Heroin, morphine, and other opiates trace their origins to a single plant—the opium poppy. Cultivation of the plant dates back to the earliest years of human civilization, and opium use was well known in ancient Mesopotamia. The narcotic drug has been used both recreationally and as a medicine for centuries. Opium derivatives, including morphine, became widely used pain relievers, particularly in the s. Heroin, too, was first synthesized for medical use before physicians realized its potent addictive properties. Opium comes from the milky sap of a flower called the opium poppy.
History of opium in China
History of opium in China - Wikipedia
The history of opium in China began with the use of opium for medicinal purposes during the 7th century. In the 17th century the practice of mixing opium with tobacco for smoking spread from Southeast Asia, creating a far greater demand. Imports of opium into China stood at chests annually in ,  when the first anti-opium edict was promulgated. By the late 19th century Chinese domestic opium production challenged and then surpassed imports. The 20th century opened with effective campaigns to suppress domestic farming, and in the British government signed a treaty to eliminate imports.
A Disturbing Look Inside The Victorian Opium Dens That Launched The First Modern War On Drugs
In the late 19th century, the United States had just endured the horrors of civil war and America was still very much finding its footing as the bastion of morality and justice it aimed to be. But soon, a new enemy entered the field — the drug opium, and the so-called "opium dens" where it was consumed. While most of us are more familiar with the modern-day war on drugs that has resulted in nothing but increased cartel violence, a catastrophic opioid epidemic, and racial inequality in America's prisons, you would be surprised to discover that the late s struggled with many of those same social concerns. But these concerns centered on Chinese immigrants and the opium-smoking habit they brought to the United States. In these 48 images taken inside opium dens across the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the scenery and atmosphere are palpable.
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. Throughout the West , opium dens were frequented by and associated with the Chinese, because the establishments were usually run by Chinese who supplied the opium as well as prepared it for visiting non-Chinese smokers. Most opium dens kept a supply of opium paraphernalia such as the specialized pipes and lamps that were necessary to smoke the drug.