Opium is the name given to the milky latex that comes from the unripened pod of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). When harvesting opium, the poppy pods are scored with a sharp blade and the latex that oozes out is collected. This opium latex is about 12% morphine, which is the opiate that is used to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids. The latex also contains the opiates, codeine and thebaine. Opiates like opium, morphine and codeine are depressant (sedative) drugs. They slow down body functions like heart rate and breathing. They also reduce pain and have been used to synthesise a very wide range of painkilling drugs. Unfortunately, opiate drugs have the potential to be addictive. While opium is rarely used recreationally in the UK today, it has a long and colourful history of use worldwide.
Opium has been a major item of trade for centuries and has long been used as a painkiller and sedative. It was well known to the ancient Greeks, who named it opion ("poppy juice"), from which the present name - a Latinisation - is derived. The image of the poppy capsule was an attribute of deities, long before opium was extracted from its milky latex. At the Metropolitan Museum's Assyrian relief gallery, a winged deity in a bas-relief from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud, dedicated in 879 BC, bears a bouquet of poppy capsules on long stems, described by the museum as "pomegranates". Opium can be smoked, sometimes in combination with tobacco. Opium smoking was often associated with immigrant Chinese communities around the world, with "opium dens" becoming notorious fixtures of many Chinatowns.
In the 19th century, the smuggling of opium to China from India, particularly by the British, was the cause of the Opium Wars. It led to Britain seizing Hong Kong and to what the Chinese term the "century of shame". This illegal trade became one of the world's most valuable single commodity trades and was described by the eminent Harvard University historian John K. Fairbank as "the longest continued and systematic international crime of modern times." There were no legal restrictions on the importation or use of opium in the United States until the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. Medicines often contained opium without any warning label. Today, there are numerous national and international laws governing the production and distribution of narcotic substances. In particular, Article 23 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs requires opium-producing nations to designate a government agency to take physical possession of licit opium crops as soon as possible after harvest and conduct all wholesaling and exporting through that agency. Opium's pharmaceutical use is strictly controlled worldwide and non-pharmaceutical uses are generally prohibited.
A narcotic drug that is obtained from the unripe seedpods of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), a plant of the family Papaveraceae. Opium is obtained by slightly incising the seed capsules of the poppy after the plant's flower petals have fallen. The slit seedpods exude a milky latex that coagulates and changes colour, turning into a gumlike brown mass upon exposure to air. This raw opium may be ground into a powder, sold as lumps, cakes, or bricks, or treated further to obtain derivatives such as morphine, codeine, and heroin. Opium and the drugs obtained from it are called opiates.
What is Opium?
Heroin is derived from the morphine alkaloid found in opium. Opium is a highly addictive narcotic drug acquired in the dried latex form the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) seed pod. Traditionally the unripened pod is slit open and the sap seeps out and dries on the outer surface of the pod. The resulting yellow-brown latex, which is scraped off of the pod, is bitter in taste and contains varying amounts of alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, thebaine and papaverine. Other synthetic or semisynthetic opium derivatives include fentanyl, methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. In the U.S., opium is rarely grown and cultivated for illicit commercial use. Most supplies in the U.S. come from Latin American and Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the worldwide capital of opium cultivation, leading to about three-quarters of the world's heroin supply.
Opium's history dates back to 3400 B.C., when the first records of its cultivation and use are known.
It was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a potent pain reliever. It was grown in Southeast Asia and known as the "joy plant", or Hul Gil, by the Sumerians.
The Assyrians and the Egyptians also cultivated opium, and it traveled along the Silk Road (a series of travel routes) between Europe and China where it was involved in the beginning of the Opium Wars of the 1800s.
Opium dens were places where opium could be bought and sold, and were also found worldwide, especially in Southeast Asia, China and Europe.
In the U.S. in the 1800's, opium dens sprang up in the west, such as in San Francisco's Chinatown, and spread east to New York. Chinese immigrants who came to the U.S. for railroad and the gold rush work often brought their opium with them for its intoxicating and pain-relieving effects.
United States Opium Dens:
Thousands of Chinese came to America to work on railroads and in the California gold fields during the 1849 Gold Rush. They brought with them the habit of opium smoking. Chinese immigrants soon established opium dens - places to buy, sell and smoke opium - in so-called Chinatowns throughout the West. By the 1870s, opium smoking had become a popular habit for many Americans, and in 1875, San Francisco became the first city to pass legislation trying to limit opium use. The ordinance made it a misdemeanor to maintain or frequent an opium den. Some people believed that opium smoking would encourage prostitution and other crimes. These concerns, and fears of unemployment among white Americans, fed into an anti-Chinese campaign that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 - a 10-year moratorium on Chinese immigration.
Opium is a depressant drug, which means it slows down the messages traveling between your brain and body. The opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L.) from which opium is derived is one of the earliest plants of which there is recorded medicinal use. Evidence of opium cultivation by the Sumerian people dates to 3400BCE, although some scholars believe opium use predates Sumerian culture. Opium poppy pods hold a milky substance called latex that contains a number of chemicals, including morphine and codeine.1 Latex is extracted from the opium pods and dried to create opium. Typically, it is be further refined by boiling and drying again.
Opium and its use:
Opium in its raw form can be drunk, swallowed or smoked, some process it further to obtain heroin. Opium eating in general refers to swallowing it or drinking it after it is dissolved in a variety of liquids. Raw opium has a bitter taste and eating it neat is not enjoyable. Despite this, it has been taken orally in many countries of the world including India. Smoking opium was mainly confined to China and some other countries of the South Eastern Asian Region. Currently, opium continues to be consumed by traditional means i.e. eating and smoking more so in many third world countries where it is grown.
White, Brown, or Black:
Heroin is sold as a white or brown powder, or as a sticky black substance known as "black tar heroin." Heroin that comes from Colombia tends to be brown and chalky, Ciccarone said. Heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan is also brown, and it tends to be sold in Europe, he noted. White-powder heroin - which is more refined and pure, and used to arrive from Southeast Asia - is becoming rarer in the United States, Ciccarone said. He said much of the powdered heroin sold in the U.S. has fillers or contaminants added, such as sugars, starches and powdered milk. "Black tar" heroin comes to the U.S. from Mexico, which is the only country that produces it, Ciccarone said. It looks like a black Tootsie Roll; when the drug is cold, it's a hard substance, but when it's warm, it's sticky, like roofing tar. Black-tar heroin is formed by an industrial process, so the drug is not purified and is lower-grade, Ciccarone said. It's also more similar to opium in its chemical makeup than other forms of heroin, and it has other opioid drugs - such as morphine and codeine - in it, he said.
Speculations on the Nature and Pattern of Opium Smoking
Opium smoking began spreading slowly but steadily in China from early in the 18th Century. It grew through the 19th Century to the point that by the end of the century it became a nearly universal practice among males in some regions. While estimates vary, it appears that most smokers consumed six grams or less daily. Addicted smokers were occasionally found among those smoking as little as three grams daily, but more often addicted smokers reported use of about 12 grams a day or more. An individual smoking twelve grams of opium probably ingests about 80 mg. of morphine. Thirty mg. of morphine daily may induce some withdrawal signs, while 60 mg. daily are clearly addicting. While testimony varied widely, it appears likely that most opium smokers were not disabled by their practice. This appears to be the case today, too, among those peoples in southeast Asia who have continued to smoke opium. There appear to be social and perhaps psychophysiological forces which work toward limiting the liabilities of drug use.
17 July 2020:
The largest study on opium use and outcomes after bypass surgery has found that - in contrast to widely held beliefs - it is linked with more deaths and heart attacks. Regarding when to start opium cessation, he said: The first outpatient visit after bypass surgery is a sensible time to start talking about stopping the use of opium. This gives patients about one month to recover from the physical stress of the operation before commencing withdrawal. Dr. Masoudkabir noted that the study findings cannot be extrapolated to other opiates like heroine and morphine. He concluded: Taking our findings together with those of previous studies, there is now sufficient evidence to conclude that it's a falsehood that opium protects against heart disease and its risk factors.
Regarded as analgesic, anodyne, antitussive, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, calmative, carminative, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, hemostat, hypotensive, hypnotic, narcotic, nervine, sedative, sudorific, tonic, poppy has been used in folk remedies for asthma, bladder, bruises, cancer, catarrh, cold, colic, conjunctivitis, cough, diarrhea, dysentery, dysmenorrhea, enteritis, enterorrhagia, fever, flux, headache, hemicrania, hypertension, hypochondria, hysteria, inflammation, insomnia, leucorrhea, malaria, mania, melancholy, nausea, neuralgia, otitis, pertussis, prolapse, rectitis, rheumatism, snakebite, spasm, spermatorrhea, sprain, stomachache, swelling, toothache, tumor, ulcers, and warts. Hartwell (1967 - 1971) mentions opium as a remedy for such cancerous conditions as cancer of the skin, stomach, tongue, uterus, carcinoma of the breast, polyps of the ear, nose, and vagina; scleroses of the liver, spleen, and uterus; and tumors of the abdomen, bladder, eyes, fauces, liver, spleen, and uvula. The plant, boiled in oil, is said to aid indurations and tumors of the liver. The tincture of the plant is said to help cancerous ulcers. Smoking the plant is said to cure cancer of the tongue but I suspect it is more liable to cause it. The capsule decoction and an injection of the seed decoction are said to help uterine cancer. Egyptians claim to become more cheerful, talkative, and industrious following the eating of opium. When falling asleep, they have visions of "orchards and pleasure gardens embellished with many trees, herbs, and various flowers." Lebanese use their opium wisely; to quiet excitable people, to relieve toothache, headache, incurable pain, and for boils, coughs, dysentery, and itches. Algerians tamp opium into tooth cavities. Iranians use the seed for epistaxis; a paste made from Linum, Malva, and Papaver is applied to boils. In Ayurvedic medicine, the seeds are considered aphrodisiac, constipating, and tonic; the fruit antitussive, binding, cooling, deliriant, excitant, and intoxicant, yet anaphrodisiac if freely indulged; the plant is considered aphrodisiac, astringent, fattening, stimulant, tonic, and good for the complexion; in Unani medicine, the fruit is suggested as well for anemia, chest pains, dysentery, fever, but is correctly deemed hypnotic, narcotic, and perhaps harmful to the brain (Duke, 1983c). The plant provides a narcotic that induces sleep; a sleep so heavy that the person becomes insensible. When the Roman soldiers at Golgotha took pity on their prisoner on the cross, they added this poppy juice to the potion of sour wine. Its compounds are used in medicine as analgesic, anodyne, antipasmodic, hypnotic, narcotic, sedative, and as respiratory depressants and to relieve severe pain. Jewish authorities maintain that the plant and its stupefacience were well known among the Hebrews more than 2,000 years ago. The Jerushalmi warns against opium eating. Although the seeds contain no narcotic alkaloids, urinalysis following their ingestion may suggest the morphine or heroin addict's urinalysis (Duke, 1973).
In the capital city of Thebes, Egyptians begin cultivation of opium thebaicum,grown in their famous poppy fields.The opium trade flourishes during the reign of Thutmose IV, Akhenaton and King Tutankhamen. The trade route included the Phoenicians and Minoans who move the profitable item across the Mediterranean Sea into Greece, Carthage, and Europe.
On the island of Cyprus, the "Peoples of the Sea" craft surgical-quality culling knives to harvest opium, which they would cultivate, trade and smoke before the fall of Troy.
c. 460 B.C.
Hippocrates, "the father of medicine", dismisses the magical attributes of opium but acknowledges its usefulness as a narcotic and styptic in treating internal diseases, diseases of women and epidemics.
Alexander the Great introduces opium to the people of Persia and India.
Opium thebaicum, from the Egytpian fields at Thebes, is first introduced to China by Arab traders.
Opium disappears for two hundred years from European historical record. Opium had become a taboo subject for those in circles of learning during the Holy Inquisition. In the eyes of the Inquisition, anything from the East was linked to the Devil.
The Portugese, while trading along the East China Sea, initiate the smoking ofopium. The effects were instantaneous as they discovered but it was a practice the Chinese considered barbaric and subversive.
During the height of the Reformation, opium is reintroduced into European medical literature by Paracelsus as laudanum. These black pills or "Stones of Immortality" were made of opium thebaicum, citrus juice and quintessence of gold and prescribed as painkillers.
Residents of Persia and India begin eating and drinking opium mixtures for recreational use. Portugese merchants carrying cargoes of Indian opium through Macao direct its trade flow into China.
Ships chartered by Elizabeth I are instructed to purchase the finest Indian opium and transport it back to England.
English apothecary, Thomas Sydenham, introduces Sydenham's Laudanum, a compound of opium, sherry wine and herbs. His pills along with others of the time become popular remedies for numerous ailments.
The Dutch export shipments of Indian opium to China and the islands of Southeast Asia; the Dutch introduce the practice of smoking opium in a tobacco pipe to the Chinese.
Chinese emperor, Yung Cheng, issues an edictprohibiting the smoking of opium and its domestic sale, except under license for use as medicine.
The British East India Company assumes control of Bengal and Bihar, opium-growing districts of India. British shipping dominates the opium trade out of Calcutta to China.
Linnaeus, the father of botany, first classifies the poppy, Papaver somniferum - 'sleep-inducing', in his book Genera Plantarum.
The British East India Company's import of opium to China reaches a staggering two thousand chests of opium per year.
The British East India Company establishes a monopoly on the opium trade. All poppy growers in India were forbidden to sell opium to competitor trading companies.
China's emperor, Kia King, bans opium completely, making trade and poppy cultivation illegal.
The British Levant Company purchases nearly half of all of the opium coming out of Smyrna, Turkey strictly for importation to Europe and the United States.
Friedrich Sertuerner of Paderborn, Germany discovers the active ingredient of opium by dissolving it in acid then neutralizing it with ammonia. The result: alkaloids - Principium somniferum or morphine. Physicians believe that opium had finally been perfected and tamed. Morphine is lauded as "God's own medicine" for its reliablity, long-lasting effects and safety.
A smuggler from Boston, Massachusetts, Charles Cabot, attempts to purchase opium from the British, then smuggle it into China under the auspices of British smugglers.
American John Cushing, under the employ of his uncles' business, James and Thomas H. Perkins Company of Boston, acquires his wealth from smuggling Turkish opium to Canton.
John Jacob Astor of New York City joins the opium smuggling trade. His American Fur Company purchases ten tons of Turkish opium then ships the contraband item to Canton on the Macedonian. Astor would later leave the China opium trade and sell solely to England.
Writer John Keats and other English literary personalities experiment with opium intended for strict recreational use - simply for the high and taken at extended, non-addictive intervals
Thomas De Quincey publishes his autobiographical account of opium addiction, 'Confessions of an English Opium-eater.'
E. Merck & Company of Darmstadt, Germany, begins commercial manufacturing of morphine.
The British dependence on opium for medicinal and recreational use reaches an all time high as 22,000 pounds of opium is imported from Turkey and India. Jardine-Matheson & Company of London inherit India and its opium from the British East India Company once the mandate to rule and dictate the trade policies of British India are no longer in effect.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning falls under the spell of morphine. This, however, does not impede her ability to write "poetical paragraphs."
March 18, 1839
Lin Tse-Hsu, imperial Chinese commissioner in charge of suppressing the opium traffic, orders all foreign traders to surrender their opium. In response, the British send expenditionary warships to the coast of China, beginning The First Opium War.
New Englanders bring 24,000 pounds of opium into the United States. This catches the attention of U.S. Customs which promptly puts a duty fee on the import.
The Chinese are defeated by the British in the First Opium War. Along with paying a large indemnity, Hong Kong is ceded to the British.
The British arrive in lower Burma, importing large quantities of opium from India and selling it through a government-controlled opium monopoly.
Dr. Alexander Wood of Edinburgh discovers a new technique of administering morphine, injection with a syringe. He finds the effects of morphine on his patients instantaneous and three times more potent.
The British and French renew their hostilities against China in the Second Opium War. In the aftermath of the struggle, China is forced to pay another indemnity. The importation of opium is legalized. Opium production increases along the highlands of Southeast Asia.
English researcher, C.R. Wright first synthesizes heroin, or diacetylmorphine, by boiling morphine over a stove. In San Francisco, smoking opium in the city limits is banned and is confined to neighboring Chinatowns and their opium dens.
Britain passes the Opium Act with hopes of reducing opium consumption. Under the new regulation, the selling of opium is restricted to registered Chinese opium smokers and Indian opium eaters while the Burmese are strictly prohibited from smoking opium.
The British acquire Burma's northeast region, the Shan state. Production and smuggling of opium along the lower region of Burma thrives despite British efforts to maintain a strict monopoly on the opium trade.
U.S. Congress, in its earliest law-enforcement legislation on narcotics, imposes a tax on opium and morphine. Tabloids owned by William Randolph Hearst publish stories of white women being seduced by Chinese men and their opium to invoke fear of the 'Yellow Peril', disguised as an "anti-drug" campaign.
Heinrich Dreser working for The Bayer Company of Elberfeld, Germany, finds that diluting morphine with acetyls produces a drug without the common morphine side effects.Bayer begins production of diacetylmorphine and coins the name "heroin." Heroin would not be introduced commercially for another three years.
The philanthropic Saint James Society in the U.S. mounts a campaign to supply free samples of heroin through the mail to morphine addicts who are trying give up their habits. Efforts by the British and French to control opium production in Southeast Asia are successful. Nevertheless, this Southeast region, referred to as the 'Golden Triangle', eventually becomes a major player in the profitable opium trade during the 1940's.
In various medical journals, physicians discuss the side effects of using heroin as a morphine step-down cure. Several physicians would argue that their patients suffered from heroin withdrawal symptoms equal to morphine addiction.
Heroin addiction rises to alarming rates.
U.S. Congress bans opium.
China and England finally enact a treaty restricting the Sino-Indian opium trade. Several physicians experiment with treatments for heroin addiction. Dr. Alexander Lambert and Charles B. Towns tout their popular cure as the most "advanced, effective and compassionate cure" for heroin addiction. The cure consisted of a 7 day regimen, which included a five day purge of heroin from the addict's system with doses of belladonna delirium. U.S. Congress passes the Pure Food and Drug Act requiring contents labeling on patent medicines by pharmaceutical companies. As a result, the availabilty of opiates and opiate consumers significantly declines.
The first federal drug prohibition passes in the U.S. outlawing the imporation of opium. It was passed in preparation for the Shanghai Conference, at which the US presses for legislation aimed at suppressing the sale of opium to China.
February 1, 1909
The International Opium Commission convenes in Shanghai. Heading the U.S. delegation are Dr. Hamilton Wright and Episcopal Bishop Henry Brent. Both would try to convince the international delegation of the immoral and evil effects of opium.
After 150 years of failed attempts to rid the country of opium, the Chinese are finally successful in convincing the British to dismantle the India-China opium trade.
Dec. 17, 1914
The passage of Harrison Narcotics Act which aims to curb drug (especially cocaine but also heroin) abuse and addiction. It requires doctors, pharmacists and others who prescribed narcotics to register and pay a tax.
The U.S. Treasury Department's Narcotics Division (the first federal drug agency) bans all legal narcotics sales. With the prohibition of legal venues to purchase heroin, addicts are forced to buy from illegal street dealers.
In the wake of the first federal ban on opium, a thriving black market opens up in New York's Chinatown.
The majority of illegal heroin smuggled into the U.S. comes from China and is refined in Shanghai and Tietsin.
During World War II, opium trade routes are blocked and the flow of opium from India and Persia is cut off. Fearful of losing their opium monopoly, the French encourage Hmong farmers to expand their opium production.
Burma gains its independence from Britain at the end of World War II. Opium cultivation and trade flourishes in the Shan states.
Corsican gangsters dominate the U.S. heroin market through their connection with Mafia drug distributors. After refining the raw Turkish opium in Marseille laboratories, the heroin is made easily available for purchase by junkies on New York City streets.
U.S. efforts to contain the spread of Communism in Asia involves forging alliances with tribes and warlords inhabiting the areas of the Golden Triangle, (an expanse covering Laos, Thailand and Burma), thus providing accessibility and protection along the southeast border of China. In order to maintain their relationship with the warlords while continuing to fund the struggle against communism, the U.S. and France supply the drug warlords and their armies with ammunition, arms and air transport for the production and sale of opium. The result: an explosion in the availability and illegal flow of heroin into the United States and into the hands of drug dealers and addicts.
Burma outlaws opium.
U.S. involvement in Vietnam is blamed for the surge in illegal heroin being smuggled into the States. To aid U.S. allies, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sets up a charter airline, Air America, to transport raw opium from Burma and Laos. As well, some of the opium would be transported to Marseille by Corsican gangsters to be refined into heroin and shipped to the U.S via the French connection. The number of heroin addicts in the U.S. reaches an estimated 750,000.
Legendary singer, Janis Joplin, is found dead at Hollywood's Landmark Hotel, a victim of an "accidental heroin overdose."
Heroin exportation from Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle, controlled by Shan warlord, Khun Sa, becomes a major source for raw opium in the profitable drug trade.
July 1, 1973
President Nixon creates the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) under the Justice Dept. to consolidate virtually all federal powers of drug enforcement in a single agency.
Saigon falls. The heroin epidemic subsides. The search for a new source of raw opium yields Mexico's Sierra Madre. "Mexican Mud" would temporarily replace "China White" heroin until 1978.
The U.S. and Mexican governments find a means to eliminate the source of raw opium - by spraying poppy fields with Agent Orange. The eradication plan is termed a success as the amount of "Mexican Mud" in the U.S. drug market declines. In response to the decrease in availability of "Mexican Mud", another source of heroin is found in the Golden Crescent area - Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, creating a dramatic upsurge in the production and trade of illegal heroin.
Comedian John Belushi of Animal House fame, dies of a heroin-cocaine - "speedball" overdose.
Sept. 13, 1984
U.S. State Department officials conclude, after more than a decade of crop substitution programs for Third World growers of marijuana, coca or opium poppies, that the tactic cannot work without eradication of the plants and criminal enforcement. Poor results are reported from eradication programs in Burma, Pakistan, Mexico and Peru.
Opium production in Burma increases under the rule of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), the Burmese junta regime. The single largest heroin seizure is made in Bangkok. The U.S. suspects that the 2,400-pound shipment of heroin, en route to New York City, originated from the Golden Triangle region, controlled by drug warlord, Khun Sa.
A U.S. Court indicts Khun Sa, leader of the Shan United Army and reputed drug warlord, on heroin trafficking charges. The U.S. Attorney General's office charges Khun Sa with importing 3,500 pounds of heroin into New York City over the course of eighteen months, as well as holding him responsible for the source of the heroin seized in Bangkok.
Colombia's drug lords are said to be introducing a high-grade form of heroin into the United States.
The Thai army with support from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) launches its operation to destroy thousands of acres of opium poppies from the fields of the Golden Triangle region.
October 31, 1993
Heroin takes another well-known victim. Twenty-three-year-old actor River Phoenix dies of a heroin-cocaine overdose, the same "speedball" combination that killed comedian John Belushi.
Efforts to eradicate opium at its source remains unsuccessful. The Clinton Administration orders a shift in policy away from the anti- drug campaigns of previous administrations. Instead the focus includes "institution building" with the hope that by "strengthening democratic governments abroad, [it] will foster law-abiding behavior and promote legitimate economic opportunity."
Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the Seattle-based alternative rock band, Nirvana, dies of heroin-related suicide.
The Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia is now the leader in opium production, yielding 2,500 tons annually. According to U.S. drug experts, there are new drug trafficking routes from Burma through Laos, to southern China, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Khun Sa, one of Shan state's most powerful drug warlords, "surrenders" to SLORC. The U.S. is suspicious and fears that this agreement between the ruling junta regime and Khun Sa includes a deal allowing "the opium king" to retain control of his opium trade but in exchange end his 30-year-old revolutionary war against the government.
International drug trafficking organizations, including China, Nigeria, Colombia and Mexico are said to be "aggressively marketing heroin in the United States and Europe."
Bumper opium crop of 4,600 tons in Afghanistan. UN Drug Control Program estimates around 75% of world's heroin production is of Afghan origin.
Taliban leader Mullah Omar bans poppy cultivation in Afghanistan; United Nations Drug Control Program confirms opium production eradicated.
Portugal decriminalizes all drugs for personal consumption.
War in Afghanistan; heroin floods the Pakistan market. Taleban regime overthrown.
U.N. Drug Control and Crime Prevention Agency announces Afghanistan has regained its position as the world's largest opium producer.
UK Government health plan will make heroin available free on National Health Service "to all those with a clinical need for it". Consumers are sceptical.
State sponsored heroin trafficking: Korea's attempt to penetrate the Australian heroin market hits rocky waters.
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launch special task force to curb surge in Net-based sales of narcotics from online pharmacies.
Consumer groups file a lawsuit against Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma. The company is alleged to have used fraudulent patents and deceptive trade practices to block the prescription of cheap generic medications for patients in pain.
Singapore announces plans to execute a self-medicating heroin user, Chew Seow Leng. Under Singapore law, chronic heroin users with a high physiological tolerance to the drug are deemed to be "traffickers". Consumers face a mandatory death sentence if they take more than 15 grams (0.5 ounces) of heroin a day.
A Tasmanian company publishes details of its genetically-engineered opium poppies. Top1 [thebaine oripavine poppy 1] mutants do not produce morphine or codeine. Tasmania is the source of some 40% of the world's legal opiates; its native crop of poppies is already being re-engineered with the mutant stain. Conversely, some investigators expect that the development of genetically-engineered plants and microorganisms to manufacture potent psychoactive compounds will become widespread later in the 21st century. Research into transgenic psychotropic botanicals and microbes is controversial; genes from mutants have a habit of spreading into the wild population by accident as well as design.
The FDA grants a product license to Purdue's pain medication Palladone: high dose, extended-release hydromorphone capsules. Palladone is designed to provide "around-the-clock" pain-relief for opioid-tolerant users.
Unannounced withdrawal of newly-issued DEA guidelines to pain specialists. The guidelines had pledged that physicians wouldn't be arrested for providing adequate pain-relief to their patients. DEA drug-diversion chief Patricia Good earlier stated that the new rules were meant to eliminate an "aura of fear" that stopped doctors treating pain aggressively.
McLean pain-treatment specialist Dr William E. Hurwitz is sent to prison for allegedly "excessive" prescription of opioid painkillers to chronic pain patients. Testifying in court, Dr Hurwitz describes the abrupt stoppage of prescriptions as "tantamount to torture".
Researchers at Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center in Emeryville, California, inhibit expression of the AGS3 gene in the core of nucleus accumbens. Experimentally blocking the AGS3 gene curbs the desire for heroin in addicted rodents. By contrast, activation of the reward centres of the nucleus accumbens is immensely pleasurable and addictive. The possible effects of overexpression and gene amplification of AGS3 remain unexplored.
Neuroscientists close in on the (hypothetical) final common pathway of pleasure in the brain. The "hedonic hotspot" is activated by agonists of the mu opioid receptor. In rats, at least, the hedonic hotspot is located in a single cubic millimeter of tissue: the substrates of pure bliss may lie in medium spiny neurons in the rostrodorsal region of the medial shell of the nucleus accumbens.
In Mexico, Congress passes a bill legalising the private personal use of all drugs, including opium and all opiate-based drugs. President Vicente Fox promises to to sign the measure, but buckles a day later under US government pressure. The bill is referred back to Congress for changes. "We welcome the idea of Mexico reviewing the legislation to avoid the perception that drug use would be tolerated in Mexico," says the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
University of Southern California neuroscientist Irving Biederman publishes in the American Scientist a theory of knowledge-acquisition likening all human beings to "junkies". On this hypothesis, knowledge junkies are driven to learn more information by a craving for the brain's own natural opium-like substances.
The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports that Afghanistan's harvest in 2006 will be around 6,100 metric tons of opium - a world record. This figure amounts to some 92% of global opium supply.
Senior UK police officer Howard Roberts advocates legalisation of heroin and its availability without charge on National Health Service (NHS) prescription.
Afghanistan's poppy production rises an estimated 15 percent over 2006. Afghanistan now accounts for 95 percent of the world's opium poppy crop, a 3 percentage point increase over last year. The US State Department's top counternarcotics official Tom Schweich claims that Afghanistan is now "providing close to 95 percent of the world's heroin".
Death of Golden Triangle opium lord and former Shan separatist leader Khun Sa (1933-2007). At its peak, Khun Sa's narcotics empire controlled production of an estimated quarter of the world's heroin supply.
A report by The Pew Centre, a Washington think tank, reveals that over one in 100 adults in the USA is now in jail: some 2,300,000 prisoners, triple the rate in the 1980s. American prisons now hold around a quarter of the world's inmates. Nearly half of US federal prisoners are imprisoned for non-violent, drug-related "crimes". Law professor Paul Cassell of the University of Utah comments on the size of the US prison population: "it's the price of living in the most free society in the world."
Swiss voters overwhelmingly endorse a permanent and comprehensive legalized heroin program.
FDA announces plans further to restrict access to opioid-based pain-relievers by American citizens and their doctors.
According to the World Health Organization, around 80% of the world's population does not have adequate access to pain relief. The international organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) blames a failure of leadership, inadequate training of health care workers, and "over-zealous drug control efforts".
Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms that mice (and humans?) can synthesise their own morphine.
Seattle hosts Kappa Therapeutics, the world's first conference dedicated to kappa opioids and antagonists. The kappa receptor is the "nasty" opioid receptor, bound by dynorphin. Selective, orally active kappa opioid antagonists, notably JDTic and the shorter-acting zyklophin, are subjectively enjoyable and relaxing; but they (probably) lack significant "abuse potential". Investigators hope that selective kappa opioid antagonists can be used therapeutically to treat anxiety disorders, clinical depression, anhedonia, eating disorders, alcoholism and a variety of substance abuse disorders.
Unexpected discovery that the licensed antidepressant tianeptine (Stablon) is a full agonist at the mu and delta opioid receptors with negligible effect at the kappa opioid receptors.
Phase 1 study planned or orally active kappa antagonist LY2456302
State-owned Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation Embrapa announce the discovery of mood-brightening and anxiolytic opioid peptides in coffee that exert a longer-lasting effect than morphine.
Opium is a highly addictive narcotic that is extracted from the poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. The opium poppy is the key source for many narcotics, including morphine, codeine, and heroin.
The poppy plant, Papaver somniferum, is the source of opium. It was grown in the Mediterranean region as early as 5000 B.C., and has since been cultivated in a number of countries throughout the world. The milky fluid that seeps from its incisions in the unripe seed pod of this poppy has been scraped by hand and air-dried to produce what is known as opium. A more modern method of harvesting for pharmaceutical use is by the industrial poppy straw process of extract-ing alkaloids from the mature dried plant (concentrate of poppy straw).
Opium can be a liquid, solid, or powder, but most poppy straw concentrate is available commercially as a fine brownish powder.
Opium can be smoked, intravenously injected, or taken in pill form. Opium is also abused in combination with other drugs. The intensity of opium's euphoric effects on the brain depends on the dose and route of administration. It works quickly when smoked because the opiate chemicals pass into the lungs, where they are quickly absorbed and then sent to the brain. An opium "high" is very similar to a heroin "high"; users experience a euphoric rush, followed by relaxation and the relief of physical pain.
Understand the risks:
Opium can cause a person's breathing to slow down, potentially to the point of unconsciousness and death with large doses. Other effects can include nausea, confusion and constipation. It also can dry out the mouth and mucous membranes in the nose. Use of opium with other substances that depress the central nervous system, such as alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or general anesthetics, increases the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression. Long-term use can lead to drug tolerance, meaning a person needs more of the drug to get similar euphoric effects. Opium use can also lead to physical dependence and addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if long-term use is reduced or stopped.
(Study) Opium Use = Greater Risk of Cancer:
The authors of the paper found that opium users have on average a 40% greater risk of developing cancer (forms including esophageal, gastric, lung, bladder, liver, brain and, for heavy users, pancreatic cancers) than non-users. Opium users who also use tobacco have a 49% greater risk, while those who do not have a 32% greater risk. The authors also found that the rate of cancer incidence varied with the quantity of opium used over time, such that the heaviest users saw on average a 70% greater risk of cancer than non-users, while the lightest users experienced a 24% greater risk. The increased risk of cancer compared to non-users held both for those who ingest opium (49%) and those who smoke it (32%). This study of the relationship between opium use and cancer is one of the most powerful and detailed to date. It is the only prospective analysis featuring such a large sample size (over 50,000 individuals), including a uniquely large group of opium users (8,486), based on more than a decade of follow-up studying the incidence of overall and site-specific cancers in humans.
This is essentially a purified extract, the inert matter having teen removed in its preparation. It has been found that many persons who can not take the crude drug without experiencing many unpleasant symptoms, can take the extract without its being followed by any of these symptoms. The dose is 1/4 to 1/2 grain. The extract may be combined with other extracts, and may, if desired, be dissolved in water.
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).
Man held with 3-kg opium, Rs 4 lakh drug money - The police claimed to have arrested a man and seized 3 kg of opium and Rs 4.03 lakh drug money from his possession during a late Sunday evening operation conducted by police personnel, led by ... Monday February 06, 2023 - tribuneindia.com
Myanmar Opium Farming Booming After Coup: UN - Opium poppy production in Myanmar ramped up dramatically following the 2021 military coup, the UN's drugs office said Thursday, as political and economic turmoil drove farmers to cultivate the crop. Wednesday January 25, 2023 - barrons.com
Opium production in Myanmar surges to nine-year high - The production of opium increased sharply in Myanmar, rising to a nine-year high, according to the UN. It touched nearly 795 metric tonnes in 2022, nearly double the production in 2021 - 423 metric ... Wednesday January 25, 2023 - news.yahoo.com
Afghan opium and drug yield, concerns India - With Afghanistan re-emerging as the global narcotic hub with cartels now manufacturing value added high-cost narcotics and psychotropic products like ‘meth’, besides exporting huge amounts of ... Friday January 27, 2023 - newindianexpress.com
UN: Myanmar opium cultivation has surged 33% amidviolence - The production of opium in Myanmar has flourished since the military's seizure of power, with the cultivation of poppies up by a third in the past year as eradication efforts have dropped off and the ... Wednesday January 25, 2023 - msn.com
Myanmar Opium Farming Booming After Coup: UN - Opium poppy production in Myanmar ramped up dramatically following the 2021 military coup, according to the UN's drugs office AFP Opium poppy production in Myanmar ramped up dramatically following ... Wednesday January 25, 2023 - ibtimes.com