17 Interesting Facts About Opium

Opium use dates back to the Neolithic age. It’s influence can be seen overtime from the lines in Homer’s Odyssey “Into the bowl in which their wine was mixed, she slipped a drug that had the power of robbing grief and anger of their sting and banishing all painful memories” to the songs by Guns N’ Roses, Pink Floyd etc. Though influential it has introduced the society to some of the most dangerous issues like drug addiction. So here we bring some interesting facts about Opium so that you can judge for yourself how good or bad the use of opium and its derivatives can be.


1. It’s ancient

Opium poppy- the plant from which opium and its other derivatives are produced has been depicted even 6000 years back in the time of Sumerians. It was also grown in the Mediterranean region during 5,000 B.C. The flower of opium has been worshiped as a divine gift from god.
Source: listverse.com

2. Derived from a beautiful flower

opium-poppyPapaver somniferum or poppy plant is the source of opium. A milky fluid seeps from the incisions of its unripe seed pod which is hand scraped and then air-dried to produce opium.
Source: opium.com

3. Used in food

poppyPoppy seeds are commonly used for the preparation of pastries and for decorative purpose. Even the oil extracted from opium poppy seed is used for cooking.
Source: softschools.com

4. Opium derivatives

Black tar heroin

Several drugs and medications are derived from opium poppy which includes Heroin, morphine, codeine, and buprenorphine etc. Opioid is the term given to opiates and other synthetically processed drugs from opium poppy.
Source: opium.com, image: wikimedia.org

5. Street names


Easing powder, Fi-do-nie, Gee, Aunti, Aunti Emma, God’s medicine, Black pill, Midnight oil, Toxy, Mira, Pin Gon etc. are some of the street names given to opium.
Source: opium.org

6. Physically and psychologically addictive

Opium is both physically and psychologically addictive like all the other opiate drugs. It binds to the brains chemical receptors and replaces and suppresses the production of all the naturally occurring “feel good” chemicals. As tolerance for the drug increases user needs more to experience the same effect leading to addiction.
Source: opiumabusetreatment.com

7. A gateway drug

heroin.drugOpium can trigger the use of heroin and other opiates once the user is caught in the cycle of opiate addiction. In order to feel the original euphoric high the users will switch to harder drugs.
Source: opiumabusetreatment.com, image: enkivillage.com

8. Influencing literature

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland

Remember Alice in wonderland, the author of this word famous novel Lewis Carroll was an avid opium user and the drug was an inspiration for the story’s character. Poppy’s inspirational potential doesn’t end here, other famous authors like Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde etc. Kubla Khan by Samuel T. Coleridge is considered to be the most popular work inspired by opium use.
Source: listverse.com, image: wikimedia.org

9. A pain killer


Though surgery was an ancient practice the discovery of morphine, an opiate alkaloid found in opium poppy revolutionized it. Considerable advances were made as through morphine pain could be controlled during the surgery. During the civil war soldiers used to inject morphine to make the removal of bullet less painful. Opium and its other derivatives are even presently used.
Source: listverse.com, image: wikimedia.org


10. Myth or truth

Poppy seed rolls
Poppy seed rolls

If you think that having a poppy seed pastry before a drug test won’t fail you in the test then you might want to check your facts. The myth has been busted and it has been proven that poppy seeds contain enough opiate alkaloids to fail you in a drug screening test.
Source: listverse.com, image: wikimedia.org

11. Chemical making a drug test for opium positive

Thebaine is the chemical found in the hair during a drug screening test for illegal drugs created from opium.
Source: bioweb.uwlax.edu

12. Chinese addiction

Chinese opium densDuring the 19th century opium was so popular in China that an estimated quarter of Chinese men were addicted to this drug. At first it was thought to be social and joyful before its addictiveness was known and was smoked in opium dens as a pastime.
Source: listverse.com, image: wikimedia.org

13. Opium wars

Opium wars
Opium wars

Prohibition of opium by China after its addictiveness came to light opium wars was triggered between China and Britain. Its prohibition had a huge effect on Britain’s cash crop as the massive opium production in British India was a huge source of Wealth to the British Empire. The first war being fought from 1839-42 and the second from 1856-60 went in the favor of British and China was forced to allow the import of Opium in their borders.
Source: Wikipedia, image: wikimedia.org

14. A cash crop

Afghanistan opium productionOpium is a cash crop with a huge market. A farmer growing opium poppy earns $300 from 1 kg of opium which is sold to a drug dealer for $800. If the opium is converted to heroin the dealer makes a hefty $ 16,000 profit.
Source: listverse.com, image: wikimedia.org

15. Born Addicts

Baby CryingThe proportion of babies born with opiate withdrawal symptoms has tripled between year 2000 and 2009. Every one baby born in an hour suffers from neonatal abstinence syndrome because their mothers used opiates during the time of pregnancy.
Source: opium.com, image: wikimedia.org

16. Quitting cold turkey

When an opiate user tries to quit taking opium, withdrawal symptoms kicks in like a bad case of flu and in some cases goosebumps. This gives it the name quitting “cold turkey.”
Source: treatment4addiction.com

17. Opium abuse

Apart from the danger of addiction an opium user can die of overdose. An opium overdose can lead to respiratory failure and eventually death.
Source: opium.org