Opium is a strong drug, derived from the sun-dried milky juice extracted from the unripe pods of the opium poppy. Contains about 20 alkaloids. In traditional medicine, due to the high content of morphine alkaloids used as a strong painkiller. However, he quickly called drug addiction and is now used only as a raw material for medicines (morphine, codeine, papaverine, and others), as well as for the synthesis of the drug heroin.
The first mention of opium was fixed 300th year BC. Opium was used in ancient Greece, its analgesic properties were mentioned by Hippocrates. The use of opium was spread eastwards to India and China. The use of opium in the Middle Ages is not fixed. The peak of use in Europe came at the end of the 19-th century.
Main centers of production
Total area under opium poppy cultivation in the major cultivating countries: 181,373 hectares (ha)
Potential opium production: 7,754 metric tons
Potential HEROIN: ~657,000 kilograms (kg)
Effect on the human body
Opium binds to opiate receptors in the brain, . Opiate receptors - a specific type of protein found in the brain, spinal cord and gastrointestinal tract. Opiate receptors can be divided into the delta, mu and kappa receptors.
Opiate receptors control some vegetative (autonomic) functions. They can cause changes in:
- body temperature
- heart rate
- respiratory function
- Endocrine system of the body is also exposed to changes in these receptors.
Since opium is flooding these receptors, it produces a stronger condition of pleasure than can develop human’s body. Moreover, it limits access to the opiate receptors of pain signals. So the person ceases to feel pain. It should also be noted that opium acts on the area of the brain responsible for breathing and cough, slowing down its activity. That is why, in the case of an overdose of opium, people simply cannot breathe normally.
This chart illustrates the harm caused by Drugs. Please note that harm from Heroin (the base is opium) is the largest and comes after alcohol.
Drug overdose death rates in the US have more than tripled since 1990. Nowadays death is about 12-15 people per 100 000 population.
This image illustrates the drug overdose rates allover the country.
The leaders are: Alaska, Florida, New Mexico.
The least rate: Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas.
We can see the breadth of the spread of opium-containing substances among youth. It should be noted that the percentage of use of drugs derived from opium is high enough. (NRPIA, 2013)