to China. The Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi ("Rhazes", 845–930 CE) maintained a laboratory and school in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, and was a student and critic of Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

, made use of opium in anesthesia and recommended its use for the treatment of melancholy in Fi ma-yahdara al-tabib "In the Absence of a Physician", a home medical manual directed toward ordinary citizens for self-treatment if a doctor was not available.

The renowned Andalusian
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 ophthalmologic
Ophthalmology
Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. An ophthalmologist is a specialist in medical and surgical eye problems...

 surgeon Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi ("Abulcasis", 936–1013 CE) relied on opium and mandrake
Mandrake (plant)
Mandrake is the common name for members of the plant genus Mandragora, particularly the species Mandragora officinarum, belonging to the nightshades family...

 as surgical anaesthetics and wrote a treatise, al-Tasrif
Al-Tasrif
The Kitab al-Tasrif was an Arabic encyclopedia on medicine and surgery, written near the year 1000 by Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi...

, that influenced medical thought well into the sixteenth century.

The Persian physician Abū ‘Alī al-Husayn ibn Sina
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

 ("Avicenna") described opium as the most powerful of the stupefacients, by comparison with mandrake and other highly effective herbs, in The Canon of Medicine
The Canon of Medicine
The Canon of Medicine is an encyclopedia of Galenic medicine in five books compiled by Ibn Sīnā and completed in 1025. It presents a clear and organized summary of all the medical knowledge of the time...

. This classic text was translated into Latin in 1175 and later into many other languages and remained authoritative into the seventeenth century. Şerafeddin Sabuncuoğlu
Serafeddin Sabuncuoglu
Sabuncuoğlu Şerafeddin was a medieval Ottoman surgeon and physician.Sabuncuoğlu was the author of the Cerrahiyyetu'l-Haniyye , the first illustrated surgical atlas, and the Mücerrebname .The Cerrahiyyetu'l-Haniyye was the first surgical atlas and the last...

 used opium in the fourteenth century Ottoman Empire to treat migraine
Migraine
Migraine is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by moderate to severe headaches, and nausea...

 headaches, sciatica
Sciatica
Sciatica is a set of symptoms including pain that may be caused by general compression or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve, or by compression or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves. The pain is felt in the lower back, buttock, or...

, and other painful ailments.

Reintroduction to Western medicine



Manuscripts of Pseudo-Apuleius
Pseudo-Apuleius
Pseudo-Apuleius refers to the author of a Herbarium or De herbarum virtutibus, also referred as Herbarium Apuleii Platonici; it is a medical herbal of the 5th century....

's fifth-century work from the tenth and eleventh centuries refer to the use of wild poppy Papaver agreste or Papaver rhoeas (identified as Papaver silvaticum) instead of Papaver somniferum for inducing sleep and relieving pain.

The use of Paracelsus
Paracelsus
Paracelsus was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist....

' laudanum
Laudanum
Laudanum , also known as Tincture of Opium, is an alcoholic herbal preparation containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight ....

 was introduced to Western medicine in 1527, when Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known by the name Paracelsus, returned from his wanderings in Arabia with a famous sword, within the pommel of which he kept "Stones of Immortality" compounded from opium thebaicum, citrus juice, and "quintessence of gold." The name "Paracelsus" was a pseudonym signifying him the equal or better of Aulus Cornelius Celsus
Aulus Cornelius Celsus
Aulus Cornelius Celsus was a Roman encyclopedist, known for his extant medical work, De Medicina, which is believed to be the only surviving section of a much larger encyclopedia. The De Medicina is a primary source on diet, pharmacy, surgery and related fields, and it is one of the best sources...

, whose text, which described the use of opium or a similar preparation, had recently been translated and reintroduced to medieval Europe. The Canon of Medicine
The Canon of Medicine
The Canon of Medicine is an encyclopedia of Galenic medicine in five books compiled by Ibn Sīnā and completed in 1025. It presents a clear and organized summary of all the medical knowledge of the time...

, the standard medical textbook that Paracelsus burned in a public bonfire three weeks after being appointed professor at the University of Basel
University of Basel
The University of Basel is located in Basel, Switzerland, and is considered to be one of leading universities in the country...

, also described the use of opium, though many Latin translations were of poor quality. Laudanum was originally the sixteenth-century term for a medicine associated with a particular physician that was widely well-regarded, but became standardized as "tincture
Tincture
A tincture is an alcoholic extract or solution of a non-volatile substance . To qualify as a tincture, the alcoholic extract is to have an ethanol percentage of at least 40-60%...

 of opium," a solution of opium in ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

, which Paracelsus has been credited with developing. During his lifetime, Paracelsus was viewed as an adventurer who challenged the theories and mercenary motives of contemporary medicine with dangerous chemical therapies, but his therapies marked a turning point in Western medicine. In the seventeenth century laudanum was recommended for pain, sleeplessness, and diarrhea by Thomas Sydenham
Thomas Sydenham
Thomas Sydenham was an English physician. He was born at Wynford Eagle in Dorset, where his father was a gentleman of property. His brother was Colonel William Sydenham. Thomas fought for the Parliament throughout the English Civil War, and, at its end, resumed his medical studies at Oxford...

, the renowned "father of English medicine" or "English Hippocrates," to whom is attributed the quote, "Among the remedies which it has pleased Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacious as opium." Use of opium as a cure-all was reflected in the formulation of mithridatium described in the 1728 Chambers Cyclopedia
Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences
Cyclopaedia: or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences was an encyclopedia published by Ephraim Chambers in London in 1728, and reprinted in numerous editions in the eighteenth century...

, which included true opium in the mixture. Subsequently, laudanum became the basis of many popular patent medicine
Patent medicine
Patent medicine refers to medical compounds of questionable effectiveness sold under a variety of names and labels. The term "patent medicine" is somewhat of a misnomer because, in most cases, although many of the products were trademarked, they were never patented...

s of the nineteenth century.

The standard medical use of opium persisted well into the nineteenth century. U.S. president William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

 was treated with opium in 1841, and in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, the Union Army used 2.8 million ounce
Ounce
The ounce is a unit of mass with several definitions, the most commonly used of which are equal to approximately 28 grams. The ounce is used in a number of different systems, including various systems of mass that form part of the imperial and United States customary systems...

s of opium tincture and powder and about 500,000 opium pills. During this time of popularity, users called opium "God's Own Medicine."

Recreational use outside China (15th to 19th century)


Opium is said to have been used for recreational purposes from the 14th century onwards in Muslim societies. Testimonies of historians, diplomats, religious scholars, intellectuals and travellers, Ottoman and European, confirm that, from the 16th to the 19th century, Anatolian opium was eaten in Constantinople as much as it was exported to Europe. In 1573, for instance, a Venetian visitor to the Ottoman Empire observed that many of the Turkish natives of Constantinople regularly drink a "certain black water made with opium" that makes them feel good, but to which they become so addicted that if they try to go without they will "quickly die." From eating it, dervishes were said to draw ecstasy, soldiers courage, and others bliss and voluptuousness. It is not only to the pleasures of coffee and tulips that the Ottomans initiated Europe. It was also Turkey which, long before China, supplied the West with opium. In his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater is an autobiographical account written by Thomas De Quincey, about his laudanum addiction and its effect on his life...

(1821, p. 188), it is still about Ottoman, not Chinese, addicts that Thomas de Quincey
Thomas de Quincey
Thomas Penson de Quincey was an English esssayist, best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater .-Child and student:...

 writes: "I question whether any Turk, of all that ever entered the paradise of opium-eaters, can have had half the pleasure I had."

Extensive textual and pictorial sources also show that poppy cultivation and opium consumption were widespread in Safavid Iran and Moghol India.

The most important reason for the increase in opiate consumption in the United States during the 19th century was the prescribing and dispensing of legal opiates by physicians and pharmacists to women with ”female problems” (mostly to relieve menstrual pain). Between 150,000 and 200,000 opiate addicts lived in the United States in the late 19th century and between two-thirds and three-quarters of these addicts were women.

Recreational use in China



The earliest clear description of the use of opium as a recreational drug in China came from Xu Boling, who wrote in 1483 that opium was "mainly used to aid masculinity, strengthen sperm and regain vigor," and that it "enhances the art of alchemists, sex and court
ladies." He described an expedition sent by the Chenghua Emperor
Chenghua Emperor
The Chenghua Emperor was Emperor of the Ming dynasty in China, between 1464 and 1487. His era name means "Accomplished change".-Childhood:Born Zhu Jianshen, he was the Zhengtong Emperor's son. He was only 2 years old when his father, the Zhengtong emperor, was captured by the Oirat Mongols and...

 in 1483 to procure opium for a price "equal to that of gold" in Hainan
Hainan
Hainan is the smallest province of the People's Republic of China . Although the province comprises some two hundred islands scattered among three archipelagos off the southern coast, of its land mass is Hainan Island , from which the province takes its name...

, Fujian, Zhejiang
Zhejiang
Zhejiang is an eastern coastal province of the People's Republic of China. The word Zhejiang was the old name of the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhou, the provincial capital...

, Sichuan and Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

 where it is close to Xiyu. A century later, Li Shizhen
Li Shizhen
Li Shizhen , courtesy name Dongbi , was one of the greatest Chinese herbologists and acupuncturists in Chinese history. His major contribution to medicine was his 27-year work, which is found in his epic book the Bencao Gangmu...

 listed standard medical uses of opium in his renowned Compendium of Materia Medica
Compendium of Materia Medica
Bencao Gangmu , also known as Compendium of Materia Medica, is a Chinese materia medica work written by Li Shizhen in the Ming Dynasty. It is a work epitomizing materia medica in the Ming Dynasty. The Bencao Gangmu is regarded as the most complete and comprehensive medical book ever written in the...

(1578), but also wrote that "lay people use it for the art of sex," in particular the ability to "arrest seminal emission." This association of opium with sex continued in China until the twentieth century. Opium smoking began as a privilege of the elite and remained a great luxury into the early nineteenth century, but by 1861, Wang Tao wrote that opium was used even by rich peasants, and even a small village without a rice store would have a shop where opium was sold.

Smoking of opium came on the heels of tobacco smoking and may have been encouraged by a brief ban on the smoking of tobacco by the Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 emperor, ending in 1644 with the Qing dynasty, which had encouraged smokers to mix in increasing amounts of opium. In 1705, Wang Shizhen
Wang Shizhen
Wang Shizhen was a Chinese general and politician of the Republic of China.-Biography:Wang was born in Zhengding, Hebei in 1861. He was the Minister of War in the Republic of China three times, 1915–1916 and twice in 1917. He was the Premier of China from 1917 to 1918....

 wrote that "nowadays, from nobility and gentlemen down to slaves and women, all are addicted to tobacco." Tobacco in that time was frequently mixed with other herbs (this continues with clove cigarettes to the modern day), and opium was one component in the mixture. Tobacco mixed with opium was called madak
Madak
Madak was a blend of opium and tobacco used as a recreational drug in 17th and 18th century China. It emerged in southern coastal areas in the first half of the 17th century. In the last quarter of the 18th century madak was phased out by raw opium...

 (or madat) and became popular throughout China and its seafaring trade partners (such as Taiwan, Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 and the Philippines) in the seventeenth century. In 1712, Engelbert Kaempfer
Engelbert Kaempfer
Engelbert Kaempfer , a German naturalist and physician is known for his tour of Russia, Persia, India, South-East Asia, and Japan between 1683 and 1693. He wrote two books about his travels...

 described addiction
Substance use disorder
Substance use disorders include substance abuse and substance dependence. In DSM-IV, the conditions are formally diagnosed as one or the other, but it has been proposed that DSM-5 combine the two into a single condition called "Substance-use disorder"....

 to madak: "No commodity throughout the Indies
East Indies
East Indies is a term used by Europeans from the 16th century onwards to identify what is now known as Indian subcontinent or South Asia, Southeastern Asia, and the islands of Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago and the Philippines...

 is retailed with greater profit by the Batavians
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

 than opium, which [its] users cannot do without, nor can they come by it except it be brought by the ships of the Batavians from Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 and Coromandel
Coromandel Coast
The Coromandel Coast is the name given to the southeastern coast of the Indian Subcontinent between Cape Comorin and False Divi Point...

."

Fueled in part by the 1729 ban on madak, which at first effectively exempted pure opium as a potentially medicinal product, the smoking of pure opium became more popular in the eighteenth century. In 1736, the smoking of pure opium was described by Huang Shujing
Huang Shujing
Huáng Shújǐng was the first Imperial High Commissioner to Taiwan . A Beijinger, he was sent by the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Empire, during whose reign Taiwan was annexed in 1684....

, involving a pipe made from bamboo rimmed with silver, stuffed with palm slices and hair, fed by a clay bowl in which a globule of molten opium was held over the flame of an oil lamp. This elaborate procedure, requiring the maintenance of pots of opium at just the right temperature for a globule to be scooped up with a needle-like skewer for smoking, formed the basis of a craft of "paste-scooping" by which servant girls could become prostitutes as the opportunity arose.

Chinese diaspora


Beginning in 19th-century China, famine and political upheaval, as well as rumors of wealth to be had in nearby Southeast Asia, led to the Chinese Diaspora. Chinese emigrants to cities such as San Francisco, London, and New York brought with them the Chinese manner of opium smoking and the social traditions of the opium den
Opium den
An opium den was an establishment where opium was sold and smoked. Opium dens were prevalent in many parts of the world in the 19th century, most notably China, Southeast Asia, North America and France...

. The Indian Diaspora distributed opium-eaters in the same way, and both social groups survived as "lascars" (seamen) and "coolie
Coolie
Historically, a coolie was a manual labourer or slave from Asia, particularly China, India, and the Phillipines during the 19th century and early 20th century...

s" (manual laborers). French sailors provided another major group of opium smokers, having contracted the habit in French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

, where the drug was promoted by the colonial government as a monopoly and source of revenue. Among white Europeans, opium was more frequently consumed as laudanum
Laudanum
Laudanum , also known as Tincture of Opium, is an alcoholic herbal preparation containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight ....

 or in patent medicine
Patent medicine
Patent medicine refers to medical compounds of questionable effectiveness sold under a variety of names and labels. The term "patent medicine" is somewhat of a misnomer because, in most cases, although many of the products were trademarked, they were never patented...

s. Britain's All-India Opium Act of 1878 formalized social distinctions, limiting recreational opium sales to registered Indian opium-eaters and Chinese opium-smokers and prohibiting its sale to workers from Burma. Likewise, American law sought to contain addiction to immigrants by prohibiting Chinese from smoking opium in the presence of a white man.

Because of the low social status of immigrant workers, contemporary writers and media had little trouble portraying opium dens as seats of vice, white slavery, gambling, knife and revolver fights, a source for drugs causing deadly overdoses, with the potential to addict and corrupt the white population. By 1919, anti-Chinese riots attacked Limehouse
Limehouse
Limehouse is a place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is on the northern bank of the River Thames opposite Rotherhithe and between Ratcliff to the west and Millwall to the east....

, the Chinatown of London
Chinatown, London
The name Chinatown has been used at different times to describe different places in London. The present Chinatown is part of the Soho area of the City of Westminster, occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street...

. Chinese men were deported for playing keno
Keno
Keno is a lottery or bingo gambling game often played at modern casinos, and is also offered as a game in some state lotteries. A traditional live casino keno game uses a circular glass enclosure called a "bubble" containing 80 balls which determine the ball draw result. Each ball is imprinted...

 and sentenced to hard labor for opium possession. Both the immigrant population and the social use of opium fell into decline. Yet despite lurid literary accounts to the contrary, nineteenth-century London was not a hotbed of opium smoking. The total lack of photographic evidence of opium smoking in Britain, as opposed to the relative abundance of historical photos depicting opium smoking in North America and France, indicates that the infamous Limehouse
Limehouse
Limehouse is a place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is on the northern bank of the River Thames opposite Rotherhithe and between Ratcliff to the west and Millwall to the east....

 opium smoking scene was little more than fantasy on the part of British writers of the day who were intent on scandalizing their readers while drumming up the threat of the "yellow peril."

Prohibition and conflict in China



Opium prohibition began in 1729, when Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, disturbed by madak
Madak
Madak was a blend of opium and tobacco used as a recreational drug in 17th and 18th century China. It emerged in southern coastal areas in the first half of the 17th century. In the last quarter of the 18th century madak was phased out by raw opium...

 smoking at court and carrying out the government's role of upholding Confucian virtue, officially prohibited the sale of opium, except for a small amount for medicinal purposes. The ban punished sellers and opium den
Opium den
An opium den was an establishment where opium was sold and smoked. Opium dens were prevalent in many parts of the world in the 19th century, most notably China, Southeast Asia, North America and France...

 keepers, but not users of the drug. Opium was banned completely in 1799 and this prohibition continued until 1860.


Under the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, China opened itself to foreign trade under the Canton System
Canton System
The Canton System served as a means for China to control trade with the west within its own country. Seen from the European view, it was a complement to the Old China Trade.-History:...

 through the port of Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 (Canton), and traders from the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 began visiting the port by the 1690s. Due to the growing British demand for Indian tea and the Chinese Emperor's prohibition of British commodities other than silver, British traders resorted to trade in opium as a high-value commodity for which China was not self-sufficient. The British traders had been purchasing small amounts of opium from India for trade since Ralph Fitch
Ralph Fitch
Ralph Fitch was a gentleman merchant of London and one of the earliest English travellers and traders to visit Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, India and Southeast Asia...

 first visited in the mid-sixteenth century. Trade in opium was standardized, with production of balls of raw opium, 1.1 to 1.6 kilograms, 30% water content, wrapped in poppy leaves and petals, and shipped in chests of 60–65 kilograms (one picul).
Chests of opium were sold in auctions in Calcutta with the understanding that the independent purchasers would then smuggle it into China.

After the 1757 Battle of Plassey
Battle of Plassey
The Battle of Plassey , 23 June 1757, was a decisive British East India Company victory over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, establishing Company rule in South Asia which expanded over much of the Indies for the next hundred years...

 and 1764 Battle of Buxar
Battle of Buxar
The Battle of Buxar was fought on 22 October 1764 between the forces under the command of the British East India Company, and the combined armies of Mir Qasim, the Nawab of Bengal; Shuja-ud-Daula Nawab of Awadh; and Shah Alam II, the Mughal Emperor...

, the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 gained the power to act as diwan of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

, Bihar, and Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

 (See company rule in India
Company rule in India
Company rule in India refers to the rule or dominion of the British East India Company on the Indian subcontinent...

)
. This allowed the company to pursue a monopoly on opium production and export in India, to encourage ryot
Ryot
Ryot was a general economic term used throughout India for peasant cultivators but with variations in different provinces. While zamindars were landlords, raiyats were tenants and cultivators, and served as hired labour...

s to cultivate the cash crops of indigo
Indigofera
Indigofera is a large genus of about 700 species of flowering plants belonging to the family Fabaceae.The species are mostly shrubs, though some are herbaceous, and a few can become small trees up to tall. Most are dry-season or winter deciduous. The leaves are pinnate with 5–31 leaflets and the...

 and opium with cash advances, and to prohibit the "hoarding" of rice. This strategy led to the increase of the land tax to 50% of the value of crops, the starvation of ten million people in the Bengal famine of 1770
Bengal famine of 1770
The Bengal famine of 1770 was a catastrophic famine between 1769 and 1773 that affected the lower Gangetic plain of India...

, and the doubling of East India Company profits by 1777. Beginning in 1773, the British government began enacting oversight of the company's operations, culminating in the establishment of British India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 in response to the Indian Rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

. Bengal opium was highly prized, commanding twice the price of the domestic Chinese product, which was regarded as inferior in quality. The Sassoon family
Sassoon family
The Sassoon family was an Indian family of Iraqi Jewish descent and international renown, based in Bombay, India. It was descended from the famous Ibn Shoshans, one of the richest families of medieval Spain...

 was heavily involved in the opium trade in both China and India.

Some competition came from the newly independent United States, which began to compete in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 (Canton) selling Turkish opium in the 1820s. Portuguese traders also brought opium from the independent Malwa states of western India, although by 1820, the British were able to restrict this trade by charging "pass duty" on the opium when it was forced to pass through Bombay to reach an entrepot
Entrepôt
An entrepôt is a trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. This profit is possible because of trade conditions, for example, the reluctance of ships to travel the entire length of a long trading route, and selling to the entrepôt...

.
Despite drastic penalties and continued prohibition of opium until 1860, opium importation rose steadily from 200 chests per year under Yongzheng to 1,000 under Qianlong, 4,000 under Jiaqing, and 30,000 under Daoguang. The illegal sale of opium became one of the world's most valuable single commodity trades and has been called "the most long continued and systematic international crime of modern times."

In response to the ever-growing number of Chinese people becoming addicted to opium, Daoguang of the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 took strong action to halt the import of opium, including the seizure of cargo. In 1838, the Chinese Commissioner Lin Zexu
Lin Zexu
Lín Zéxú ; 30 August 1785 – 22 November 1850) was a Chinese scholar and official during the Qing Dynasty.He is most recognized for his conduct and his constant position on the "high moral ground" in his fight, as a "shepherd" of his people, against the opium trade in Guangzhou...

 destroyed 20,000 chests of opium in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 (Canton). Given that a chest of opium was worth nearly $1,000 in 1800, this was a substantial economic loss. The British, not willing to replace the cheap opium with costly silver, began the First Opium War
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 in 1840, the British winning Hong Kong and trade concessions in the first of a series of Unequal Treaties
Unequal Treaties
“Unequal treaty” is a term used in specific reference to a number of treaties imposed by Western powers, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, on Qing Dynasty China and late Tokugawa Japan...

.

Following China's defeat in the Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

 in 1858, China was forced to legalize opium and began massive domestic production. Importation of opium peaked in 1879 at 6,700 tons, and by 1906, China was producing 85% of the world's opium, some 35,000 tons, and 27% of its adult male population regularly used opium —13.5 million people consuming 39,000 tons of opium yearly. From 1880 to the beginning of the Communist era, Britain attempted to discourage the use of opium in China, but this effectively promoted the use of morphine, heroin, and cocaine, further exacerbating the problem of addiction.

Scientific evidence of the pernicious nature of opium use was largely undocumented in the 1890s when Protestant missionaries
Mission (Christian)
Christian missionary activities often involve sending individuals and groups , to foreign countries and to places in their own homeland. This has frequently involved not only evangelization , but also humanitarian work, especially among the poor and disadvantaged...

 in China decided to strengthen their opposition to the trade by compiling data which would demonstrate the harm the drug did. Faced with the problem that many Chinese associated Christianity with opium, partly due to the arrival of early Protestant missionaries on opium clippers, at the 1890 Shanghai Missionary Conference, they agreed to establish the Permanent Committee for the Promotion of Anti-Opium Societies in an attempt to overcome this problem and to arouse public opinion against the opium trade. The members of the committee were John Glasgow Kerr
John Glasgow Kerr
John Glasgow Kerr was a Presbyterian medical missionary to China with the American Presbyterian Mission.Born in Duncansville, Ohio, Kerr graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He went to China as a medical missionary and arrived at Guangzhou in 1854...

, MD, American Presbyterian Mission in Canton; B.C. Atterbury, MD, American Presbyterian Mission in Peking; Archdeacon Arthur E. Moule
Arthur Evans Moule
Arthur Evans Moule was an English missionary to China. He was the son of Henry Moule, vicar at Fordington, Dorset, and was educated at Malta Protestant College and the Church Missionary Society, Islington College.-Missionary in China:...

, Church Missionary Society in Shanghai; Henry Whitney, MD, American Board of Commissioners for foreign Missions in Foochow; the Rev. Samuel Clarke, China Inland Mission in Kweiyang; the Rev. Arthur Gostick Shorrock
Arthur Gostick Shorrock
Arthur Gostick Shorrock , a pioneer Baptist missionary in China for 40 years. Arthur was born in 1861 in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. He entered Spurgeon's College and as a student preacher took services at the Baptist Chapel in Wraysbury...

, English Baptist Mission in Taiyuan; and the Rev. Griffith John
Griffith John
Griffith John was a British Christian missionary and translator in China. A member of the Congregational church, he was a pioneer evangelist with the London Missionary Society , a writer and a translator of the Holy Bible into the Chinese language.-Biography:Griffith John was born on 14 December...

, London Mission Society in Hankow. These missionaries were generally outraged over the British government's Royal Commission on Opium
Royal Commission on Opium
The Royal Opium Commission of 1895 was a commission of the British Government set up to investigate the Anglo-Asian opium trade.-History:Throughout the 19th century opium sent to China was one of British India's most valuable exports...

 visiting India but not China. Accordingly, the missionaries first organized the Anti-Opium League in China among their colleagues in every mission station in China. American missionary Hampden Coit DuBose
Hampden Coit DuBose
Hampden Coit DuBose was a Presbyterian missionary in China with the American Presbyterian Mission and founder of the Anti-Opium League in China.-Career:...

 acted as first president. This organization, which had elected national officers and held an annual national meeting, was instrumental in gathering data from every Western-trained medical doctor in China, which was then published as William Hector Park compiled Opinions of Over 100 Physicians on the Use of Opium in China (Shanghai: American Presbyterian Mission Press, 1899). The vast majority of these medical doctors were missionaries; the survey also included doctors who were in private practices, particularly in Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as Chinese who had been trained in medical schools in Western countries. In England, the home director of the China Inland Mission
China Inland Mission
OMF International is an interdenominational Protestant Christian missionary society, founded in Britain by Hudson Taylor on 25 June 1865.-Overview:...

, Benjamin Broomhall
Benjamin Broomhall
Benjamin Broomhall was a British advocate of foreign missions, administrator of the China Inland Mission, and author. Broomhall served as the General Secretary of the China Inland Mission ,...

, was an active opponent of the opium trade, writing two books to promote the banning of opium smoking: The Truth about Opium Smoking and The Chinese Opium Smoker. In 1888, Broomhall formed and became secretary of the Christian Union for the Severance of the British Empire with the Opium Traffic and editor of its periodical, National Righteousness. He lobbied the British Parliament to stop the opium trade. He and James Laidlaw Maxwell
James Laidlaw Maxwell
James Laidlaw Maxwell Senior was the first Presbyterian missionary to Taiwan . He served with the English Presbyterian Mission....

 appealed to the London Missionary Conference of 1888 and the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of 1910 to condemn the continuation of the trade. When Broomhall was dying, his son Marshall read to him from The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

the welcome news that an agreement had been signed ensuring the end of the opium trade within two years.

Official Chinese resistance to opium was renewed on September 20, 1906, with an anti-opium initiative intended to eliminate the drug problem within ten years. The program relied on the turning of public sentiment against opium, with mass meetings at which opium paraphernalia
Drug paraphernalia
Drug paraphernalia is a term used, often with a slightly negative connotation due to its use in criminal law field e.g. "possession of drug paraphernalia", to denote any equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing drugs, typically for recreational purposes...

 was publicly burned, as well as coercive legal action and the granting of police powers to organizations such as the Fujian Anti-Opium Society. Smokers were required to register for licenses for gradually reducing rations of the drug. Addicts sometimes turned to missionaries for treatment for their addiction, though many associated these foreigners with the drug trade. The program was counted as a substantial success, with a cessation of direct British opium exports to China (but not Hong Kong) and most provinces declared free of opium production. Nonetheless, the success of the program was only temporary, with opium use rapidly increasing during the disorder following the death of Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai was an important Chinese general and politician famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty, his role in the events leading up to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor of China, his autocratic rule as the second President of the Republic of China , and his short-lived...

 in 1916.

Beginning in 1915, Chinese nationalist groups came to describe the period of military losses and Unequal Treaties
Unequal Treaties
“Unequal treaty” is a term used in specific reference to a number of treaties imposed by Western powers, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, on Qing Dynasty China and late Tokugawa Japan...

 as the "Century of National Humiliation," later defined to end with the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 in 1949.

In the northern provinces of Ningxia
Ningxia
Ningxia, formerly transliterated as Ningsia, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Located in Northwest China, on the Loess Plateau, the Yellow River flows through this vast area of land. The Great Wall of China runs along its northeastern boundary...

 and Suiyuan in China, Chinese Muslim
Hui people
The Hui people are an ethnic group in China, defined as Chinese speaking people descended from foreign Muslims. They are typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, however some also practice other religions, and many are direct descendants of Silk Road travelers.In modern People's...

 General Ma Fuxiang
Ma Fuxiang
Ma Fuxiang . Ma, a Dongxiang muslim leader, had a military and political career which spanned the Qing dynasty through the early Republic of China and illustrated the power of family, the role of religious affiliations, and the interaction of Inner Asian China and the national government of...

 both prohibited and engaged in the opium trade. It was hoped that Ma Fuxiang would have improved the situation, since Chinese Muslims were well known for opposition to smoking opium Ma Fuxiang officially prohibited opium and made it illegal in Ningxia
Ningxia
Ningxia, formerly transliterated as Ningsia, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Located in Northwest China, on the Loess Plateau, the Yellow River flows through this vast area of land. The Great Wall of China runs along its northeastern boundary...

, but the Guominjun
Guominjun
The Guominjun , a.k.a Nationalist Army, KMC, or Northwest Army , refers to the military faction founded by Feng Yuxiang, Hu Jingyi and Sun Yue during China's Warlord Era. It was formed when Feng betrayed the Zhili clique during the Second Zhili-Fengtian War with the Fengtian clique in 1924...

 reversed his policy, by 1933, people from every level of society was abusing the drug, Ningxia was left in destitution In 1923, an officer of the Bank of China
Bank of China
Bank of China Limited is one of the big four state-owned commercial banks of the People's Republic of China. It was founded in 1912 by the Government of the Republic of China, to replace the Government Bank of Imperial China. It is the oldest bank in China...

 from Baotou
Baotou
Baotou is a mid-sized industrial city in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Governed as a prefecture-level city, its urban areas are home to a population of approximately 1.78 million, with a total population of over 2.65 million accounting for counties under...

 found out that Ma Fuxiang was assisting the drug trade in opium which helped finance his military expenses. He earned $2 million from taxing those sales in 1923. General Ma had been using the bank, a branch of the Government of China's exchequer, to arrange for silver currency to be transported to Baotou to use it to sponsor the trade.

Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
The Mitsubishi Group , Mitsubishi Group of Companies, or Mitsubishi Companies is a Japanese multinational conglomerate company that consists of a range of autonomous businesses which share the Mitsubishi brand, trademark and legacy...

 and Mitsui
Mitsui
is one of the largest corporate conglomerates in Japan and one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.-History:Founded by Mitsui Takatoshi , who was the fourth son of a shopkeeper in Matsusaka, in what is now today's Mie prefecture...

 were involved in the opium trade during the Japanese occupation of China.

The Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 government is generally credited with eradicating both consumption and production of opium during the 1950s using unrestrained repression and social reform. Ten million addicts were forced into compulsory treatment, dealers were executed, and opium-producing regions were planted with new crops. Remaining opium production shifted south of the Chinese border into the Golden Triangle
Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia)
The Golden Triangle is one of Asia's two main illicit opium-producing areas. It is an area of around that overlaps the mountains of four countries of Southeast Asia: Burma, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Along with Afghanistan in the Golden Crescent and Pakistan, it has been one of the most...

 region, at times with the involvement of Western intelligence agencies. The remnant opium trade primarily served Southeast Asia, but spread to American soldiers during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, with 20% of soldiers regarding themselves as addicted during the peak of the epidemic in 1971. In 2003, China was estimated to have four million regular drug users and one million registered drug addicts.

Prohibition outside China


There were no legal restrictions on the importation or use of opium in the United States until the San Francisco Opium Den Ordinance, which banned dens for public smoking of opium in 1875, a measure fueled by anti-Chinese sentiment and the perception that whites were starting to frequent the dens. This was followed by an 1891 California law requiring that narcotics carry warning labels and that their sales be recorded in a registry, amendments to the California Pharmacy and Poison Act in 1907 making it a crime to sell opiates without a prescription, and bans on possession of opium or opium pipes in 1909.

At the US federal level, the legal actions taken reflected constitutional restrictions under the Enumerated powers
Enumerated powers
The enumerated powers are a list of items found in Article I, section 8 of the US Constitution that set forth the authoritative capacity of the United States Congress. In summary, Congress may exercise the powers that the Constitution grants it, subject to explicit restrictions in the Bill of...

 doctrine prior to reinterpretation of the Commerce clause
Commerce Clause
The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution . The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Courts and commentators have tended to...

, which did not allow the federal government to enact arbitrary prohibitions but did permit arbitrary taxation. Beginning in 1883, opium importation was taxed at $6 to $300 per pound, until the Opium Exclusion Act of 1909 prohibited the importation of opium altogether. In a similar manner the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act
Harrison Narcotics Tax Act
The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act was a United States federal law that regulated and taxed the production, importation, and distribution of opiates...

 of 1914, passed in fulfillment of the International Opium Convention
International Opium Convention
The International Opium Convention, signed at The Hague on January 23, 1912 during the First International Opium Conference, was the first international drug control treaty. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on January 23, 1922...

 of 1912, nominally placed a tax on the distribution of opiates, but served as a de facto prohibition of the drugs. Today, opium is regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

 under the Controlled Substances Act
Controlled Substances Act
The Controlled Substances Act was enacted into law by the Congress of the United States as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. The CSA is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain...

.

Following passage of a regional law in 1895, Australia's Aboriginal Protection and restriction of the sale of opium act 1897
Aboriginal Protection and restriction of the sale of opium act 1897
The Aboriginal Protection and Restrictions of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 was an Act of the Parliament of Queensland.As a result of dispersal, malnutrition, opium and diseases, it was widely believed in Queensland that Aborigines were members of a 'dying race'...

 addressed opium addiction among Aborigines
Indigenous Australians
Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands. The Aboriginal Indigenous Australians migrated from the Indian continent around 75,000 to 100,000 years ago....

, though it soon became a general vehicle for depriving them of basic rights by administrative regulation. Opium sale was prohibited to the general population in 1905, and smoking and possession was prohibited in 1908.

Hardening of Canadian attitudes toward Chinese opium users and fear of a spread of the drug into the white population led to the effective criminalization of opium for non-medical use in Canada between 1908 and the mid-1920s.

In 1909, the International Opium Commission
International Opium Commission
The International Opium Commission was a meeting convened in 1909 in Shanghai that represented one of the first steps toward international drug prohibition. Dr. Hamilton Wright and Episcopal Bishop Charles Henry Brent headed the U.S. delegation...

 was founded, and by 1914, thirty-four nations had agreed that the production and importation of opium should be diminished. In 1924, sixty-two nations participated in a meeting of the Commission. Subsequently, this role passed to the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

, and all signatory nations agreed to prohibit the import, sale, distribution, export, and use of all narcotic drugs, except for medical and scientific purposes. This role was later taken up by the International Narcotics Control Board
International Narcotics Control Board
The International Narcotics Control Board is the independent and quasi-judicial control organ for the implementation of the United Nations drug conventions...

 of the United Nations under Article 23 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 is an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under licence for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research...

, and subsequently under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances
Convention on Psychotropic Substances
The Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 is a United Nations treaty designed to control psychoactive drugs such as amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and psychedelics signed at Vienna on February 21, 1971...

. Opium-producing nations are required to designate a government agency
Government agency
A government or state agency is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types...

 to take physical possession of licit opium crops as soon as possible after harvest and conduct all wholesaling and exporting through that agency.

Obsolescence



Globally, opium has gradually been superseded by a variety of purified, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opioids with progressively stronger effects, and by other general anesthetics. This process began in 1804, when Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner
Friedrich Sertürner
Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner was a German pharmacist, who discovered morphine in 1804.-Biography:He was born on 19 June 1783 in Neuhaus ....

 first isolated morphine from the opium poppy. The process continued until 1817, when Sertürner published the isolation of pure morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 from opium after at least thirteen years of research and a nearly disastrous trial on himself and three boys. The great advantage of purified morphine was that a patient could be treated with a known dose—whereas with raw plant material, as Gabriel Fallopius once lamented, "if soporifics are weak they do not help; if they are strong they are exceedingly dangerous." Morphine was the first pharmaceutical isolated from a natural product, and this success encouraged the isolation of other alkaloids: by 1820, isolations of narcotine, strychnine
Strychnine
Strychnine is a highly toxic , colorless crystalline alkaloid used as a pesticide, particularly for killing small vertebrates such as birds and rodents. Strychnine causes muscular convulsions and eventually death through asphyxia or sheer exhaustion...

, veratrine, colchicine
Colchicine
Colchicine is a medication used for gout. It is a toxic natural product and secondary metabolite, originally extracted from plants of the genus Colchicum...

, caffeine
Caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

, and quinine
Quinine
Quinine is a natural white crystalline alkaloid having antipyretic , antimalarial, analgesic , anti-inflammatory properties and a bitter taste. It is a stereoisomer of quinidine which, unlike quinine, is an anti-arrhythmic...

 were reported. Morphine sales began in 1827, by Heinrich Emanuel Merck
Heinrich Emanuel Merck
Heinrich Emanuel Merck was an apothecary whose descendants are the founders of Merck and Company and Merck KGaA.-Biography:...

 of Darmstadt, and helped him expand his family pharmacy into the Merck KGaA
Merck KGaA
Merck KGaA is a German chemical and pharmaceutical company. Merck, also known as “German Merck” and “Merck Darmstadt”, was founded in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1668, making it the world's oldest operating chemical and pharmaceutical company. The company was privately owned until going public in 1995...

 pharmaceutical company.

Codeine
Codeine
Codeine or 3-methylmorphine is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal properties...

 was isolated in 1832 by Pierre Jean Robiquet
Pierre Jean Robiquet
Pierre Jean Robiquet was a French chemist, who laid founding work in identifying amino acids, the fundamental bricks of proteins, through recognizing the first of them, asparagin, in 1806, in the take up of the industry of industrial dyes, with the identification of alizarin in 1826, and in the...

.

The use of diethyl ether
Diethyl ether
Diethyl ether, also known as ethyl ether, simply ether, or ethoxyethane, is an organic compound in the ether class with the formula . It is a colorless, highly volatile flammable liquid with a characteristic odor...

 and chloroform
Chloroform
Chloroform is an organic compound with formula CHCl3. It is one of the four chloromethanes. The colorless, sweet-smelling, dense liquid is a trihalomethane, and is considered somewhat hazardous...

 for general anesthesia began in 1846–1847, and rapidly displaced the use of opiates and tropane
Tropane
Tropane is a nitrogenous bicyclic organic compound. It is mainly known for a group of alkaloids derived from it , which include, among others, atropine and cocaine. Both alkaloids contain tropinone from which tropane is a derivate...

 alkaloids from Solanaceae
Solanaceae
Solanaceae are a family of flowering plants that include a number of important agricultural crops as well as many toxic plants. The name of the family comes from the Latin Solanum "the nightshade plant", but the further etymology of that word is unclear...

 due to their relative safety.

Heroin, the first semi-synthetic opiate, was first synthesized in 1874, but was not pursued until its rediscovery in 1897 by Felix Hoffmann
Felix Hoffmann
Felix Hoffmann was a German chemist, credited for the first synthesized medically useful forms of heroin and aspirin, though some sources maintain that Arthur Eichengrün was the real creator of the latter. Hoffmann was born in Ludwigsburg and studied Chemistry in Munich...

 at the Bayer
Bayer
Bayer AG is a chemical and pharmaceutical company founded in Barmen , Germany in 1863. It is headquartered in Leverkusen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and well known for its original brand of aspirin.-History:...

 pharmaceutical company in Elberfeld, Germany. From 1898 to 1910 heroin was marketed as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough medicine for children. By 1902, sales made up 5% of the company's profits, and "heroinism" had attracted media attention. Oxycodone
Oxycodone
Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic medication synthesized from opium-derived thebaine. It was developed in 1916 in Germany, as one of several new semi-synthetic opioids in an attempt to improve on the existing opioids: morphine, diacetylmorphine , and codeine.Oxycodone oral medications are generally...

, a thebaine
Thebaine
Thebaine , its name coming from the Greek Θῆβαι, Thēbai, an ancient city in Upper Egypt, is an opiate alkaloid. A minor constituent of opium, thebaine is chemically similar to both morphine and codeine, but has stimulatory rather than depressant effects, causing convulsions similar to strychnine...

 derivative similar to codeine
Codeine
Codeine or 3-methylmorphine is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal properties...

, was introduced by Bayer in 1916 and promoted as a less-addictive analgesic. Preparations of the drug such as Percocet
Percocet
The combination oxycodone/paracetamol is a narcotic pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe acute pain, marketed by Endo Pharmaceuticals.-History:The U.S...

 and OxyContin remain popular to this day.

A range of synthetic opioids such as methadone
Methadone
Methadone is a synthetic opioid, used medically as an analgesic and a maintenance anti-addictive for use in patients with opioid dependency. It was developed in Germany in 1937...

 (1937), pethidine
Pethidine
Pethidine or meperidine Pethidine (INN) or meperidine (USAN) Pethidine (INN) or meperidine (USAN) (commonly referred to as Demerol but also referred to as: isonipecaine; lidol; pethanol; piridosal; Algil; Alodan; Centralgin; Dispadol; Dolantin; Mialgin (in Indonesia); Petidin Dolargan (in Poland);...

 (1939), fentanyl (late 1950s), and derivatives thereof have been introduced, and each is preferred for certain specialized applications. Nonetheless, morphine remains the drug of choice for American combat medic
Combat medic
Combat medics are trained military personnel who are responsible for providing first aid and frontline trauma care on the battlefield. They are also responsible for providing continuing medical care in the absence of a readily available physician, including care for disease and battle injury...

s, who carry packs of syrette
Syrette
The Syrette is a device for injecting liquid through a needle. It is similar to a syringe except that it has a closed flexible tube instead of a rigid tube and piston...

s containing 16 milligrams each for use on severely wounded soldiers. No drug has been found that can match the painkilling effect of opioid
Opioid
An opioid is a psychoactive chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors, which are found principally in the central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract...

s without also duplicating much of its addictive potential.

Papaver somniferum



In South American countries, opium poppies (Papaver somniferum) are technically illegal, but nonetheless appear in some nurseries as ornamentals. They are popular and attractive garden plants, whose flowers vary greatly in color, size and form. A modest amount of domestic cultivation in private gardens is not usually subject to legal controls. In part, this tolerance reflects variation in addictive potency: a cultivar for opium production, Papaver somniferum L. elite, contains 92% morphine, codeine, and thebaine in its latex alkaloids, whereas the condiment cultivar "Marianne" has only one-fifth this total, with the remaining alkaloids made up mostly of narcotoline
Narcotoline
Narcotoline is an opiate alkaloid chemically related to noscapine. It binds to the same receptors in the brain as noscapine to act as an antitussive, and has also been used in tissue culture media.-Source:...

 and noscapine
Noscapine
Noscapine is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid from plants of the Papaveraceae family, without significant painkilling properties. This agent is primarily used for its antitussive effects. It has also been shown to have anticancer activity...

.

Seed capsules can be dried and used for decorations, but they also contain morphine, codeine, and other alkaloids. These pods can be boiled in water to produce a bitter tea that induces a long-lasting intoxication (See Poppy tea
Poppy tea
Poppy tea is an infusion brewed from poppy straw or seeds of several species of poppy. The species most commonly used for this purpose is Papaver somniferum, which contains opium....

)
. If allowed to mature, poppy pods (poppy straw) can be crushed and used to produce lower quantities of morphinans. In poppies subjected to mutagenesis and selection on a mass scale, researchers have been able to use poppy straw to obtain large quantities of oripavine
Oripavine
Oripavine is an opiate and the major metabolite of thebaine. It is the parent compound from which a series of semi-synthetic opioids are derived, which includes the compounds etorphine and buprenorphine...

, a precursor to opioids and antagonists such as naltrexone
Naltrexone
Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist used primarily in the management of alcohol dependence and opioid dependence. It is marketed in generic form as its hydrochloride salt, naltrexone hydrochloride, and marketed under the trade names Revia and Depade...

.

Poppy seed
Poppy seed
Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy . The tiny kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years...

s are a common and flavorsome topping for breads and cakes. One gram of poppy seeds contains up to 33 micrograms of morphine and 14 micrograms of codeine, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is charged with improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and cost to...

 formerly mandated that all drug screening laboratories use a standard cutoff of 300 nanograms per milliliter in urine samples. A single poppy seed roll (0.76 grams of seeds) usually did not produce a positive drug test
Drug test
A drug test is a technical analysis of a biological specimen – for example urine, hair, blood, sweat, or oral fluid / saliva – to determine the presence or absence of specified parent drugs or their metabolites...

, but a positive result was observed from eating two rolls. A slice of poppy seed cake containing nearly five grams of seeds per slice produced positive results for 24 hours. Such results are viewed as false positive indications of drug abuse and were the basis of a legal defense. On November 30, 1998, the standard cutoff was increased to 2000 nanograms (two micrograms) per milliliter. During the Communist era in Eastern Europe, poppy stalks sold in bundles by farmers were processed by users with household chemicals to make kompot ("Polish heroin
Polish heroin
Polish heroin is a crude preparation of heroin made from poppy straw. Like heroin derived from opium, it is an addictive opiate psychoactive drug, used recreationally. Poppy straw and opium are both harvested from the opium poppy...

"), and poppy seeds were used to produce koknar, an opiate.

Harvesting and processing



When grown for opium production, the skin of the ripening pods of these poppies is scored by a sharp blade at a time carefully chosen so that rain, wind, and dew cannot spoil the exudation of white, milky latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

, usually in the afternoon. Incisions are made while the pods are still raw, with no more than a slight yellow tint, and must be shallow to avoid penetrating hollow inner chambers or loculi while cutting into the lactiferous vessels. In Indian Subcontinent, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran, the special tool used to make the incisions is called a nushtar or "nishtar" (from Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, meaning a lancet) and carries three or four blades three millimeters apart, which are scored upward along the pod. Incisions are made three or four times at intervals of two to three days, and each time the "poppy tears," which dry to a sticky brown resin, are collected the following morning. One acre harvested in this way can produce three to five kilograms of raw opium. In the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, pods were typically scored horizontally, and opium was collected three times, or else one or two collections were followed by isolation of opiates from the ripe capsules. Oil poppies, an alternative strain of P. somniferum, were also used for production of opiates from their capsules and stems.
Raw opium may be sold to a merchant or broker on the black market, but it usually does not travel far from the field before it is refined into morphine base, because pungent, jelly-like raw opium is bulkier and harder to smuggle. Crude laboratories in the field are capable of refining opium into morphine base by a simple acid-base extraction
Acid-base extraction
Acid-base extraction is a procedure using sequential liquid–liquid extractions to purify acids and bases from mixtures based on their chemical properties....

. A sticky, brown paste, morphine base is pressed into bricks and sun-dried, and can either be smoked, prepared into other forms or processed into heroin.

The production of wheat in Deh Dehi has decreased dramatically since farmers had invested in the opium trade. Over some years, the opium trade has become the key economic activity in the village. A farmer reported that he can earn between 1000–2000 lakhs annual profit from poppy cultivation instead of the 20 he would make cultivating wheat. Now, all the irrigated land is given over to the poppy cultivation, and most of the men and women who worked in the livestock trade are either involved in the opium trade or work overseas.

Other methods of preparation (besides smoking), include processing into regular opium tincture
Tincture
A tincture is an alcoholic extract or solution of a non-volatile substance . To qualify as a tincture, the alcoholic extract is to have an ethanol percentage of at least 40-60%...

 (tinctura opii), laudanum
Laudanum
Laudanum , also known as Tincture of Opium, is an alcoholic herbal preparation containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight ....

, paregoric
Paregoric
Paregoric, or camphorated tincture of opium, also known as tinctura opii camphorata, is a medication known for its antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic properties.-History:...

 (tinctura opii camphorata), herbal wine (e.g. vinum opii), opium powder (pulvis opii), opium sirup (sirupus opii) and opium extract (extractum opii). Vinum opii is made by combining sugar, white wine, cinnamon
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods...

, and cloves. Opium syrup is made by combining 997.5 part sugar syrup with 2.5 parts opium extract. Opium extract (extractum opii) finally can be made by macerating raw opium with water. To make opium extract, 20 parts water are combined with 1 part raw opium which has been boiled for 5 minutes (the latter to ease mixing).

Heroin is widely preferred because of increased potency. One study in postaddicts found heroin to be approximately 2.2 times more potent than morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 by weight with a similar duration; at these relative quantities, they could distinguish the drugs subjectively but had no preference. Heroin was also found to be twice as potent as morphine in surgical anesthesia. Morphine is converted into heroin by a simple chemical reaction with acetic anhydride
Acetic anhydride
Acetic anhydride, or ethanoic anhydride, is the chemical compound with the formula 2O. Commonly abbreviated Ac2O, it is the simplest isolatable acid anhydride and is a widely used reagent in organic synthesis...

, followed by a varying degree of purification. Especially in Mexican production, opium may be converted directly to "black tar heroin
Black tar heroin
Black tar heroin is a type of illicit opiate narcotic drug formed from the incomplete acetylation of morphine. It is also called brown.Black tar can contain a variable percentage of heroin, but despite the name, what makes Black Tar specific as a type is not actually its heroin content, but rather...

" in a simplified procedure. This form predominates in the U.S. west of the Mississippi. Relative to other preparations of heroin, it has been associated with a dramatically decreased rate of HIV transmission among intravenous drug users (4% in Los Angeles vs. 40% in New York) due to technical requirements of injection, although it is also associated with greater risk of venous sclerosis
Sclerosis (medicine)
In medicine, sclerosis refers to the stiffening of a structure, usually caused by a replacement of the normal organ-specific tissue with connective tissue.Types include:...

 and necrotizing fasciitis
Necrotizing fasciitis
Necrotizing fasciitis , commonly known as flesh-eating disease or Flesh-eating bacteria syndrome, is a rare infection of the deeper layers of skin and subcutaneous tissues, easily spreading across the fascial plane within the subcutaneous tissue.Necrotizing fasciitis is a quickly progressing and...

.

Illegal production


Opium production has fallen greatly since 1906, when 41,000 tons were produced, but because 39,000 tons of that year's opium were consumed in China, overall usage in the rest of the world was much lower. These figures from 1906 have been criticized as over-estimates. In 1980, 2,000 tons of opium supplied all legal and illegal uses. Recently, opium production has increased considerably, surpassing 5,000 tons in 2002. The World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 has estimated that current production of opium would need to increase fivefold to account for total global medical need.

In 2002, the price for one kilogram of opium was $300 for the farmer, $800 for purchasers in Afghanistan, and $16,000 on the streets of Europe before conversion into heroin.

Afghanistan is currently the primary producer of the drug. After regularly producing 70% of the world's opium, Afghanistan decreased production to 74 tons per year under a ban by the Taliban in 2000, a move which cut production by 94 per cent. A year later, after American and British troops invaded Afghanistan, removed the Taliban and installed the interim government, the land under cultivation leapt back to 285 square miles (738.1 km²), with Afghanistan supplanting Burma to become the world's largest opium producer once more. Opium production in that country has increased rapidly since, reaching an all-time high in 2006. According to DEA
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

 statistics, Afghanistan's production of oven-dried opium increased to 1,278 tons in 2002, more than doubled by 2003, and nearly doubled again during 2004. In late 2004, the U.S. government estimated that 206,000 hectares were under poppy cultivation, 4.5% of the country's total cropland, and produced 4,200 metric tons of opium, 76% of the world's supply, yielding 60% of Afghanistan's gross domestic product. In 2006, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimated production to have risen 59% to 407000 acres (1,647.1 km²) in cultivation, yielding 6,100 tons of opium, 82% of the world's supply. The value of the resulting heroin was estimated at $3.5 billion, of which Afghan farmers were estimated to have received $700 million in revenue. For farmers, the crop can be up to ten times more profitable than wheat. The price of opium is around $138 per kilo. Opium production has led to rising tensions in Afghan villages. Though direct conflict has yet to occur, the opinions of the new class of young, rich men involved in the opium trade are at odds with those of the traditional village leaders.

An increasingly large fraction of opium is processed into morphine base and heroin in drug labs in Afghanistan. Despite an international set of chemical controls designed to restrict availability of acetic anhydride
Acetic anhydride
Acetic anhydride, or ethanoic anhydride, is the chemical compound with the formula 2O. Commonly abbreviated Ac2O, it is the simplest isolatable acid anhydride and is a widely used reagent in organic synthesis...

, it enters the country, perhaps through its Central Asian neighbors which do not participate. A counternarcotics law passed in December 2005 requires Afghanistan to develop registries or regulations for tracking, storing, and owning acetic anhydride.

Besides Afghanistan, smaller quantities of opium are produced in Pakistan, the Golden Triangle
Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia)
The Golden Triangle is one of Asia's two main illicit opium-producing areas. It is an area of around that overlaps the mountains of four countries of Southeast Asia: Burma, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Along with Afghanistan in the Golden Crescent and Pakistan, it has been one of the most...

 region of Southeast Asia (particularly Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

), Colombia and Mexico.
Chinese production mainly trades with and profits from North America. In 2002, they were seeking to expand through eastern United States. In the post 9/11 era, trading between borders became difficult and because new international laws were set into place, the opium trade became more diffused. Power shifted from remote to high-end smugglers and opium traders. Outsourcing became a huge factor for survival for many smugglers and opium farmers.

Legal production


Legal opium production is allowed under the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and other international drug treaties, subject to strict supervision by the law enforcement agencies
Law enforcement agency
In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...

 of individual countries. The leading legal production method is the Gregory process, whereby the entire poppy, excluding roots and leaves, is mashed and stewed in dilute acid solutions. The alkaloids are then recovered via acid-base extraction
Acid-base extraction
Acid-base extraction is a procedure using sequential liquid–liquid extractions to purify acids and bases from mixtures based on their chemical properties....

 and purified. This process was developed in the UK during World War II, when wartime shortages of many essential drugs encouraged innovation in pharmaceutical processing
Reed Business Information
Reed Business Information is a large business publisher in the United States, United Kingdom, continental Europe, Australia and Asia, often referred to as RBI...

.

Legal opium production in India
Legal opium production in India
Licit cultivation of opium for medicinal purposes is carried out in India, only in selected areas, under strict licensing conditions. Legal cultivation for medical use is permissible within the ambit of United Nations, Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961.Each year the Central Government...

 is much more traditional. As of 2008, opium was collected by farmers who were licensed to grow 0.1 hectare (0.247105163015276 acre) of opium poppies, who to maintain their licenses needed to sell 56 kilograms of unadulterated raw opium paste. The price of opium paste is fixed by the government according to the quality and quantity tendered. The average is around 1500 rupees ($29 US) per kilogram. Some additional money is made by drying the poppy heads and collecting poppy seeds, and a small fraction of opium beyond the quota may be consumed locally or diverted to the black market. The opium paste is dried and processed in two government opium and alkaloid factories before it is packed into cases of 60 kilograms for export. Purification of chemical constituents is done in India for domestic production, but typically done abroad by foreign importers.

Legal opium importation from India and Turkey is conducted by Mallinckrodt
Mallinckrodt
Mallinckrodt is a set of pharmaceutical, chemical, imaging, and respiratory equipment suppliers based in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. Founded in 1867 when the Mallinckrodt brothers formed G. Mallinckrodt & Company to manufacture pharmaceutical chemicals, Mallinckrodt was purchased by Tyco...

, Noramco, Abbott Laboratories
Abbott Laboratories
Abbott Laboratories is an American-based global, diversified pharmaceuticals and health care products company. It has 90,000 employees and operates in over 130 countries. The company headquarters are in Abbott Park, North Chicago, Illinois. The company was founded by Chicago physician, Dr....

, Purdue Pharma
Purdue Pharma
Purdue Pharma L.P., is a privately held pharmaceutical company founded by physicians and now located in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. In its early years, Purdue was known for its antiseptic product, Betadine Solution, and its Senokot laxatives...

, and Cody Laboratories Inc. in the United States, and legal opium production is conducted by GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline plc is a global pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare company headquartered in London, United Kingdom...

, Johnson and Johnson, Johnson Matthey
Johnson Matthey
Johnson Matthey plc is multinational chemicals and precious metals company headquartered in London, United Kingdom.It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.-History:...

, and Mayne
Mayne
Mayne may refer to:People* Andrew Mayne, magician and filmmaker* Brent Mayne , American Baseball catcher* Chris Mayne* Clarice Mayne* Cuthbert Mayne , English Roman Catholic priest and martyr...

 in Tasmania, Australia; Sanofi Aventis in France; Shionogi
Shionogi
is a Japanese pharmaceutical company best known for developing Crestor. Medical supply and brand name also uses Shionogi .Shionogi has business roots that date back to 1878, and was incorporated in 1919. Among the medicines produced are for hyperlipidaemia, antibiotics, and cancer medicines.In...

 Pharmaceutical in Japan; and Macfarlan Smith in the United Kingdom. The UN treaty requires that every country submit annual reports to the International Narcotics Control Board
International Narcotics Control Board
The International Narcotics Control Board is the independent and quasi-judicial control organ for the implementation of the United Nations drug conventions...

, stating that year's actual consumption of many classes of controlled drugs as well as opioids and projecting required quantities for the next year. This is to allow trends in consumption to be monitored and production quotas allotted.

A recent proposal from the European Senlis Council hopes to solve the problems caused by the large quantity of opium produced illegally in Afghanistan
Opium production in Afghanistan
Afghanistan has been the greatest illicit opium producer in the entire world, ahead of Burma and the "Golden Triangle" since 1992, excluding the year 2001. Afghanistan is the main producer of opium in the "Golden Crescent". Opium production in Afghanistan has been on the rise since U.S....

, most of which is converted to heroin and smuggled for sale in Europe and the USA. This proposal is to license
Opium licensing
Opium licensing is a policy instrument used to counter illegal drug cultivation and production. It has been used in countries such as Turkey and India to curb illegal opium production...

 Afghan farmers to produce opium for the world pharmaceutical market, and thereby solve another problem, that of chronic underuse of potent analgesics where required within developing nations
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

. Part of the proposal is to overcome the "80–20 rule" that requires the U.S. to purchase 80% of its legal opium from India and Turkey to include Afghanistan, by establishing a second-tier system of supply control that complements the current INCB regulated supply and demand system by providing poppy-based medicines to countries who cannot meet their demand under the current regulations. Senlis arranged a conference in Kabul that brought drug policy experts from around the world to meet with Afghan government officials to discuss internal security, corruption issues, and legal issues within Afghanistan.
In June 2007, the Council launched a "Poppy for Medicines" project that provides a technical blueprint for the implementation of an integrated control system within Afghan village-based poppy for medicine projects: the idea promotes the economic diversification by redirecting proceeds from the legal cultivation of poppy and production of poppy-based medicines (See Senlis Council). There has been criticism of the Senlis report findings by Macfarlan Smith, who argue that though they produce morphine in Europe, they were never asked to contribute to the report.

Cultivation in the UK


In late 2006, the British government permitted the pharmaceutical company Macfarlan Smith (a Johnson Matthey
Johnson Matthey
Johnson Matthey plc is multinational chemicals and precious metals company headquartered in London, United Kingdom.It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.-History:...

 company) to cultivate opium poppies in England for medicinal reasons, after Macfarlan Smith's primary source, India, decided to increase the price of export opium latex. This move is well received by British farmers, with a major opium poppy field located in Didcot
Didcot
Didcot is a town and civil parish in Oxfordshire about south of Oxford. Until 1974 it was in Berkshire, but was transferred to Oxfordshire in that year, and from Wallingford Rural District to the district of South Oxfordshire...

, England. The British government has contradicted the Home Office's suggestion that opium cultivation can be legalized in Afghanistan for exports to the United Kingdom, helping lower poverty and internal fighting whilst helping the NHS
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...

 to meet the high demand for morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 and heroin. Opium poppy cultivation in the United Kingdom does not need a license, but a license is required for those wishing to extract opium for medicinal products.

Consumption



In the industrialized world, the United States is the world's biggest consumer of prescription opioids, with Italy one of the lowest because of tighter regulations on prescribing narcotics for pain relief. Most opium imported into the United States is broken down into its alkaloid
Alkaloid
Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

 constituents, and whether legal or illegal, most current drug use occurs with processed derivatives such as heroin rather than with unrefined opium.

Intravenous injection of opiates is most used: by comparison with injection, "dragon chasing" (heating of heroin with barbital
Barbital
Barbital , also called barbitone, was the first commercially marketed barbiturate. It was used as a sleeping aid from 1903 until the mid-1950s. The chemical names for barbital are diethylmalonyl urea or diethylbarbituric acid...

 on a piece of foil), and madak
Madak
Madak was a blend of opium and tobacco used as a recreational drug in 17th and 18th century China. It emerged in southern coastal areas in the first half of the 17th century. In the last quarter of the 18th century madak was phased out by raw opium...

 and "ack ack" (smoking of cigarettes containing tobacco mixed with heroin powder) are only 40% and 20% efficient, respectively. One study of British heroin addicts found a 12-fold excess mortality ratio (1.8% of the group dying per year). Most heroin deaths result not from overdose per se, but combination with other depressant drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazepine
Benzodiazepine
A benzodiazepine is a psychoactive drug whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring...

s.

The smoking of opium does not involve the burning
Pyrolysis
Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures without the participation of oxygen. It involves the simultaneous change of chemical composition and physical phase, and is irreversible...

 of the material as might be imagined. Rather, the prepared opium is indirectly heated to temperatures at which the active alkaloids, chiefly morphine, are vaporized. In the past, smokers would use a specially designed opium pipe
Opium pipe
An opium pipe is a pipe designed for the vaporization and inhalation of opium. True opium pipes allow for the drug to be vaporized while being heated over a special oil lamp known as an opium lamp. It is thought that this manner of "smoking" opium began in the seventeenth century when a special...

 which had a removable knob-like pipe-bowl of fired earthenware attached by a metal fitting to a long, cylindrical stem. A small "pill" of opium about the size of a pea would be placed on the pipe-bowl, which was then heated by holding it over an opium lamp
Opium lamp
An opium lamp is an oil lamp designed specifically to facilitate the vaporization and inhalation of opium. Opium lamps differ from conventional lamps for lighting in that they are designed to channel an exact amount of heat upward through their funnel-shaped chimneys...

, a special oil lamp with a distinct funnel-like chimney to channel heat into a small area. The smoker would lie on his or her side in order to guide the pipe-bowl and the tiny pill of opium over the stream of heat rising from the chimney of the oil lamp and inhale the vaporized opium fumes as needed. Several pills of opium were smoked at a single session depending on the smoker's tolerance to the drug. The effects could last up to twelve hours. Opium in its rawest form contains half the potency of synthetically compared drugs; such as oxycodone, morphine patches or trentanol.

In Eastern culture
Eastern world
__FORCETOC__The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Eastern Asia or geographically the Eastern Culture...

, opium is more commonly used in the form of paregoric
Paregoric
Paregoric, or camphorated tincture of opium, also known as tinctura opii camphorata, is a medication known for its antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic properties.-History:...

 to treat diarrhea
Diarrhea
Diarrhea , also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day. It is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause dehydration and...

. This is a weaker solution than laudanum
Laudanum
Laudanum , also known as Tincture of Opium, is an alcoholic herbal preparation containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight ....

, an alcoholic tincture which was prevalently used as a pain medication and sleeping aid. Tincture of opium has been prescribed for, among other things, severe diarrhea. Taken thirty minutes prior to meals, it significantly slows intestinal motility, giving the intestines greater time to absorb fluid in the stool.

Chemical and physiological properties




Opium contains two main groups of alkaloid
Alkaloid
Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

s. Phenanthrene
Phenanthrene
Phenanthrene is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon composed of three fused benzene rings. The name phenanthrene is a composite of phenyl and anthracene. In its pure form, it is found in cigarette smoke and is a known irritant, photosensitizing skin to light...

s such as morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

, codeine
Codeine
Codeine or 3-methylmorphine is an opiate used for its analgesic, antitussive, and antidiarrheal properties...

, and thebaine
Thebaine
Thebaine , its name coming from the Greek Θῆβαι, Thēbai, an ancient city in Upper Egypt, is an opiate alkaloid. A minor constituent of opium, thebaine is chemically similar to both morphine and codeine, but has stimulatory rather than depressant effects, causing convulsions similar to strychnine...

 are the main narcotic constituents. Isoquinolines such as papaverine
Papaverine
Papaverine is an opium alkaloid antispasmodic drug, used primarily in the treatment of visceral spasm, vasospasm , and occasionally in the treatment of erectile dysfunction...

 and noscapine
Noscapine
Noscapine is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid from plants of the Papaveraceae family, without significant painkilling properties. This agent is primarily used for its antitussive effects. It has also been shown to have anticancer activity...

 have no significant central nervous system
Central nervous system
The central nervous system is the part of the nervous system that integrates the information that it receives from, and coordinates the activity of, all parts of the bodies of bilaterian animals—that is, all multicellular animals except sponges and radially symmetric animals such as jellyfish...

 effects, and are not regulated under the Controlled Substances Act
Controlled Substances Act
The Controlled Substances Act was enacted into law by the Congress of the United States as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. The CSA is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain...

. Morphine is the most prevalent and important alkaloid in opium, consisting of 10%–16% of the total, and is responsible for most of its harmful effects such as lung edema, respiratory difficulties, coma, or cardiac or respiratory collapse, with a normal lethal dose of 120 to 250 milligrams—the amount found in approximately two grams of opium. Morphine binds to and activates mu opioid receptor
Mu Opioid receptor
The μ-opioid receptors are a class of opioid receptors with high affinity for enkephalins and beta-endorphin but low affinity for dynorphins. They are also referred to as μ opioid peptide receptors. The prototypical μ receptor agonist is the opium alkaloid morphine; μ refers to morphine...

 in the brain, spinal cord, stomach and intestine. Regular use can lead to drug tolerance or physical dependence
Physical dependence
Physical dependence refers to a state resulting from chronic use of a drug that has produced tolerance and where negative physical symptoms of withdrawal result from abrupt discontinuation or dosage reduction...

. Chronic opium addicts in 1906 China or modern-day Iran consume an average of eight grams of opium daily.

Both analgesia and drug addiction are functions of the mu opioid receptor, the class of opioid receptor
Opioid receptor
Opioid receptors are a group of G protein-coupled receptors with opioids as ligands. The endogenous opioids are dynorphins, enkephalins, endorphins, endomorphins and nociceptin. The opioid receptors are ~40% identical to somatostatin receptors...

 first identified as responsive to morphine. Tolerance is associated with the superactivation of the receptor, which may be affected by the degree of endocytosis
Endocytosis
Endocytosis is a process by which cells absorb molecules by engulfing them. It is used by all cells of the body because most substances important to them are large polar molecules that cannot pass through the hydrophobic plasma or cell membrane...

 caused by the opioid
Opioid
An opioid is a psychoactive chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors, which are found principally in the central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract...

 administered, and leads to a superactivation of cyclic AMP signaling. Long-term use of morphine in palliative care
Palliative care
Palliative care is a specialized area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients...

 and management of chronic pain
Chronic pain
Chronic pain has several different meanings in medicine. Traditionally, the distinction between acute and chronic pain has relied upon an arbitrary interval of time from onset; the two most commonly used markers being 3 months and 6 months since the initiation of pain, though some theorists and...

 cannot be managed without the possible development of drug tolerance or physical dependence. Many techniques of drug treatment
Drug treatment
Drug treatment may refer to:*the treatment of illness with pharmaceutical drugs*Drug rehabilitation, the treatment of substance dependence/drug addiction*Drug Treatment, an album by by the Japanese band Kuroyume...

 exist, including pharmacologically based treatments with naltrexone
Naltrexone
Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist used primarily in the management of alcohol dependence and opioid dependence. It is marketed in generic form as its hydrochloride salt, naltrexone hydrochloride, and marketed under the trade names Revia and Depade...

, methadone
Methadone
Methadone is a synthetic opioid, used medically as an analgesic and a maintenance anti-addictive for use in patients with opioid dependency. It was developed in Germany in 1937...

, or ibogaine
Ibogaine
Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in a number of plants, principally in a member of the Apocynaceae family known as Iboga . A hallucinogen with both psychedelic and dissociative properties, the substance is banned in some countries; in other countries it is being used...

.

Slang terms


Some slang terms for opium include "O.P.", "hop", "midnight oil", "tar", "dope", and "Big O". ("Tar" and "dope" can also refer to heroin.) The traditional opium pipe is known as a "dream stick".

Cultural references


There is a longstanding literary history by and about opium users. Thomas de Quincey
Thomas de Quincey
Thomas Penson de Quincey was an English esssayist, best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater .-Child and student:...

's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater is an autobiographical account written by Thomas De Quincey, about his laudanum addiction and its effect on his life...

(1822), one of the first and most famous literary accounts of opium addiction
Opium and Romanticism
Readers of Romantic poetry usually come into contact with literary criticisms about the influence of opium on its works. Whether or not opium had a direct effect is still up for debate, however the literary criticisms that have emerged throughout the years suggest very compelling things about...

 written from the point of view of an addict, details the pleasures and dangers of the drug. De Quincey writes about the great English Romantic poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla...

 (1772–1834), whose "Kubla Khan
Kubla Khan
Kubla Khan is a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, completed in 1797 and published in Christabel, Kubla Khan, and the Pains of Sleep in 1816...

" is also widely considered to be a poem of the opium experience. Coleridge began using opium in 1791 after developing jaundice
Jaundice
Jaundice is a yellowish pigmentation of the skin, the conjunctival membranes over the sclerae , and other mucous membranes caused by hyperbilirubinemia . This hyperbilirubinemia subsequently causes increased levels of bilirubin in the extracellular fluid...

 and rheumatic fever
Rheumatic fever
Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that occurs following a Streptococcus pyogenes infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. Believed to be caused by antibody cross-reactivity that can involve the heart, joints, skin, and brain, the illness typically develops two to three weeks after...

 and became a full addict after a severe attack of the disease in 1801, requiring 80–100 drops of laudanum daily. George Crabbe
George Crabbe
George Crabbe was an English poet and naturalist.-Biography:He was born in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, the son of a tax collector, and developed his love of poetry as a child. In 1768, he was apprenticed to a local doctor, who taught him little, and in 1771 he changed masters and moved to Woodbridge...

 is another early writer who wrote about opium. "The Lotos-Eaters", an 1832 poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, reflects the generally favorable British attitude toward the drug. In The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas. It is often considered to be, along with The Three Musketeers, Dumas's most popular work. He completed the work in 1844...

(1844) by Alexandre Dumas, père
Alexandre Dumas, père
Alexandre Dumas, , born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie was a French writer, best known for his historical novels of high adventure which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world...

, the Count is assuaged by an edible form of opium and his experience with it is depicted vividly.

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

 presents opium in a more disturbing context in his 1838 short story, "Ligeia
Ligeia
"Ligeia" is an early short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1838. The story follows an unnamed narrator and his wife Ligeia, a beautiful and intelligent raven-haired woman. She falls ill, composes "The Conqueror Worm", and quotes lines attributed to Joseph Glanvill ...

", in which the narrator, deeply distraught for the loss of his beloved, takes solace in opium until he "had become a bounden slave in the trammels of opium," unable to distinguish fantasy from reality after taking immoderate doses of opium. In music, Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

' Symphony Fantastique (1830) tells the tale of an artist who has poisoned himself with opium while in the depths of despair for a hopeless love. Each of the symphony
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

's five movements
Movement (music)
A movement is a self-contained part of a musical composition or musical form. While individual or selected movements from a composition are sometimes performed separately, a performance of the complete work requires all the movements to be performed in succession...

 takes place at a different setting
Setting (fiction)
In fiction, setting includes the time, location, and everything in which a story takes place, and initiates the main backdrop and mood for a story. Setting has been referred to as story world or milieu to include a context beyond the immediate surroundings of the story. Elements of setting may...

 and with increasingly audible effects from the drug. For example, in the fourth movement, "Marche au Supplice", the artist dreams that he is walking to his own execution. In the fifth movement, "Songe d’une Nuit du Sabbat", he dreams that he is at a witch's orgy
Sabbath (witchcraft)
The Witches' Sabbath or Sabbat is a supposed meeting of those who practice witchcraft, and other rites.European records indicate cases of persons being accused or tried for taking part in Sabbat gatherings, from the Middle Ages to the 17th century or later.- Etymology :The English word “sabbat”...

, where he witnesses his beloved dancing wildly along to the demented Dies Irae
Dies Irae
Dies Irae is a thirteenth century Latin hymn thought to be written by Thomas of Celano . It is a medieval Latin poem characterized by its accentual stress and its rhymed lines. The metre is trochaic...

.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, references to opium and opium addiction, in the contexts of crime and the foreign underclass, abound within English literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

, such as in Wilkie Collins
Wilkie Collins
William Wilkie Collins was an English novelist, playwright, and author of short stories. He was very popular during the Victorian era and wrote 30 novels, more than 60 short stories, 14 plays, and over 100 non-fiction pieces...

' The Moonstone
The Moonstone
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first detective novel in the English language. The story was originally serialized in Charles Dickens' magazine All the Year Round. The Moonstone and The Woman in White are considered Wilkie...

(1868), where it is used to attempt to uncover the jewel thief. Opium features in the opening paragraphs of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

's 1870 serial, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the final novel by Charles Dickens. The novel was left unfinished at the time of Dickens' death, and his intended ending for it remains unknown. Though the novel is named after the character Edwin Drood, the story focuses on Drood's uncle, choirmaster John Jasper, who...

, and in Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

's 1891 Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

 short story, "The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Man with the Twisted Lip
"The Man with the Twisted Lip", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the sixth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine in December 1891...

". In Jules Verne
Jules Verne
Jules Gabriel Verne was a French author who pioneered the science fiction genre. He is best known for his novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , A Journey to the Center of the Earth , and Around the World in Eighty Days...

's novel Around the World in Eighty Days
Around the World in Eighty Days
Around the World in Eighty Days is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, first published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the...

(1873), the character Passepartout is lured into an opium den by the detective Fix, which causes him to become separated from Phileas Fogg, his employer. In Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

's The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine...

(1890), the protagonist visits an opium den "for forgetfulness," unable to bear the guilt and shame of committing murder. Opium likewise underwent a transformation in Chinese literature, becoming associated with indolence and vice by the early twentieth century. Perhaps the best-known literary reference to opium is Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

's metaphor in his "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right'," wherein he refers to religion as "the opium of the people." (This phrase is more commonly quoted as "the opiate of the masses.")

In the twentieth century, as the use of opium was eclipsed by morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 and heroin, its role in literature became more limited and often focused on issues related to its prohibition. In The Good Earth
The Good Earth
The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl S. Buck published in 1931 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1932. The best selling novel in the United States in both 1931 and 1932, it was an influential factor in Buck winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938...

by Pearl S. Buck
Pearl S. Buck
Pearl Sydenstricker Buck also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu , was an American writer who spent most of her time until 1934 in China. Her novel The Good Earth was the best-selling fiction book in the U.S. in 1931 and 1932, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932...

, Wang Lung, the protagonist, gets his troublesome uncle and aunt addicted to opium in order to keep them out of his hair. William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs
William Seward Burroughs II was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th...

 autobiographically describes the use of opium and its derivatives. His associate, Jack Black's
Jack Black (author)
Jack Black, born 1871 in Vancouver but raised from infancy in Missouri, was a late 19th century/early 20th century hobo and professional burglar, living out the dying age of the Wild West. He wrote You Can't Win a memoir or sketched autobiography describing his days on the road and life as an...

, memoir You Can't Win, chronicles one man's experience both as an onlooker in the opium dens of San Francisco, and later as a "hop fiend" himself. The book and subsequent movie, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of...

, may allude to opium at one point in the story, when Dorothy
Dorothy Gale
Dorothy Gale is the protagonist of many of the Oz novels by American author L. Frank Baum, and the best friend of Oz's ruler Princess Ozma. Dorothy first appears in Baum's classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and reappears in most of its sequels...

 and her friends are drawn into a field of poppies, in which they fall asleep. Opium is also repeatedly mentioned in the novel, The House of the Scorpion
The House of the Scorpion
The House of the Scorpion is a science fiction novel by Nancy Farmer. It is about a young boy named Matteo Alacrán who is being raised by a drug lord of the same name, usually referred to by his assumed title "El Patrón" throughout the text. It is a story about the struggle to survive as a free...

, by Nancy Farmer
Nancy Farmer (author)
Nancy Farmer is a prominent children's book author from the United States.Farmer was born in Phoenix, Arizona. She earned her B.A. at Reed College and later studied chemistry and entomology at the University of California, Berkeley...

. The plot revolves partly around the poppy flower and opium drug. In George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire
A Song of Ice and Fire
A Song of Ice and Fire is a series of epic fantasy novels by American novelist and screenwriter George R. R. Martin. Martin began writing the series in 1991 and the first volume was published in 1996. Originally planned as a trilogy, the series now consists of five published volumes; a further two...

, a drink referred to in the books as "milk of the poppy" is often used to relieve pain.

See also



  • Forbes family
    Forbes family
    The Forbes family is a wealthy extended American family originating in Boston. The family's fortune originates from trading between North America and China in the 19th century plus other investments in the same period. The name descends from Scottish immigrants, and can be traced back to Sir John...

  • Imperialism in Asia
    Imperialism in Asia
    Imperialism in Asia traces its roots back to the late 15th century with a series of voyages that sought a sea passage to India in the hope of establishing direct trade between Europe and Asia in spices. Before 1500 European economies were largely self-sufficient, only supplemented by minor trade...

  • Jardine Matheson Holdings
    Jardine Matheson Holdings
    Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited often referred to as Jardines, is a multinational corporation incorporated in Bermuda and based in Hong Kong. While listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Singapore Exchange, the vast majority of Jardines shares are traded in Singapore...

  • Laudanum
    Laudanum
    Laudanum , also known as Tincture of Opium, is an alcoholic herbal preparation containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight ....

  • List of opioids
  • Nabidh
    Nabidh
    Nabidh is a drink traditionally made from fruits such as raisins/grapes or dates. Nabidh may be non intoxicating, mildy intoxicating, or heavily intoxicating depending on the level of fermentation.Abu Hurayrah says of the drink:...

  • Opium den
    Opium den
    An opium den was an establishment where opium was sold and smoked. Opium dens were prevalent in many parts of the world in the 19th century, most notably China, Southeast Asia, North America and France...

  • Opium lamp
    Opium lamp
    An opium lamp is an oil lamp designed specifically to facilitate the vaporization and inhalation of opium. Opium lamps differ from conventional lamps for lighting in that they are designed to channel an exact amount of heat upward through their funnel-shaped chimneys...

  • Opium of the people
    Opium of the People
    "Religion is the opium of the people" is one of the most frequently paraphrased statements of Karl Marx. It was translated from the German original, "Die Religion .....

     (metaphoric use)
  • Opium pipe
    Opium pipe
    An opium pipe is a pipe designed for the vaporization and inhalation of opium. True opium pipes allow for the drug to be vaporized while being heated over a special oil lamp known as an opium lamp. It is thought that this manner of "smoking" opium began in the seventeenth century when a special...

  • Opium poppy
    Opium poppy
    Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are extracted. Opium is the source of many opiates, including morphine , thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine...

  • Opium production in Afghanistan
    Opium production in Afghanistan
    Afghanistan has been the greatest illicit opium producer in the entire world, ahead of Burma and the "Golden Triangle" since 1992, excluding the year 2001. Afghanistan is the main producer of opium in the "Golden Crescent". Opium production in Afghanistan has been on the rise since U.S....

  • Opium replacement
    Opium replacement
    Opium replacement simply means the process of replacing the growing as a cash crop of the opium poppy, the source of morphine and heroin, with non-drug crops...

  • Opium wars
    Opium Wars
    The Opium Wars, also known as the Anglo-Chinese Wars, divided into the First Opium War from 1839 to 1842 and the Second Opium War from 1856 to 1860, were the climax of disputes over trade and diplomatic relations between China under the Qing Dynasty and the British Empire...

  • Protocol for Limiting and Regulating the Cultivation of the Poppy Plant, the Production of, International and Wholesale Trade in, and Use of Opium
  • Psychoactive drug
    Psychoactive drug
    A psychoactive drug, psychopharmaceutical, or psychotropic is a chemical substance that crosses the blood–brain barrier and acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it affects brain function, resulting in changes in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior...

  • Sir Thomas Browne
    Thomas Browne
    Sir Thomas Browne was an English author of varied works which reveal his wide learning in diverse fields including medicine, religion, science and the esoteric....

  • Once Upon a Time in America
    Once Upon a Time in America
    Once Upon a Time in America is a 1984 Italian epic crime film co-written and directed by Sergio Leone and starring Robert De Niro and James Woods. The story chronicles the lives of Jewish ghetto youths who rise to prominence in New York City's world of organized crime...

  • Poppy tea
    Poppy tea
    Poppy tea is an infusion brewed from poppy straw or seeds of several species of poppy. The species most commonly used for this purpose is Papaver somniferum, which contains opium....


Further reading

  • Ahmad, Diana L. The Opium Debate and Chinese Exclusion Laws in the Nineteenth-century American West (University of Nevada Press, 2007). Drugs and Racism in the Old West.
  • Armero and Rapaport. The Arts of an Addiction. Qing Dynasty Opium Pipes and Accessories (privately printed, 2005)
  • Booth, Martin. Opium: A History. London: Simon & Schuster, Ltd., 1996.
  • Dikötter, Frank, Lars Laamann, and Zhou Xun. Narcotic culture: a history of drugs in China Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
  • Fairbank, J.K. (1978) The Cambridge History of China: volume 10 part I, Cambridge, CUP
  • Franck Daninos, L'opium légal produit en France, La Recherche
    La Recherche
    La Recherche is a monthly French language popular science magazine covering recent scientific news. It is published by the Société d'éditions scientifiques , a subsidiary of Financière Tallandier....

    , May 2005
  • Furek, Maxim W. (2008) The Death Proclamation of Generation X: A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy of Goth, Grunge and Heroin, i-Universe. ISBN 978-0-595-46319-0
  • Hideyuki Takano; The Shore Beyond Good and Evil: A Report from Inside Burma's Opium Kingdom (2002, Kotan, ISBN 0-9701716-1-7)
  • Latimer, Dean, and Jeff Goldberg with an Introduction by William Burroughs. Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium. New York: Franklin Watts, 1981
  • Martin, Steven. The Art of Opium Antiques. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2007. Photographs and history of Chinese and Vietnamese opium-smoking paraphernalia.
  • McCoy, Alfred W. The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991.
  • Musto, David F.
    David F. Musto
    David Franklin Musto was an American expert on U.S. drug policy and the War on Drugs who served as a government adviser on the subject during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter...

     The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
  • Peters, Gretchen. Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Thomas Dunne Books (2009).

External links