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Opium Facts

Opium is derived from the poppy plant and can produce euphoric effects when smoked.  According to the DEA, the drug is often refined into other drugs such as heroin, morphine or other prescription opiates that are used for the treatment of pain.  Opium has long been used to produce analgesic effects upon the user and was used hundreds of years ago by the Chinese during surgery and ritualistic events.  Here is a look at some interesting facts about opium use, production, control and addiction:

Opium Facts

Opium comes from the poppy plant.

  • Opium use dates back to the Neolithic Age
  • The Chinese commonly used opium during rituals & surgery
  • Opium was not widely used for recreational purposes until the 17th century in China
  • Opium addiction was first discovered by the Chinese in the mid 17th century
  • The drug was once under British control
  • About 7 metric tons of opium are produced each year worldwide
  • Opium can be refined into morphine and other opiates
  • Opium that is refined to heroin produces a highly volatile, extremely addictive form of the drug
  • More than 75% of the world’s supply of opium comes form Afghanistan
  • Opium is highly addictive
  • The opium poppy can produce up to 80 alkaloids that are used to reduce pain
  • Opium or the poppy plant has been widely referenced in movies and literature but likely the most famous instance of this is the use of the poppy plants in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in which the wicked witch used them to put Dorothy & her friends to sleep before they reached the Emerald City
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